The EB-5 program was created by the U.S. government to stimulate job creation through capital investment by foreign investors in U.S. businesses. In exchange for investing in a business that creates jobs for full-time U.S. workers, foreign nationals and their immediate family members are eligible to become permanent residents of the United States. Our EB-5 team assists regional centers, job creating businesses and individuals who wish to become EB-5 investors in matters related to the EB-5 program (the immigrant investor visa program).
Our EB-5 attorneys help navigate the complexities of meeting changing EB-5 requirements, including structuring solutions for any issues that may arise with the businesses that create the necessary jobs or with the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services). Foreign individuals can qualify for an EB-5 Visa by either investing capital through a “regional center,” as described below, or investing directly into the enterprise that creates jobs. Each investor’s investment must create at least 10 full time jobs for U.S. workers. Each EB-5 Visa applicant must invest a minimum of $1,800,000 in a job-creating venture. If the business receiving capital is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) – defined as a rural area or a region with high unemployment – the minimum investment amount is reduced to $900,000.
An EB-5 regional center is designated by the USCIS as a “regional center” and brings together the individual investors who wish to immigrate to the U.S. and the job creating businesses seeking funds under the EB-5 program. To accomplish this, the regional center raises money by conducting a securities offering to foreign investors interested in obtaining an EB-5 visa. The foreign investors make an equity investment into an entity that the regional center has formed, and then the regional center entity makes an investment directly into the project created by the job creating business either in the form of a loan or another equity investment. EB-5 projects can be any type of business, and many are real estate development projects such as senior living centers, hotels and commercial and retail spaces.
Investing capital through a regional center rather than directly into the job creating business provides several major benefits to immigrants seeking U.S. residency through the EB-5 program. One of the most important advantages is the ability to count both direct and indirect or induced jobs. Under the direct investment program, only direct jobs are eligible to meet the job creation criteria. Direct job creation is a result of an investment which has created and sustained ten new actual identifiable jobs over a two-year period.