Created by the US Congress in 1990 to stimulate economic growth in the American economy, the EB5 Visa program provides foreign investors the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents of the United States.
For you to become an investor, get permanent residence status, and obtain a Green Card, you need to meet certain EB5 Visa requirements.
The critical immigrant investor program requirement is for you to make an investment in a commercial enterprise that is approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and that creates ten American jobs. In this article, we will explore the key EB5 Visa requirements in detail.
What are the EB5 Visa requirements for investment?
The EB5 Visa program is open to foreign nationals who are willing to make a substantial investment into a qualifying commercial enterprise in the United States.
This can be a new enterprise or an existing business. You must, with your investment, create at least ten full-time jobs for American workers.
You will need to demonstrate the lawful source of your investment funds and meet the program’s financial thresholds.
There are two main paths you can choose: You can invest individually or through Regional Centers.
The individual investment (or direct investment) option is most suitable if your main focus is to establish a new commercial enterprise or continue a commercial business activity in the US. Indeed, it is also beneficial if you want to maintain full control over investments and expect a return on the capital investment. In this case, you must develop a commercial enterprise initially capable of creating ten full-time jobs for US citizens or permanent residents.
Investing through a Regional Center may be an excellent option if you are not planning on being involved in the daily operation of the business, want to be mobile in geographical terms, and if the business venture you’re interested in is not capable of creating ten direct full-time jobs from the start.
Note: The Regional Center’s investments involve two important entities, namely, the New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) and the Job Creating Entity (JCE). The NCE is where the immigrant will invest, and the JCE is where the NCE invests or loans the EB5 investment funds to create jobs.
To qualify for the EB5 Visa program, you must invest a minimum amount of capital, which is currently set at $1,050,000. However, if your investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the minimum investment is reduced to $800,000.
Targeted Employment Area (TEA)
TEAs are geographic areas designated by state authorities or through approval from the USCIS. TEAs are typically areas with high unemployment rates or located in rural regions. Investing in a TEA allows you to benefit from the lower minimum capital investment threshold.
This option requires you to make an investment of $800,000. For a region to be qualified as a TEA, then it should adhere to the following rules:
- The chosen area should either be a rural area or a high-unemployment area.
- An area with a national average unemployment rate of at least 150 percent qualifies as a high-unemployment area.
- For rural TEAs, the chosen area must have a population of less than 20,000 and must be outside the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
- Both rural areas and high-unemployment areas require a Job Creating Entity (JCE) to create jobs in the chosen area.
Source of Funds
As an EB5 investor, your income may have come from different sources. The USCIS thoroughly verifies your source of income to combat money laundering problems. You must provide valid proof of the source of your income and make a strategic decision with your immigration attorney on which source to use for the investment. Also, there should be a lawful path for your investment.
Path of funds is the documentation of how you have acquired the funds and invested the money in the new commercial enterprise in the US.
EB5 Visa Requirements for Job Creation
The investment must be in an active for-profit business and must result in the creation of ten full-time jobs per EB5 investor.
Of those ten full-time jobs, the project must create at least one direct job and up to nine ” indirect” jobs per investor. Indirect jobs are jobs created as a result of the project through external labor to service the project by providing goods and services. These jobs must be calculated according to economic models approved by the immigration service.
EB5 Visa Documentation Requirements
When preparing your EB5 application, it is crucial to compile all the required documentation. The specific documents may vary depending on your circumstances, but generally, you will need:
- Passport and identification documents
- Evidence of the lawful source of funds for the investment
- Business and financial documents related to the investment project
- Tax returns and financial statements
- Evidence of plans for the creation of jobs and economic impact
If you are making the investment through a Regional Center, the center will provide the documentation regarding the undertaking, the job creation methodology, and the project itself. You will need to submit the documents that demonstrate the legality of the source of funds, such as:
- Income tax returns filed anywhere in the world, relating to the last five years
- Overseas business registration documents
- Any documents identifying the sources of capital
- Certified copies of all civil and criminal actions or other legal actions in the last 15 years
- Any other documents to assist the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCG) in determining the relationship between the investor and the equity of the investment
How To Apply for the EB5 Visa
Conduct thorough research: Gather information about the EB5 program, investment options, and Regional Centers.
Choose an investment project and Regional Center: Select a project that aligns with your investment goals and risk tolerance, and then make the investment.
File an I-526 petition: Submit your petition to the USCIS, providing evidence of your investment and job creation plans.
Once Form I-526 is approved, there are two options: If you are already in the US with non-immigrant status, apply for an adjustment of status (Form I-485). If you are abroad, apply for an EB5 visa at a consulate or embassy (Form DS-260).
Conditional Green Card: If your petition is approved, you will receive a two-year conditional permanent residency.
Removal of Conditions: After two years, file an I-829 petition to demonstrate that you have met the program’s requirements.
Green Card: Upon approval, you will receive a permanent Green Card.
Why Work with Global Citizen Solutions for Your EB5 Visa Application?
If you think the EB5 Visa may be the right option for you, or if you’d like to know more about other US visa options, don’t hesitate to contact us and book a complimentary 30-minute call with one of our experts.
Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique investment migration consultancy firm focused on finding the right residency or citizenship by investment program for individuals wishing to secure their future and become global citizens. With offices in Portugal, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and Brazil, our multilingual team guides individuals and families from start to finish, providing expert advice considering freedom, mobility, taxation, and security.
- We have helped hundreds of clients from 35+ countries in all the top Residency by Investment and Citizenship by Investment programs. With an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of the area, we provide our clients with solid guidance. We have a team of immigration lawyers and immigration advisers specialized in US immigration.
- Our team has never had a case rejected. Our 100 percent approval rate sets us apart from our competitors and guarantees that you can expect a successful application.
- Our transparent pricing covers all the processes from opening your bank account, document certification, and legal due diligence to investment and submission. As there is one fee for the entire process, you can be confident that you will not face any hidden costs later.
- All data is stored within a GDPR-compliant database on a secure SSL-encrypted server. You can be safe knowing that your personal data is treated with the utmost security.
- Global Citizen Solutions provides an all-encompassing solution. Our support can continue even after you receive your passport. We offer additional services such as company incorporation, Trusts, and Foundations formation.
- The BeGlobal Onboarding System® allows you to access the status of your application every step of the way, something that sets us apart from our competitors.
In conclusion, the EB5 Visa program provides foreign investors with a route to permanent resident status and a Green Card in the United States. To qualify, investors must make a substantial investment in an approved commercial enterprise, create at least ten full-time jobs, and meet financial thresholds while proving the lawful source of funds.
Investors can choose between individual investment and investment through Regional Centers. The minimum capital investment required is $1,050,000, but it’s reduced to $800,000 in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) with specific criteria.
TEAs are designated based on factors such as unemployment rates and rural characteristics. Job creation is a vital requirement, with each investor expected to create direct and indirect jobs.
The application process involves research, project selection, filing an I-526 petition with evidence, and choosing either an adjustment of status or applying for an EB5 Visa. Conditional permanent residency is granted upon approval, followed by removal of conditions after two years, leading to a permanent Green Card.
The EB5 program offers a pathway to permanent residency in the US, contingent on meeting investment and job creation criteria and adhering to a stringent documentation process.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Requirements for the EB5 Visa
Which countries are eligible for the EB5 Visa?
Citizens of any country can apply for the EB5 Visa, provided they meet the application criteria.
Do I need a lawyer to apply for the EB5 Visa?
Because of the complex nature of the application process, it is advisable to seek assistance from an EB5 Visa lawyer as errors or omissions in your application can lead to delays and even denial of the visa.
What is the EB5 Visa program, and what is its purpose?
The EB5 Visa program is a US immigration program created to stimulate economic growth by attracting foreign investors. Its purpose is to offer foreign investors and their families the opportunity to obtain US permanent residency (Green Cards) by making a substantial investment in a qualifying commercial enterprise.
What are the main requirements for the EB5 Visa program?
The primary requirements include making a qualifying investment in a US commercial enterprise, creating at least ten full-time jobs for American workers, demonstrating the lawful source of investment funds, and meeting minimum investment thresholds.
What are the two investment options within the EB5 Visa program?
You can choose between two investment options: individual investment (direct investment) and investment through Regional Centers. The choice depends on your involvement in the business and job creation expectations.
What is the minimum investment required for the EB5 Visa program?
The minimum capital investment is $1,050,000. However, if you invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the minimum investment is reduced to $800,000.
What is a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), and how can it affect the minimum investment amount?
TEAs are areas with high unemployment rates or rural characteristics. Investing in a TEA allows for a reduced minimum investment of $800,000. These areas are designated by state authorities or approved by USCIS.
How is the source of funds verified for the EB5 Visa program?
USCIS thoroughly verifies the lawful source of your investment funds to combat money laundering. You must provide documentation demonstrating the source of your income and the lawful path of funds used for the investment.
How many jobs must an EB5 investor create, and what types of jobs are required?
Each EB5 investor must create a minimum of ten full-time jobs. This should include at least one direct job within the business and up to nine indirect jobs, which are jobs created as a result of the project’s economic impact.
What documentation is required for the EB5 Visa application?
Required documentation includes passport and identification documents, evidence of the lawful source of investment funds, business and financial documents related to the investment, tax returns, and documents outlining job creation plans and economic impact.
What is the process for applying for the EB5 Visa?
The process involves research, selecting an investment project, filing an I-526 petition with evidence, and choosing between adjusting your status (if in the US) or applying for an EB5 Visa (if abroad). Conditional permanent residency is granted upon approval, followed by the removal of conditions after two years, leading to a permanent Green Card.