The EB-5 Program was created to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. There are two ways a foreign investor can apply for the EB-5 Program. The first is through a direct investment. This means that the investor invests and owns the company alone or with a few owners. The second is through a Regional Center Program. This means that the investor invests in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS.
Under this program, investors (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a Green Card (permanent residence if they:
- Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers (job creation); and
- Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States (capital investment).
Job Creation Requirements
An EB-5 investor must invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.
- For a new commercial enterprise not located within a regional center, the new commercial enterprise must directly create the full-time positions to be counted. This means that new commercial enterprise (or its wholly owned subsidiaries) must itself be the employer of the qualifying employees.
- For a new commercial enterprise located within a regional center, the new commercial enterprise can directly or indirectly create the full-time positions.
- Direct jobs establish an employer-employee relationship between the new commercial enterprise and the person it employs.
- Indirect jobs are held outside of the new commercial enterprise but are created as a result of the new commercial enterprise.
Capital Investment Requirements
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents, and indebtedness secured by assets owned by immigrant investors, if they are personally and primarily liable and the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All capital will be valued at fair-market value in U.S. dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities)will not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act.
Immigrant investors must establish that they are the legal owner of the capital invested. Capital can include their promise to pay (a promissory note) under certain circumstances.
In general, the amount of capital necessary to make a qualifying investment in the United States is $1,050,000.
The amount of capital necessary to make a qualifying investment in a targeted employment area in the United States is $800,000.
The amount of capital necessary to make a qualifying investment in a high employment area in the United States is $ 800,000.
A targeted employment area can be, at the time of investment, either:
- A rural area; or
- An area that has experienced high unemployment (defined as at least 150% of the national average employment rate.)
A rural area is any area other than an area within a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the most recent decennial census of the United States.
A high-unemployment area may be any of the following areas, if that area is where the new commercial enterprise is principal doing business and the area has experience an average unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate:
- An MSA;
- A specific county in an MSA;
- A county in which a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more is located; or
- A city or town with a population of 20,000 or more outside of an MSA