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EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program: How Investing in the US Can Get you a Green Card

Posted by attorney Dana Bucin

The EB-5 gtreen card is available to immigrants seeking to enter the United States in order to invest in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. There are three ways to invest within the EB-5 category:

I. Stand-Alone Business Opportunity

Foreign Investor must:

  1. Invest or be in the process of investing at least $1,000,000 in a post-1990 enterprise. If investment is in a designated targeted employment area (see below) then the minimum investment requirement is $500,000.

· If investing in a pre-1990 enterprise, Foreign Investor must prove that the investment of capital will result in an increase of at least 40% in the net worth or number of employees of the enterprise, or both

· Targeted Employment Area is defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average."

  1. Capital must be placed at risk for the purpose of generating a return on that capital.

  2. Capital must have been obtained through lawful means.

  3. Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers (U.S. citizens, Green Card holders, and certain other individuals lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. but not the investor or family of investor) for a period of at least two years.

  4. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the new business or directly manage it through formulating business policy – for example as a corporate officer or board member.

  5. Immigration issues: admissibility, consular processing vs. adjustment of status, intent to immigrate, travel and work before EB-5 grant, etc

II. Troubled Business

Foreign Investor must:

  1. Invest in a business that has existed for at least two years.

  2. Invest in a business that has incurred a net loss, based on generally accepted accounting principles, for the 12 to 24 month period before filing the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by an Alien Entrepreneur.

  3. The loss for the 12 to 24 month period must be at least equal to 20 percent of the business’s net worth before the loss.

  4. Maintain the number of jobs at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years.

  5. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the troubled business or directly manage it through formulating business policy. For example as a corporate officer or board member.

  6. The same investment requirements of the new commercial enterprise investment apply to a troubled business investment ($1,000,000 or $500,000 in a targeted employment area).

III. Regional Center Pilot Program

Foreign Investor must:

  1. Invest at least $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a regional center affiliated new commercial enterprise or a troubled business located within the area of the USCIS designated RegionalCenter.

  2. Create at least 10 new full-time jobs for US workers either directly or indirectly through the capital investment.

A RegionalCenter is defined as any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth (for ex: through increased export sales), improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. The organizers of a regional center seeking the regional center designation from USCIS must submit a proposal showing:

· focus on a geographical region within the U.S., and must explain how required economic growth within this regional area will be achieved

· business plan can be relied upon as a viable business model grounded in reasonable and credible estimates and assumptions for market conditions, project costs, and activity timelines

· verifiable detail (using economic models in some instances) re: jobs to be created directly or indirectly through capital investments made in accordance with the business plan

· amount and source of capital committed to the project and the promotional efforts made and planned for the business project.

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