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EB-5  INVESTMENT VISAS

Obtaining a green card or permanent residency through investment has been widely popular in the past decade, as it is the most viable option for wealthy individuals without any existing family relationship or business ties to the US.

The investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise. The enterprise must be for-profit, and it must have been formed to conduct lawful commercial activities as a:

  • Sole proprietorship;
  • Partnership (whether limited or general);
  • Joint venture;
  • Holding company;
  • Corporation;
  • Business trust or other entity (could be public or private).

Commercial enterprise does not include owning and operating a personal residence.

The investment could be to made in an existing for-profit business entity formed before November 29, 1990 if:

  1. The investor is purchasing and the existing business is reorganized or restructured in such a way that a new business entity results, or
  2. The existing business is being expanded with the investment and as a result either the net-worth of the business or the number of employees is increased by 40%.

Capital Investment Requirements:

Capital includes cash, inventory, equipment, cash equivalents (securities, bonds, etc.), other tangible property, and indebtedness secured by assets (other than those being invested into the commercial enterprise) owned by the investor personally. In other words, the indebtedness cannot be secured by assets of the new commercial enterprise. Aside from cash and cash equivalents, all capital will be valued at fair-market value in US dollars. All capital must come from legal means and cannot be borrowed.

Minimum requirements for an investment visa are:

  • General Investment: $1 million United States dollars;
  • Targeted Employment Area (or high-unemployment area or rural area): $500,000. Investments through regional centers fall under this category.

A targeted employment area is generally an area experiencing unemployment of more than 150% of the national average rate or a rural area outside the boundaries of any city or town with less than 20,000 in population or any area outside a metropolitan statistical area as per the Office of Management and Budget.

Job Creation Requirements:

Within two years of the investor receiving the conditional permanent resident card, the commercial entity must:

  • Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified US workers, including citizens, permanent residents, and other qualified workers. Preservation of employment can only be done for troubled business.
  • Jobs can be created either directly or indirectly.
    • Direct jobs are jobs identifiable within the commercial enterprise that the investor has directly invested his or her capital in.
    • Indirect jobs are those shown to have been created as a result of the investor’s capital investment. An investor may only use indirect job creation to qualify if affiliated with a regional center.

Definitions:

Troubled business: is a business entity with more than has existed for at least two years and has sustained a net loss of more than 20% of the business’s net worth 12 to 24 months prior to the investor’s petition date.

Qualified employees: include US Citizens, permanent residents, conditional residents, asylees, regufees, or persons residing in the United States under suspension of deportation. It does not, however, include the investor, his/her spouse, direct family members, or any foreign national with a non-immigrant visa.

Full-time employment: must be at least 35 working hours a week with benefits that befit current employment laws. The position must be permanent.

Contact Kristy Qiu, Esq., a knowledgeable U.S. Immigration Attorney to find out the approximate wait time and availability of visa for each preference category.

 

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