Need an EB-5 Visa? Here Are the Requirements

If you are looking to obtain an EB-5 visa, then you will need to meet specific requirements. In this article, we will outline the basic qualifications you must meet to be eligible for an EB-5 visa. However, remember that these are just the basics – there may be other specific requirements depending on your situation. So if you are interested in applying for an EB-5 visa, make sure to consult with an immigration lawyer to find out exactly what you need to do!

What Are the Basic Requirements for an EB-5 Visa?

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, an investor must fulfill specific requirements to qualify for permanent resident status (a Green Card) through the EB-5 program (USCIS). In general, the investor must satisfy standards for the capital investment size and job creation and ensure the business receiving the investment is eligible for the EB-5 program. Once all conditions have been satisfied and approved by the USCIS, EB-5 visa holders, their spouses, and their minor children will be granted a green card allowing them to have permanent residency in the United States.

Summary of EB-5 Visa Requirements

  • Source of Funds

  • Job Creation Requirements

  • EB-5 Investment Amount

  • USCIS Must approve the Investment

  • The Capital Invested Must be Placed at Risk

Source of Funds

All EB-5 applicants must show that their investment funds come from a lawful source. Documents that may be used to demonstrate the lawful source of funds include but are not limited to bank statements, wire transfer records, tax returns, and payroll records. Applicants should consult an immigration attorney to determine which documents will be most beneficial in their case. In addition, applicants must show that the funds have been lawfully obtained and are not derived from criminal activity. Funds from sources such as gambling, drug trafficking, or other illegal activities will not be considered lawful and will likely result in the denial of the EB-5 application.

Types of EB-5 Investments

There are two investment options, direct investment and regional center investment. There are USCIS approved Regional Centers across the nation which were created in order to promote economic growth. A Regional Center investment is the most popular option. This opportunity provides investors with the opportunity to invest in a project which is sponsored by the Regional Center and fully managed. It does not require the investor to be involved in the day to day management of the business.

A direct EB-5 investment entails starting a business in the U.S. or buying an established one. A direct investment requires more hands on work by the investor as they must work or hire someone to work on setting up the business and ensuring it meets all EB-5 requirements.

Job Creation Requirements

The USCIS mandates that EB-5 investments provide 10 new full-time jobs for Americans. The investor must create these jobs during the first two years of receiving conditional permanent status. In some circumstances, the investor must demonstrate that their investment resulted in the creation of direct jobs for workers directly employed by the commercial organization that received the investment. For example, if the investment was made in a regional center, the EB-5 investor might simply need to demonstrate that 10 full-time indirect or induced employment was generated. An immigrant investor who puts money into a troubled business must show that 10 jobs have been saved, created, or combined.

Induced employment refers to job growth that occurs due to increased spending in the local economy by workers who are employed as a direct result of the EB-5 investment. To be credited towards the 10 full-time job requirements, both indirect and induced jobs must meet specific criteria set forth by USCIS. For example, they must be new positions that would not have existed absent the EB-5 investment, and qualified U.S. workers must fill them. Direct, indirect, and induced jobs strengthen the U.S. economy and create opportunities for American workers, which is why the USCIS requires that EB-5 investments result in job creation.

EB-5 Investment Amount

Since the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, applicants for EB-5 visas are generally required to make a capital investment of $800,000 (or $1,050,000 if the investment is made in a TEA or Targeted Employment Area) into a new commercial enterprise or venture into a U.S. business. The EB-5 investment is valued using the fair market value of U.S. dollars and may take the form of equipment, cash, inventory, secured debt, tangible property, or cash equivalents.

Suppose the investment is made in a business that is situated in a rural area. In that case, in an area with a high unemployment rate or an infrastructure project, the minimum investment capital requirement for the EB-5 immigrant investor program may be reduced from $1,050,000 to $800,000.

USCIS Must Approve the Investment

If you’re considering making an investment in a new business venture, there’s one more step you’ll need to take before moving forward: getting approval from the USCIS. The USCIS, or United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, is responsible for approving all applications for foreign investments. After reviewing the application, the USCIS forwards it to the National Visa Center (NVC). This process is known as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program, and it ensures that all investments meet specific standards and will create new jobs for U.S. workers.

The Capital Invested Must be Placed at Risk

One of the requirements of the EB-5 Program is that the capital invested must be placed at risk. This means there can be no assurance of a financial return. The money must be genuinely at risk of being lost in order for the investment to count—merely intending to invest is not enough. Finally, once invested, the capital must stay in the venture for at least two years.

This requirement ensures that foreign investors commit to the enterprise’s long-term success and not simply try to obtain a quick return on their investment. Understanding these requirements is essential for anyone hoping to immigrate to the United States through investment.

Are There Any Major Changes Planned for the EB-5 Visa Program in the Near Future?

The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, a component of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (Public Law 117-103), was signed by President Biden on March 15, 2022. This law established new criteria for the EB-5 immigrant visa category and the Regional Center Program.

There are no major changes currently planned for the EB-5 Visa program. However, applicants should be aware that the USCIS may change the requirements at any time. For this reason, it is essential to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you navigate the EB-5 visa process and ensure that you meet all the requirements.

How Difficult Is It to Get an EB-5 Visa Approved?

Getting an EB-5 visa approved can be difficult, but many factors influence the outcome. For example, the business into which the investment is made and its ability to create the required jobs is crucial. The most important factor, however, is usually whether or not you meet the requirements for eligibility. The application process can be tedious and time-consuming, so starting early and having your documents in order is important. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can increase your chances of getting the EB-5 visa and achieving your dream of living in the United States.

What Are Some of the Most Common Reasons an EB-5 Application Gets Denied?

Some of the most common reasons for denial include: not meeting the job creation requirements, failing to maintain the required minimum investment amount, and providing inaccurate or false information on the application. Other reasons for denial can include but are not limited to, national security concerns or criminal activity. If your application is denied, you will have an opportunity to appeal the decision.

However, it is essential to note that appeals are often unsuccessful. For this reason, it is crucial to consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you navigate the EB-5 visa process and avoid common pitfalls that could lead to a denial. While getting an EB-5 visa approved can be difficult, working with a knowledgeable immigration attorney can increase your chances of success.

Are There Any Risks Associated With an EB-5 Visa?

Risks are always associated with any type of investment, and the EB-5 visa is no different. Financial risk is one of the biggest risk factors associated with the EB-5 visa. With an EB-5 visa, you are essentially investing in a project or business and hoping it will succeed. If the project fails, you could lose your investment.

There are also some administrative risks associated with an EB-5 visa. For example, if the project or business is approved but then later closes down, you may not be able to get your money back. It’s essential to do your research on any potential projects or businesses carefully before investing in them.

Final Thoughts

The EB-5 visa program is a great way to obtain a green card and live in the United States. However, it’s essential to understand the requirements and risks associated with the program before applying. Consult an experienced immigration attorney to learn more about EB-5 visa requirements and increase your chances of success.

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