The United States Congress created the EB-5 Investor Visa back in 1990 to boost the economy, to benefit the workers in the U.S and to aid distressed communities. By doing this, they allowed foreign citizens to invest and thereby gain access to an Investor Visa which would eventually lead to permanent residency in the country.
The EB-5 visa offers three different pathways to choose from:
- Invest the US $1,000,000 into a business and hire ten employees anywhere in the USA, or
- Invest the US $500,000 and hire ten employees in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) the unemployment rate exceeds the national average by 150% or the rural population is less than 20,000, or
- Invest the US $500,000 into a Government designated Regional Center and avoid direct employment.
The EB – 5 program is also the preferred investment based visa program for high net-worth individuals who are looking for a second passport. The EB-5 Visa program allows foreign investors to gain permanent residence(green card) through an investment, once the Green card has been achieved, they can apply for citizenship to the U.S.A. The EB-5 program is mostly overseen by the Department Of Homeland Security. There are certain rules that need to be followed:
- The EB-5 program requires a minimum investment of around 1.8 million USD in most areas(non TEA) and around 900,000 USD in areas of high unemployment also known as targeted employment areas (TEA). The amount invested will be adjusted for inflation every five years starting 2019.
- There are about 10,000 EB-5 Visas that are available each fiscal year. Only around 700 EB-5 Visas are issued per year for each country.
- The USCIS will exclusively designate the Targeted Employment Areas instead of the individual States.
- Subsequent EB-5 petitions can be retained by the investors as per the original priority dates.
- A foreign investor can invest directly in a job creating business in order to qualify. The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) contain certain approved regional centers to stimulate and promote economic growth in specific areas designated by the USCIS.
- Once the application is approved. A conditional residence permit can be applied in the United States for an initial period of two years. After the first two years, the conditional residency can be removed and permanent residency can be applied for. In order for this to happen, a minimum of 10 jobs should have been created.
- The money invested can be in any for profit business such as hotels, motels, restaurants, franchise business, construction projects, and medical facilities, etc.
The EB-Visa is granted for the person applying it along with their spouse and children below the age of 21. Sometimes, a better education and brighter future prospects for the children is one of the primary reasons many business investors opt for this type of investment Visa. Once an EB-5 visa holder receives the U.S. green card, they can choose to pursue employment that they desire.
Latest Rules pertaining to the EB-5 Investor Visa Program – features worth mentioning:
- The rules which have been revised and turned into regulations make it clear that derivative family members who are lawful holders of the PR Visa should independently file to remove certain conditions on their permanent residence.
- The rule ameliorated the adjudication process for removing conditions by providing much better flexibility in interview locations.
- The process for issuing Green cards was adopted by the current USCIS process.
- Greater flexibility to immigrant visas who have a previously approved EB-5 immigrant petition when they plan on filing a new EB-5 petition. They will now be able to retain the priority date of the approved petition made previously. This is subject to certain conditions.
Certain general examples of projects which can receive approval for EB5 Visa Investment:
- Construction projects
- Hotels, Motels, Resorts, Hospitality industry
- Apartment complexes
- Franchise based businesses like McDonald’s, K.F.C, and Subway.
- Healthcare industry
Examples of past approved projects under the EB5 Scheme:
- Lowney Chocolate Factory (MCFA) – Mansfield(Boston), Masschusetts https://www.mansfieldma.com/DocumentCenter/View/606/Adaptive-Reuse-of-Historic-Structure-PDF
- Senior Lifestyle Village (SFSL) – Sebring, Florida https://www.after55.com/fl/sebring
- Hyatt Place Hotel St.Paul, Minnesota https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/minnesota/hyatt-place-st-paul-downtown/mspzs
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