INVESTMENT IMMIGRATION (EB-5)
Congress established the Investment Immigration (EB-5) Program in 1990 to bring new investment capital into the country and to create new jobs for U.S. workers. Under a program first enacted as a pilot in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
In the EB-5 Program, immigrants who invest their capital in job-creating businesses and projects in the United States receive conditional permanent resident status in the United States for a two-year period. After two years, if the immigrants have satisfied the conditions of the EB-5 Program and other criteria of eligibility, the conditions are removed and the immigrants become unconditional lawful permanent residents of the United States.
The EB-5 Program is based on three main elements:
(1) The immigrant’s investment of capital:
a) Generally, the minimum is $1.8 million;
b) Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area): The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $900,000.
(2) In a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise
a) Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
b) Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that was:
i) Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results; or
ii) Expanded through the investment, resulting in at least a 40 percent increase in the net worth or number of employees.
(3) That creates full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees:
a) For a new commercial enterprise not located within a regional center, the new commercial enterprise must directly create the full-time positions to be counted. This means that the new commercial enterprise (or its wholly owned subsidiaries) must itself be the employer of the qualifying employees.
b) For a new commercial enterprise located within a regional center, the new commercial enterprise can directly or indirectly create the full-time positions.
i) Direct jobs establish an employer-employee relationship between the new commercial enterprise and the persons it employs.
ii) Indirect jobs are held outside of the new commercial enterprise but are created as a result of the new commercial enterprise.
c) In the case of a troubled business, the EB-5 investor may rely on job maintenance.
i) The investor must show that the number of existing employees is, or will be, no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years.
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