Overview

Benefits of EB-5 Program

Benefits of U.S. Permanent Residency

EB-5 Laws

FAQs

 

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Overview of EB-5 Program

Obtaining permanent resident status (the “Green Card”) in the United States is generally restricted to three paths: Employment-based, Family-based and Entrepreneur-based programs.  

Because the Family and Employment-based options are subject to long visa backlogs and other major obstacles, the EB-5 “Immigrant Entrepreneur” program has become one of the fastest and most reliable visa options offered by the United States.   

With relaxed eligibility qualifications and a special reserve of 10,000 visas, the EB-5 program opens the door to permanent resident status to retirees, entrepreneurs, students, business owners, professionals and more.  

The EB-5 immigrant visa classification has many street names: such as the “Entrepreneur” visa, “Investor” visa and the “Jobs Creation” visa. Regardless of the name, however, Congress created this program with one goal to encourage infusion of foreign capital to benefit the U.S. economy and exchange U.S. residency for job creation benefiting America workers.

In simplest terms, the EB-5 program works like this:

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will issue permanent residency to an immigrant (plus spouse and unmarried children under 21) if he contributes a minimum required amount of capital into an America business (“new commercial enterprise”) that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time, direct jobs for American workers.

Historically, the biggest criticism of the EB5 program was the requirement that every entrepreneur must create 10 new, full-time and permanent jobs during a 24 month period. That means the immigrant will be required to provide to the USCIS payroll, tax and accounting records proving that he directly employs 10 workers. And by “directly” employs the USCIS means these must be W-2 employees of the entrepreneur or his company. That also means that independent contractors (1099 employees) do not qualify for EB5 program purposes.

If the Immigrant fails to prove that he has created all 10 of these new, full-time and permanent jobs then the USCIS will cancel the immigrant visa and start deportation procedures to remove him and his family from the country.

But this strict job creation rule was significantly softened when the Congress created the new “EB5 Regional Center” program.    

The Regional Center

A special designation issued by the USCIS called “EB-5 Regional Center” (“RC”) provides several major benefits to immigrants seeking residency through the traditional EB-5 program.

One of the most important advantages of working with a designated RC is relaxed job creation requirements – this is critical to obtaining and sustaining permanent residency. Normally, an immigrant must prove he created and sustained 10 new, direct employees over a 24 month period. Under the RC program, however, the immigrant can satisfy residency testing by showing indirect job creation. In other words, the immigrant does not need to show he directly employs any workers.  

Another RC advantage is that immigrants may pool capital thereby reducing management responsibilities while increasing job creation results.   

On April 10, 2008 the USCIS issued this special “Regional Center” designation to EB5 America approving the “EB5 America – DC Regional Center.”  Know as “DC Regional Center” or DCRC” we operate a successful EB-5 visa program covering the Washington DC area.  

On October 2009 President Obama signed into law a three year extension of the EB-5 Regional Center program.  This means that immigrants can safely obtain Green Card status through the DC Regional Center program through 2012.

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Benefits of EB-5 Program

The EB-5 program is exceptionally flexible and offers many benefits over other immigrant visa options, including:

• No English language requirement.
• No minimum education requirement.
• No management experience.
• Allows for dual-citizenship.
• Live, work or retire anywhere in the United States.
• Residency requirement of only five or six months per year in the United States.
• Residency for entrepreneur and family (spouse & unmarried children under age 21).
• Qualifying foreign capital can come from gift, loan, inheritance, business ownership or any other lawful activities.
• Capital in escrow until USCIS approval notice issued.
• Eligible for U.S. citizenship (U.S. passport) in only five years.

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Benefits of U.S. Permanent Residency

A permanent resident is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis. As proof of that status, a person is granted a permanent resident card, commonly called a "Green Card." As a permanent resident (Green Card holder), you have the right to:

• Live, work or retire permanently in the United States provided you do not commit any actions that would make you removable under immigration law.
• Work in the United States at any legal work of your qualification and choosing.
• Travel outside the United States and return without a visa.
• Apply to public colleges and universities under same costs and admissions tests of U.S. citizen.
• Send children at no cost to any public elementary, middle and high school.
• Open U.S. bank accounts, buy property, and obtain a driver’s license.
• Be protected by all laws of the United States, your state of residence and local jurisdictions.
• Eligible to obtain U.S. citizenship (U.S. passport) in only five years.  

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EB-5 Laws

The Immigration laws are complex and therefore difficult to summarize accurately. However, the official website of USCIS provides an excellent overview of the core EB-5 program laws and major government policies in this area.


To see the USCIS site CLICK HERE, otherwise we have provided the same information below.

Under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §1153(b)(5), 10,000 immigrant visas per year are available to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their engagement in a new commercial enterprise.

Of the 10,000 investor visas (i.e., EB-5 visas) available annually, 3,000 are set aside for those who apply under a pilot program involving a USCIS-designated "Regional Center."

A "Regional Center:"

• Is an entity, organization or agency that has been approved as such by the Service;
• Focuses on a specific geographical area within the United States; and,
• Seeks to promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, creation of new jobs, and increased domestic capital investment.

"Alien investors" must:

• Demonstrate that a "qualified investment" (see below) is being made in a new commercial enterprise located within an approved Regional Center; and,
• Show, using reasonable methodologies, that 10 or more jobs are actually created either directly or indirectly by the new commercial enterprise through revenues generated from increased exports, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment resulting from the pilot program.

Eligibility

Permanent resident status based on EB-5 eligibility is available to investors, either alone or coming with their spouse and unmarried children. Eligible aliens are those who have invested or are actively in the process of investing the required amount of capital into a new commercial enterprise that they have established. They must further demonstrate that this investment will benefit the United States economy and create the requisite number of full-time jobs for qualified persons within the United States.

In general, "eligible individuals" include those:

Who establish a new commercial enterprise by:

• creating an original business;
• purchasing an existing business and simultaneously or subsequently restructuring or reorganizing the business such that a new commercial enterprise results; or
• expanding an existing business by 140 percent of the pre-investment number of jobs or net worth, or retaining all existing jobs in a trouble business that has lost 20 percent of its net worth over the past 12 to 24 months; and

Who have invested or who are actively in the process of investing in a new commercial enterprise:

• at least $1,000,000, or
• at least $500,000 where the investment is being made in a "targeted employment area," which is an area that has experience unemployment of at least 150 per cent of the national average rate or a rural area as designated by OMB; and

Whose engagement in a new commercial enterprise will benefit the United States economy and:

• create full-time employment for not fewer than 10 qualified individuals; or
• maintain the number of existing employees at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years, where the capital investment is being made in a "troubled business," which is a business that has been in existence for at least two years and that has lost 20 percent of its net worth over the past 12 to 24 months.

How do I seek status as an Immigrant Investor?

In order to seek status as an immigrant investor, you must file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. The Form I-526 must be filed with supporting documentation which clearly demonstrates that the individual's investment meets all requirements, such as:

• establishing a new commercial enterprise,
• investing the requisite capital amount,
• proving the investment comes from a lawful source of funds,
• creating the requisite number of jobs,
• demonstrating that the investor is actively participating in the business; and, were applicable,
• creating employment within a targeted employment area.

How do I ... Obtain Status as a Conditional Resident?
Once the Form I-526 is approved, immigrant investors may obtain status as a conditional resident by:

• Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if residing within the United States; or,

...Become a Permanent Resident Based on Investment?
In order to become a lawful permanent resident, eligible investors must file a Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. Form I-829 must be filed within 90 days before the second anniversary of an Alien Investor's admission to the United States as a conditional resident.

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