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Does a company need to have a physical presence to qualify for EB-5?

In my country, I have established a company that is purely online and has no office or physical location. My workers work remotely and I save money by not having to pay rent. If I were to apply for an EB-5 visa, would my company need to have a physical presence in the United States? Could I run the company online and hire U.S. workers and have them work remotely from home? What would be the best way to have an online business qualify for EB-5?

Answers

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    Reza Rahbaran

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Your project may not qualify for a $500,000 investment if your employees are not working within a targeted employment area. In a direct investment, it could be possible to structure your business in a way that will make it EB-5 compliant. Please contact an experienced EB-5 attorney to assist you.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Not all types of investments are suitable for EB-5. A geographic location/physical presence for the United States is likely required in order to show the business is real and active and that any business plan is credible and feasible, not to mention the local unemployment rate if you are seeking a Targeted Employment Area designation for the lower investment threshold. There might be a way to structure it so that it could potentially qualify, but you should consult with an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney who can advise you.

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    Philip H Teplen

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is certainly possible to design a plan for EB-5 based upon virtual office use. I will be happy to help.

  • Avatar

    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The issue I see with this is that is that you wouldn't be able to show one geographic area that would benefit from establishing your business.

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    Shahzad Q Qadri

    RC Creator
    Answered on

    You do need to have a physical presence in the United States. Depending on whether you are using the direct investment and/or a RC, requirements will be different. If it's a direct investment, you can certainly utilize remote workers, provided they are working full time.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This may be possible but you will need to show a benefit to a specific geographic area and have employees (not independent contractors). It will be tricky.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You ask a very interesting question and therefore you need to retain the assistance of an experienced EB-5 attorney and economist. Possibly, the regional center infrastructure may apply to your business goals as the economist may show the required employment creation by indirect employment creation.

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    Michael A Harris

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you are going to take advantage of qualifying for the minimum investment of $500,000, then all of your employees are going to have to work in a Targeted Area of Employment (TEA) in order to qualify. But the bigger problem is that this may be considered a transient position, and hence not suitable for EB-5 purposes.

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