The EB-5 Visa Program
Although there are different ways to obtain US Citizenship, a foreign citizen seeking to immigrate generally must be sponsored by a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident immediate relative(s), or prospective U.S. employer. If you’re eyeing U.S. legal residency but don’t have a family or employer sponsor, advanced degrees, or special skills or training, the EB-5 Visa program might be a good option to explore.
The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5”, was created by the US Congress back in 1990. The program is designed to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by immigrant investors. It is a two-fold benefit, stimulating U.S. economic activity and opening up a direct route to legal residency for certain foreign citizens.
Details of the EB-5 Visa Program
In total, there are 10,000 EB-5 Visas available each year. Unlike many other types of Visas, this one doesn’t require any sponsorship from a family member or employer. Instead, the applicant simply needs to make a $500,000 investment, if going through the Regional Center program, or a $1 million-dollar investment, if investing capital individually. The majority of foreign investors participate in this visa program through “regional centers”. Regional centers are entities approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Their goal is to secure foreign investment under the EB-5 program and to use such investment to promote job creation within certain geographic areas.
Other requirements of the program include:
- The investment must create at least 10 full-time direct or indirect jobs for American citizens or legal residents.
- Investments may be made into a new commercial enterprise (launched after 1990) or a Regional Center.
- The investment must benefit the U.S. economy.
- You must prove ownership of the capital invested.
In some cases, you may be able to invest in an older enterprise, as long as the investment results in a 40-percent increase in either net worth or the organization’s number of employees.
Benefits of EB-5
Due to its less competitive nature, the EB-5 Visa program offers an easier route to legal residency than many other Visa programs currently available.
- Requires no sponsorship or permanent job offer
- Does not require demonstration of extraordinary abilities or skills
- Is often granted faster than other Visa options (12 to 24 months, on average)
- Does not require applicants to directly manage the enterprises they invest in
- Can be extended to include spouses and unmarried children under 21
- Allows for free travel within and outside the U.S. once granted
Many EB-5 investors also appreciate that the program doesn’t require disclosing your total net worth or financial assets in order to qualify. You do, however, need to disclose the source of the capital funds you’ll be investing.
Getting Help with Your Investment and Application
Immigration is highly complex, and the EB-5 program is no different. Considering the high level of capital on the line, it’s typically advised that EB-5 applicants consult an immigration or business attorney to help guide them through the process successfully. Though this does come at an added fee, it can help ensure the long-term viability of both your financial investment and your status as a legal resident within the U.S.
Are you considering an EB-5 Visa as a path to residency in America? Then contact us today. We’re here to guide the way.
Written by Petro Zinkovetsky, Esq