What is EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program & How Does it Work?

Do you want to invest in the United States? If so, the EB-5 immigrant investor program may be right for you! This program provides a unique opportunity for foreign investors to obtain a green card and become permanent residents of the United States. In this article, we will discuss the basics of the EB-5 program and its history. Keep reading to learn more!

What is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program?

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to promote economic growth in the United States through job creation and foreign investment. 

This program allows foreign investors to obtain a green card by investing in a U.S. business and creating or preserving at least ten full-time jobs for American workers.

The EB-5 program allows foreign individuals to invest in a new commercial enterprise that will have positive effects on the U.S. economy and create or maintain at least ten full-time jobs for American workers.

To qualify, foreign immigrant investors must make a minimum capital investment amount into an approved EB-5 Project. Some of these projects are located in targeted employment areas (TEA). 

A Targeted Employment Area is defined as an area that the USCIS designated as high unemployment or rural, choosing a project in these areas will allow for the investor to invest the lower investment amount, which is currently $800,000. In addition, the investment must be made in a new commercial enterprise, which is defined as a for-profit entity that is created or restructured after November 29, 1990.

The EB-5 program has been highly successful in attracting foreign investment and creating jobs in the United States. Since its inception, the EB-5 program has brought a lot of foreign investment into the United States and created or preserved many jobs.

How Does the EB-5 Program Work?

The EB-5 program is one of the few Visa categories that allows foreign investors to obtain permanent residency, commonly known as a “green card”, in the United States. There are 10,000 EB-5 visas available each year in the United States.

The minimum required investment for the project is $1,050,000 or $800,000, if it’s located in a rural or high-unemployment region where the unemployment rate is 150% higher than the national average. 

The creation of at least 10 new jobs is required as well. To qualify for the EB-5 program, immigrants may invest directly in a job-generating business or through Regional Centers, which are entities approved by USCIS to promote economic development.

If an initial application from an investor is approved, the investor may apply for conditional residence in the United States. 

Once approved, this temporary status is good for two years. The investor must then file a petition to remove the conditions on their residency, which USCIS must approve.

After that, if all the job creation requirements are met, the investor will receive a permanent green card. The EB-5 program provides an excellent opportunity for foreign investors to obtain permanent residency status in the United States while also helping to create new jobs and spur economic growth.

History of EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

The Immigration Act of 1990 was a sweeping piece of legislation that made a number of significant changes to U.S. immigration law. One of the most notable provisions of the act was the establishment of the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, also known as EB-5. The EB-5 program was created to stimulate the American economy by encouraging foreign investment in American businesses.

The program was undersubscribed in its early years, with just a few of the 10,000 visas available each year being utilized. The lengthy and complicated application procedure, as well as changes in financial demands, were primarily responsible.

To improve supervision and coordination, USCIS established an Investor and Regional Center Unit in 2005 and released new draft recommendations to speed up processing and enhance efficiency. 

This unique program led to the economic development of EB-5, the previously designated Regional Centers, and companies that the USCIS designates to promote investment in specific geographic areas.

The Regional Center program has successfully attracted foreign investment and stimulated economic growth. 

According to recent statistics, over 90% of all EB-5 visas have been issued to investors who have chosen to invest through a Regional Center.

As a result of these changes and the severe financial constraints produced by the recession, the popularity of the EB-5 program as a source of funding has grown considerably in recent years.

The number of EB-5 visas granted to foreign investors increased from 64 in 2003 to 1,300 in 2008, according to a 2010 study commissioned by the government.

According to the State Department, 9,130 visas were given out in 2014 to investors in Regional Centers (the economic organizations that manage the vast majority of investment projects using the program). In FY 2014, 9,228 visas were issued, including non-regional center direct-investment projects.

Eb-5 Immigrant Investor Program FAQs

EB-5 immigrant visas are available through the Regional Center Program until at least September 30, 2027.

The EB-5 visa generally takes between 12 and 18 months to process, though it can take longer in some cases.

Regional centers are areas designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that qualify for increased domestic capital investment and other economic benefits.

There are a number of benefits for an investor that chooses to make their investment in an EB-5 Project sponsored by a Regional Center

  • Passive investment project which does not require day to day input from the investor
  • Job creation requirements are met by counting direct, indirect, and induced jobs
  • Investor and family members are able to live, work, and study anywhere in the United States
  • EB-5 investment is overseen by the Regional Center and the EB-5 project development team

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