Understanding the Basics of US EB5 Visa Requirements

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If you are considering investing in a U.S. business or EB-5 regional center to procure a U.S. investor visa, you may be curious about the basics of US EB5 visa requirements. Understanding them can help you decide if this is the right option.

It would be best if you made a qualifying capital investment in a brand-new business or an EB-5 regional center to qualify for an EB-5 visa. You must also create or preserve at least ten full-time jobs in the U.S.

What is EB-5?

EB-5 is the United States’ program that allows foreign nationals to immigrate to the country in exchange for making a capital investment and creating jobs. It offers a faster path to U.S. citizenship than most other visas.

Applicants can invest in a direct business or through an EB-5 regional center (a specialized company that pools investments from multiple investors). In both cases, the EB-5 investor must demonstrate that they manage the new commercial enterprise.

In most cases, the EB-5 investor must also be able to show that the business they are investing in is in a targeted employment area. Generally, this means the company must be located in a room with high unemployment or a rural area.

Moreover, the EB-5 investment must be in a new commercial enterprise that is not troubled. It can mean that the business must have experienced a net loss of 20 percent or less for at least 12 months before the investor filed Form I-526.

What are the EB-5 Requirements?

The United States EB5 Visa program requires a capital investment and a minimum job creation requirement. These US EB5 Visa requirements are designed to protect both the investor and the U.S. government.

A minimum of 10 full-time jobs for qualified American workers must be created by the new business the EB-5 investor invests in. These are typically jobs for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and immigrants authorized to work in the U.S.

Alternatively, the EB-5 candidate may partner with another immigrant investor who makes the required direct investment in a new commercial enterprise. Two EB-5 investors pooling their resources to invest in the same enterprise must create 20 new jobs for Americans, each of which must make the required capital contribution.

The EB-5 immigration program offers people worldwide the chance to invest in U.S. companies, create jobs, and get green cards. It is an affordable way for families and wealthy individuals to secure a green card and become eligible for American citizenship a few years later.

What is a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)?

A Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is a geographic area that has a high unemployment rate or is located in a rural area. EB-5 investors can make lower minimum investments in these areas, which reduces the required investment amount from $1.8 million to $900,000.

The new commercial company that the immigrant invests in or the firm that creates jobs must primarily conduct business in the TEA to qualify as a TEA for EB-5 purposes. In addition, if the immigrant invests in multiple entities in a TEA, each of those entities must create at least ten jobs to meet EB-5 requirements.

EB-5 regional centers will inform you if your project is in a TEA when you apply to invest in the EB-5 program. Alternatively, you can determine the eligibility of your investment project by contacting your state’s local immigration office.

A TEA can be designated by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) if the state agency determines that the location is not a metropolitan statistical area and has an unemployment rate at least 150 percent above the national average, as determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is a New Commercial Enterprise (NCE)?

You must invest in a New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) to fulfill the EB-5 visa requirements. It can be an existing business you buy or expand or a new business you create.

The business must be a for-profit, lawful business and meet the USCIS definition of a commercial enterprise. It includes sole proprietorships, general partnerships, limited partnerships, corporations, and business trusts.

To qualify as an NCE, the business must have been established before November 29, 1990. You can also select an NCE by investing in an existing business that has been reorganized or restructured such that it has expanded its net worth or the number of employees by at least 40%.

Creating an NCE is the easiest way to satisfy the EB-5 requirements. However, the NCE must be a commercial enterprise that will create ten permanent full-time jobs for each investor within two years of the immigrant’s conditional residency.

What is the Minimum Investment Amount?

What is the minimum investment amount? It is among the first inquiries made by many potential EB-5 investors. Your financial situation and investing goals will determine the answer.

Generally speaking, you must make a minimum capital investment of $800,000, subject to change every five years. It is because USCIS will update its EB-5 pricing to reflect inflation.

However, your investment should be made into a business or an EB-5 regional center that will create at least ten new jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

It is done by either making a direct investment into the business or investing in a regional center, which pools investor funds to buy into and run a company. Both types of investments will require a minimum amount of capital.


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