The EB-5 visa is available for individuals who must invest a minimum of $1 million in creating a new US business or restructuring or expanding one that already exists. The $1 million minimum may be reduced to $500,000 if the business is located in a rural area or in an urban area with an unemployment rate certified by the state government to be at least 150% of the national average. The business must employ at least ten full-time workers (neither the investor, his/her spouse, or children may be counted among the ten employees), produce a service or product, and benefit the U.S. economy. However, the applicant must not only invest in a U.S. business, but must also take an active role in that business, but do not need to control it.
Many desirable areas have been designated as high unemployment areas which qualify investors to obtain immigrant visas with a $500,000 investment, provided they create ten jobs. The requirement of ten full-time jobs—excluding independent contractors and immediate family members—is usually the obstacle. It is possible to qualify with investments in troubled businesses which lost at least 20 percent annually for two successive years prior to filing. Investments in troubled businesses sometimes allow an applicant to show that the ten jobs have been saved rather than created.
The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program allows applicants to make qualifying investments in commercial enterprises in designated regional centers. The Pilot Program does not require the investor to directly hire ten qualified workers. Instead, the qualifying employees may include individuals who provide services or a job that has been created indirectly by the investment in the new commercial enterprise.
Two-year Testing Period (Conditional Period)
Once the visa is granted, the investor will receive a conditional green card that is valid for two years and must file another application to remove the conditional status 90 days before it expires. During this period, the EB-5 investor must continuously meet the legal requirements for such investors. If any of the requirements have not been met, the investor will lose his/her green card and be subject to removal from the U.S.
Family of Entrepreneurs
The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be included on the immigration petition and be granted permanent residency if approved.
Our office will determine whether a prospective or current investment will qualify for immigration benefits and will represent you in obtaining the initial (conditional) resident status and in having the conditional status removed after two years. We will also carefully examine all of your immigration options to determine whether another route would be more attractive in light of the considerable burden of the Investor Category.