The EB-5 category allows entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) to apply for permanent residence (“green card”) if they:
- Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
- Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
Generally, EB-5 requires that foreign nationals:
- Applicant must invest a minimum of $1 million into a U.S. enterprise, or a minimum of $500,000 into a Targeted Employment Area (an area of high unemployment or rural area).
- Investment must create or preserve directly or in certain cases indirectly at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years.
There are two types of EB-5 investments:
- Direct Investment, which generally requires an investor to establish a new business (although in limited circumstances, an investor may purchase an existing business) which creates at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens or authorized immigrant workers.
- Regional Center Investment, which will allow investors to invest in an enterprise (a regional center) approved by USCIS to accept EB-5 investors. Regional centers can be established by various industry groups for the purpose of attracting investors for large projects.