EB-5 Visa Requirements
EB-5 Program Requirements
Foreign investors must meet specific United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) requirements to obtain their permanent residency through the EB-5 visa program. In general, the investor must meet capital investment amount requirements, job creation requirements, and must ensure that the business receiving the investment qualifies for the EB-5 program. EB-5 visa applicants, their spouse, and their children under 21 will obtain their permanent residency green card once all requirements have been successfully met and approved by the USCIS.
Required EB-5 Investment Amount
EB-5 visa applicants are typically required to make either a $500,000 or $1 million capital investment amount into a U.S. commercial enterprise. The EB-5 investment can take the form of cash, inventory, equipment, secured indebtedness, tangible property, or cash equivalents and is valuated based on U.S. dollar fair-market value.
The minimum amount of capital required for the EB-5 visa program may be decreased from $1 million to $500,000 if the investment is made in a commercial entity that is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). The EB-5 project must either be in a rural area or in an area that has high unemployment in order to qualify for TEA designation.
High unemployment areas are geographic locations that have an unemployment rate that is at least 150 percent of the national unemployment rate at the time of the EB-5 investment. Rural areas are geographic regions that are outside of a city that has a population of 20,000 or more. Rural areas can also be geographic regions that are outside of what the U.S. Office of Management and Budget has designated as metropolitan statistical areas.
EB-5 Job Creation Requirements
The USCIS requires that EB-5 investments result in the creation of 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. These jobs must be created within the 2 year period after the investor has received their conditional Permanent Residency. In some cases the investor must be able to prove that their investment led to the creation of direct jobs for employees who work directly within the commercial entity that received the investment. However, the EB-5 investor may only have to show that 10 fullt-ime indirect or induced jobs were created if the investment was made in a Regional Center. Indirect jobs are those created in businesses that supply goods or services to the EB-5 project. Induced jobs are jobs created within the greater community as a result of income being spent by EB-5 project employees.
EB-5 Business Entities
There are several types of business entities that an EB-5 visa applicant can invest in. In general, the applicants can invest directly to a new commercial enterprise or to a Regional Center. New commercial enterprises are lawful for-profit entities that can take one of many different business structures. Such business structures include corporations, limited or general partnerships, sole proprietorships, business trusts, or other privately or publicly owned business structures. All new commercial enterprises must be established after November 29, 1990. However, older commercial enterprises may qualify if the investment leads to a 40-percent increase in the number of employees or net worth, or if an older business is restructured to such a degree that a new commercial enterprise results. In addition to individual business enterprises, EB-5 visa applicants can also invest in EB-5 Regional Centers. Regional Centers administer EB-5 projects. It may be more advantageous for an investor to invest in a Regional Center run project because the investor will not have to independently set up the EB-5 projects.
EB-5 Visa Requirements Summary
- $500,000 (if in TEA) or $1 million capital investment
- Investment must be made to for-profit U.S. commercial entity
- Investment must create 10 fullt-ime U.S. jobs for 2 years