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The Basics of the EB-5 Visa Program

The U.S. Congress created the EB-5 visa category for alien entrepreneurs who invest in job-creating commercial enterprises in America. In exchange for his or her investment, a foreign investor (and his or her family) can, aside from potentially getting a return on his investment, earn legal permanent resident status by way of a green card. Eventually, such an investor may elect to pursue U.S. citizenship. In return, the U.S. benefits from the injection of capital into the economy, and real jobs are created and/or preserved.

The United States Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) estimates that more than 90% of EB-5 investments are based on Regional Centers. A Regional Center is a private corporation or government agency designated by the U.S. government to allow foreign investors to invest capital in specifically defined local economies. A Regional Center assists foreign investors by professionally managing their investment in a designated business.

Regional Center investments have become an increasingly popular source of financing for U.S. developers and entrepreneurs. Since 2003, Regional Centers have invested over $3.1 billion of foreign capital in the U.S. economy resulting in the creation of some 65,000 jobs.

There is an annual allotment of 10,000 EB-5 green cards available each year. In 2007, 793 EB-5 visas were issued. In 2008, 1,443 were approved and 4,191 program-related visas were granted in 2009. Applications for approval to operate as a Regional Center have escalated in a similar manner.

EB-5 Foreign Investors

Foreign investors, typically highly educated, successful business people with a global perspective, are motivated to invest in an EB-5 Regional Center for many reasons including:

  1. The EB-5 program can provide a green card for the investor and his or her family (if children are under the age of 21 and unmarried).

  2. With a green card, the EB-5 family can live anywhere they choose in the u.s.

  3. With a green card, any family member of an EB-5 investor can attend any school of his or her choosing. Tuition would be at a u.s. citizen rate.

  4. With a green card, over time, an EB-5 holder may elect to pursue u.s. citizenship.

  5. EB-5 diversification of investment portfolio.

  6. Your EB-5 status will allow you to expand business opportunities in the united states.

  7. There is no requirement that the EB-5 investor be present and actively work in the business day to day.

The investment for foreign investors is $1,000,000 (US dollars) however, as an incentive to invest in rural areas and areas of high unemployment, an investment of $500,000 (US dollars) is permissible in properly designated geographical areas. The majority of Regional Centers are designed to incorporate such areas thereby allowing for an investment of $500,000 (US dollars).

The funds invested by each investor must create or save at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers. An advantage of investing in a Regional Center is the regulations allow for the counting of indirect jobs. Direct jobs reflect employees on the new enterprise's payroll while indirect and induced jobs are positions traceable to the project's investment.

For more information about EB-5 business immigration services at Usher Law Firm, P.A., contact us to schedule a free consultation with our EB-5 visa lawyer.