EB-5 visas provide immigration opportunities for foreign investors

The Immigrant Investor Program provides opportunities for immigrants and jobs for citizens.

Those who wish to immigrate to the United States have a number of options. Entrepreneurs that are looking to immigrate may qualify for admission through the EB-5 Program. This program was recently supported by an op-ed piece in The New York Times. The piece, put together by Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, states the program encourages immigrant investors to enter the United States, allowing interested individuals to invest in America and create jobs.

EB-5 Program defined

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allow foreign entrepreneurs, along with their spouses and any unmarried children under the age of 21, to apply for a green card if they meet these two criteria:

  • Investment. The entrepreneur must invest in a commercial enterprise within the United States. This enterprise must be a for-profit activity and could include a sole partnership, partnership, holding company, joint venture or corporation.
  • Jobs. The enterprise must include a plan to create or preserve ten full time direct or indirect jobs for qualified United States workers. These jobs must be created within two years. In some circumstances, this time period can be extended to a "reasonable time after the two year period." A direct job is defined by the agency as an actual, identifiable job located within the enterprise. An indirect job as those that are created collaterally or as a result of the capital invested in the enterprise. The indirect job option is only allowed for those projects affiliated with regional centers.

The program is referred to as the Immigrant Investor Program, or EB-5. The capital used for this investment can include cash, equipment, inventory, property or other cash equivalents. The minimum qualifying investment is $1 million. However, for those who focus on targeted employment areas, also referred to as areas with high unemployment or rural areas, the minimum investment is reduced to $500,000. High unemployment areas are defined as those that experience unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate. A rural area is defined as any area outside a metropolitan statistical area, as defined by the Office of Management and Budget, or outside the boundary of any city or town with a population of 20,000 or more.

Importance of legal counsel

Those who wish to pursue the EB-5 visa process are wise to seek the legal counsel of an experienced EB-5 investor visa lawyer. This legal professional will guide you through the process, assisting with completion of necessary documents and helping to better ensure you a more favorable outcome.