Becoming a permanent resident of the United States through the traditional visa process can be extremely difficult, as the U.S. government has limited the opportunities for gaining citizenship in the U.S. Fortunately, the U.S. government has created an alternate path for foreigners who are able to make significant investments in projects that create jobs in the U.S.
The EB-5 visa program was created by the U.S. government in 1990 to provide an opportunity for non-U.S. residents to obtain a permanent Green Card by investing in U.S.-based businesses that create at least 10 permanent jobs. The program allocates 10,000 EB-5 visas each year, and is codified in Section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.
EB-5 Immigrant Investor (USCIS)
There are three primary ways to meet the investment requirements of the EB-5 visa program:
- Invest at least $1 million in a new business that directly creates at least 10 new jobs
- Invest at least $1 million in a “troubled business” that has incurred an operating loss for the preceding 12- to 24-months of at least 20% of the business’s net worth; the business must maintain or exceed its pre-investment number of jobs for at least two years after the investment
- Invest at least $1 million in a business located within a designated "regional center" and directly or indirectly creates at least 10 new jobs
- This more expansive view of job creation can be a tremendous advantage for investors in regional center projects; as a result, 90% to 95% of the EB-5 applications filed each year involve regional center investments
The minimum investment is lowered to $500,000 if the investment is located within a "Targeted Employment Area" (designated as having an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national average) or a “rural area” (where the population is less than 20,000).