EB-5 (One Million Dollar Investment Visa or $500K)

Downtown LA

Investors are able to obtain permanent residency (greencard) via the EB-5 Immigrant Visa.   This isn’t to be confused with an E-1/E-2 Trader/Investor Visa, which is a non-immigrant visa (temporary).

Generally, the EB-5 Investor Visa requires two things:

1.  An active investment of $1,000,000 (one million dollars) into a commercial enterprise

AND

2.  Create 10 full time jobs for US citizens or LPR (permanent residents)

The above description is VERY broad, but describes what one needs for an EB-5 visa.

The minimum investment can be lowered to half the amount, $500,000 (five hundred thousand dollars) if the investment is directed toward a “targeted employment area,” which is an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 per cent of the national average.

Oftentimes, investors are directed towards an officially designated “Regional Center” — which essentially takes an investor’s funds and directs it in conformity with the EB-5 program.  As I’ve noted before, the program has been temporarily extended.  There is hope that the new administration will expand the Regional Center further.  But more on that later.

EB-5 Investor Visa Regional Center Pilot Program Update

The EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program has been extended until March 6, 2009 (yes, that’s next year). Presumably,further extensions (or a permanent one) would be taken up by the next administration. The extension was part of HR 2638 that also extended the E-Verify program. Without the extension, then the Regional Center Pilot program would have sunset at the end of October this year.

Just to recap very quickly, it should be noted that the EB-5 Visa is one that allows one to earn permanent residency (green card) via an investment of $1 million (or $500,000 if certain criteria are met — i.e., high unemployment area) and creation of 10 new full time jobs. Spouses and unmarried children are allowed to join the investor.

The EB-5 should not be mistaken for an E-2/E-1 Treaty Investor/Trader Visa, which is a temporary visa and does not have a minimum investment amount (although it still requires a substantial infusion of capital).

The EB-5 Regional Centers are entities that are set up by a third party, that allows the prospective foreign national to invest $500,000 (in an economically depressed area in the US), but not have to be involved in the oversight of the investment nor the job creation. The EB-5 Regional Center personnel are set up to create 10 new jobs on behalf of the investor and are involved in the day to day operations of the whatever investment vehicle that they are overseeing. The idea is to create a one-stop shop for your EB-5 Visa, without the challenges of running one’s own EB-5 enterprise.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the initial grant of residency is conditional. Sixty days prior to the two year anniversary, one must file an I-829 to remove the conditions to become a lawful permanent resident.