28 Apr The EB-5 Program: A Comprehensive Guide to the U.S. Immigrant Investor Visa
Residency in the USA is the ultimate prize for many investors, and the EB-5 Program offers a gateway to that prize – a U.S. Green card visa.
This article looks in depth at the EB-5 application process, covering these topics:
- Origin of the EB-5 Program in the Immigration Act of 1990
- Purpose of the EB-5 Program
- Key Components of the EB-5 Program
- Investment requirements
- Job creation requirements
- Types of projects and industries
- Step-by-step guide to applying for the EB-5 visa
- Benefits of the EB-5 Program
- Advantages of obtaining an EB-5 visa
- Recent changes and future of the EB-5 Program
Origin of the EB-5 Program in the Immigration Act of 1990
The EB-5 Program (short for the Employment-Based Fifth Preference Immigrant Investor Program) was introduced in the USA’s Immigration Act of 1990. The program was designed to encourage wealthy foreign investors to invest in new commercial enterprises or troubled businesses in the United States, thus creating jobs for U.S. workers and promoting economic growth.
Over the years, the EB-5 Program has been amended and updated to reflect changing economic conditions and immigration policies. Additional requirements, such as the establishment of Regional Centers, have been introduced to streamline the program and make it more accessible to foreign investors.
Purpose of the EB-5 Program
The purpose of the EB-5 Program is to attract foreign investment, create jobs for U.S. workers, promote economic growth, and benefit the U.S. economy and foreign investors seeking to obtain permanent residency in the USA.
Specifically, the program has the following objectives:
- Economic growth, by encouraging high-net-worth individuals to invest in the U.S.
- Job creation, with foreign investors required to create jobs for U.S. workers as a condition for obtaining permanent residency.
- Capital infusion, with investors required to make substantial investments in new commercial enterprises or troubled businesses.
- The EB-5 Program includes “Targeted Employment Areas” provisions to promote investment in areas that are struggling economically or have high unemployment rates.
Key Components of the EB-5 Program
The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to gain permanent residency in the USA by putting at least $800,000 into local businesses. There are several points to bear in mind when doing so, including the following:
- The investment must be in an approved business area.
- The investment must create at least 10 new jobs, if the investment is in a new business, or maintain existing jobs, if the investment is in a struggling business.
- The investment must be sourced legally and must not involve borrowing.
- Investors do not need to have pre-existing job offers or labor certification.
- There is no general requirement to reveal your financial standing or net worth.
- If your application is successful, you will be granted conditional permanent residency in the United States for two years.
- After two years, if you have satisfied the various requirements, you and your family will become unconditional permanent residents of the United States.
Foreign investors must invest at least $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area as part of a government-approved programme. Alternatively, you can invest $1.05 million in a qualifying commercial enterprise. All investments must clearly benefit the US economy by providing goods or services to domestic markets.
You can invest as an individual or work through a wider investor pool via Regional Centers. These federally approved bodies help investors connect with developers who require funding for their businesses.
There is a $3,675 admin fee for the main applicant and each dependent included in the application.
Job creation requirements
The investment must have the potential to create at least 10 full-time jobs for US citizens within two years. If your investment is in a troubled business, it must be sufficient to maintain the company’s existing jobs, as a minimum.
Types of projects and industries
The EB-5 Program allows foreign investors to invest in a wide range of projects and industries in the USA. The program does not restrict investment to specific industries or sectors, but rather focuses on creating jobs and promoting economic growth.
One of the areas investors are encouraged to consider is a government-approved programme in a Targeted Employment Area, a broad category encompassing parts of the country in particular need of financial investment and support. All investments must clearly benefit the US economy by providing goods or services to domestic markets
Step-by-step guide to applying for the EB-5 visa
This is the general EB-5 application process:
Step 1: Conduct thorough research, looking at the requirements, investment options, potential risks and the latest news on the program. It’s recommended to seek professional assistance from an agent such as Huriya Private to understand the process and make informed decisions.
Step 2: Choose an EB-5 project to invest in. This involves researching projects, industries, and regional centres to find a suitable investment opportunity that aligns with your investment goals and risk tolerance.
Step 3: Complete the necessary documentation. This may include financial records, evidence of investment capital, business plans, and other supporting documents. It’s important to ensure that all documents are accurately prepared and meet the requirements of the EB-5 program. Huriya Private will help you gather all the required paperwork.
Step 4: Submit Form I-526 (the Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur) to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Step 5: Wait for the delivery of your Conditional Green Card. This grants you and your eligible family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) conditional permanent residency in the United States for two years.
Step 6: File Form I-829 (the Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status) within 90 days of the second anniversary of obtaining your Conditional Green Residency. This requires providing evidence that you have met the investment and job creation requirements of the EB-5 program. You may be asked to attend an interview to support your application.
Step 7: Receive Permanent Residency. If your Form I-829 petition is approved, you will receive unconditional permanent residency, and you and your eligible family members will be able to live, work, and study in the United States without conditions.
After maintaining permanent residency for a required period, you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship, if desired.
It’s important to note that the EB-5 visa application process may take several years to complete, and it’s crucial to carefully follow all the requirements, regulations, and deadlines of the program. Working with experienced professionals, such as Huriya Private, can greatly assist you in navigating the EB-5 visa process successfully.
Benefits of the EB-5 Program
Some of the main benefits of the EB-5 Program include the following:
- Permanent Residency in the United States, a country that has a huge impact on global affairs and plays a significant role in shaping global politics, economics, culture, and technological advancements.
- Permanent Residency in the USA allows you, your spouse and your unmarried children under 21 to live, work, study, receive healthcare and retire in the United States without needing a separate visa or work permit.
- The EB-5 Program does not require sponsorship from a U.S. employer or a family member, and it does not require the investor to have a specific job offer or employment in the United States.
- As an EB-5 visa holder, you have the flexibility to reside anywhere in the USA and can travel freely in and out of the country without any travel restrictions.
- The programme offers a potentially high return on investment, which is typically made in a project or business that aims to generate profits.
- After maintaining permanent residency for a required period, you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.
Advantages of obtaining an EB-5 visa
EB-5 visa holders can live, work, study, and retire in the U.S. without needing a separate visa or work permit. You will be free to reside anywhere in the USA and travel in and out of the country without travel restrictions.
Recent changes and future of the EB-5 Program
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, passed in 2022, seeks to improve the transparency and accountability of EB-5 Regional Centers and protect investors’ interests. All Regional Centers must now provide regular updates to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on the status of their investors and investment projects.
The kinds of projects open to EB-5 investors have also shifted recently. Large-scale real estate projects were previously the biggest investment area, but there is now an increasing focus on high-tech industries such as biotechnology and clean energy – projects with the potential to generate significant profits.
On the downside, there is a considerable backlog of visa applications at USCIS, lengthening the application process timescales. However, the agency has stated an aim to streamline the application process and prevent unnecessary delays.
Matched with its improved transparency and control, as well as the possibility of high-return investments and flexible investment options, the EB-5 programme looks very healthy in 2023 and beyond.
The EB-5 program offers a fantastic opportunity for investors to gain residency in the USA. It is a mutually beneficial programme, giving investors the many benefits of residency in this most preeminent of countries, and boosting the US economy in areas where investment is most needed.
It’s important to note that each EB-5 investment opportunity is unique, and investors should carefully evaluate the viability and risks of a particular project or industry before making an investment decision. It’s recommended to work with experienced professionals, such as Huriya Private, to thoroughly review and assess investment opportunities in the EB-5 Program.