Important Update: On July 23rd, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued sweeping new changes to the EB-5 Program. These changes included an increase in the minimum investment amount. We recommend reading our newest post for a full discussion of the changes.
From Hong Kong to Canada, there are many immigrant investor programs currently in operation around the world. Typically designed to mutually benefit the home country and the immigrant, these programs are a great way for a business person to expand their portfolio while obtaining permanent residency or citizenship in a country of their choosing.
In the United States, this type of program is known as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, or the EB-5 Program.
As the first in a series on the EB-5 Program, this post will give an overview of the program’s history, the general requirements to participate in it, and important forms to know when applying.
History of the EB-5 Program
The EB-5 Program was created by Congress in 1990 as a way to stimulate the U.S. economy. Under the initial program, a foreign investor could directly invest in the U.S. through the creation of new jobs and a new business. However, interest in the program was such that Congress further expanded it in 1992 to include investment in Regional Centers.
In the late 90s, due to abuse of the process, a need for further clarification of the law, and pending litigation, the program was essentially placed on hold until 2003 when Congress passed subsequent legislation and further regulations were put in place at what was then INS (Immigration and Naturalization Services).
To help oversee the program, the Investor and Regional Center Unit (IRUC) was created in 2005. Interest for the program began to grown again in the late 2000s, and since then, it has been reauthorized several times.
General Requirements to Participate in the EB-5 Program
There are several detailed requirements for participation in the EB-5 Program. At a high-level, however, there are four main requirements each investor must meet.
1. $1 million-$500,000 capital investment
Each investor must produce $1 million in capital to invest in a new commercial enterprise. The investment amount is lowered to $500,000 for a Regional Center or rural area.
2. Capital investment must be lawful and “at risk”
Regardless of the type of investment, each investor must be able to prove that their capital is from a lawful source and that it is “at risk,” meaning the investor is not guaranteed a return.
3. Creation of 10 new jobs
The new commercial enterprise must create at least 10 full-time positions that are directly related to the enterprise. For a Regional Center, the positions may also be created indirectly. The jobs must be maintained for a period of 2 years.
4. Investor must have a role
Finally, the investor must have some type of direct role in the operation of the enterprise, such as the day-to-day operations or reviewing of financial books.
Forms to Know for the EB-5 Program
As a business person, you will fill out many forms if you apply for the EB-5 Program. However, there are three main forms to be aware of in the overall process.
I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur
Form I-526 is the first form required to begin the EB-5 process. This form details all initial information about the investor, the investor’s family (if they are applying for them as well), the capital investment, the new commercial enterprise, and the jobs to be created.
I-924, Application For Regional Center Designation Under the Immigrant Investor Program
Form I-924 is required for those investors who wish to create a Regional Center or make changes to a current Regional Center.
I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status
Form I-829 is required close to the 2-year anniversary of the new enterprise’s creation. Submitting this form begins the process of removing the conditions on residency for the investor and the investor’s family in order to obtain a permanent green card.
Are you interested in the EB-5 Program?
If you are interested in the EB-5 Program and want to learn more about it, contact us today at one of the ways below.
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Disclaimer: Nothing in relation to the enclosed information should be construed and or considered as legal advice for any individual, entity, case, or situation. The following information is prepared for advertisement use only. The information is intended ONLY to be general and should not be relied upon for any specific situation. For legal advice on your specific situation, we encourage you to consult an attorney experienced in the area of Immigration Law.