Would I be I eligible for an EB-5 visa if I invest $1 million in a post Series A round startup? Also, would I be eligible if I invested and the startup got acquired one year later? Does this type of startup count as a new commercial enterprise?
The requirements for an EB-5 investment are that it be a new commercial enterprise. The EB-5 program defines “new” as “established after November 29, 1990.” The immigrant can invest the required amount of capital in a commercial enterprise to qualify for the EB-5 program, provided the other criteria applicable to the individual are met. So long as the investment fund can create 10 full-time jobs within two years, you are eligible to invest in that EB-5 new enterprise.
While this might be a great investment from a financial perspective, it is not likely to be EB-5 compliant. You must maintain your ownership of the company until the conditions are removed. You must also actively manage the business. If you do not have a seat on the board, are not an officer, and are not an employee in some managerial capacity, this will not work for EB-5 purposes.
Your EB-5 investment can be in a new commercial enterprise. The personal investment has to create the required jobs within two and half years of the approval of the I-526 petition. The investment has to be sustained in the job creating entity until such time the loan has been repaid and the I-829 petition is approved.
As long as your investment generated 10 jobs before your filing of the I-829.
I think the question will be: what management role would you be able to have in the company? If the company is a limited partnership and you are given traditional rights as a limited partner AND the business will create at least 10 jobs per EB-5 investor, then it might work.
As long as you create 10 full time jobs after your investment and keep your money in the company through the I-829 removal conditions, you should be fine.
A start-up can qualify as an EB-5 investment so long as it meets USCIS requirements. In your situation, the one million that you invest after the Series A round can still qualify for EB-5 purposes, but it will be necessary to establish how it will be used to create 10 full-time jobs. It may take four years for your green card to come through with no strings attached. If the company is acquired, meaning 100 percent shares purchased by another company, as you will likely be bought out, you will fail to maintain the EB-5 investment. That could lead to the denial of your green card application.
A commercial enterprise is "new" if it was established after November 29, 1990. The new commercial enterprise must be an active, for-profit business with an at risk investment. You must demonstrate that the new commercial enterprise will create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years.
Almost any business can be turned into an EB-5 investment provided the requirements are met. I suggest speaking with a qualified attorney to assist you with your project. You would need to be invested for a minimum of two years to meet the requirements.
This kind of start up does count for an EB-5 visa, but keep in mind that the business would have to create 10 full-time jobs in a two year period.
A new commercial enterprise can be nearly any for-profit business. Even if the business is not fully operational when making the investment, you will still have the same timeline to create the 10 jobs. What may be of concern here is the possibility of the company being sold. This may count as a material change which could cause issues at the end of the conditional residency period (when applying for your full green card status). You will need experienced EB-5 counsel with a business plan writer who is familiar with the EB-5 process.
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