What is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program?
What is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program?
Foreign investors looking to invest in the United States usually have to first acquire an EB-5 visa before being granted the green light to invest in the United States. This visa program is entirely different from the other visas and RunRex, through this articles, purposes to give more insight on it.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was established back in the year 1990 by the United States Congress. The main aim of the establishment of the program was to stimulate the economy of the United States through the creation of jobs for American citizens and, also, through capital investments. Under this program, an investor is required to invest their capital in a new commercial enterprise. Under the program, a new business enterprise is an enterprise that was established after the 29th of November 1990 or an enterprise that was created before that date but has undergone a significant reorganization or restructuring, or a business that has expanded with at least 40% increase in net worth.
A commercial enterprise is any activity that is conducted for purposes or generating profits. The engagements have to be legal and such businesses include sole proprietorships, partnerships, joint ventures, holding companies, business trusts, corporations or any other entity that is either privately or publicly owned.
Requirements for Capital Investments
Capital can be in the form of cash, inventory, equipment, other tangible property, assets owned by the foreign investor and cash equivalents. When applying for the EB-5 visa, an investor has to provide sufficient and undeniable proof that the capital invested in their own and that they acquired the same legally. One of the requirements one has to offer is the source of their wealth and the path through which the wealth followed to the investor’s ownership.
In some circumstances, an investor’s promise to pay in the form of a promissory note may be accepted as part of their capital for investment.
The minimum investment amount for one to qualify to invest in the United States is $1 million is the investor is looking to make a general investment of their choice. However, if the investor targets to invest in a rural area or a high unemployment area, areas listed as Targeted Employment Areas, then the minimum amount that an investor must have for investment is $500,000. A targeted employment area is a rural area with unemployment rates of a minimum of 150% of the nation’s average.
Requirements under the EB-5 Visa Program
It is not enough to have the minimum amount of capital required for investment. One of the main aims of the program was to create employment for citizens of the United States. As such, one of the requirements is that the investment has to result in the creation of at least ten permanent jobs for citizens of the United States. If the new commercial center is not within a specified regional center, the employment positions have to be directly created by the new enterprise meaning that the business enterprise has to be the employer of these employees. If the new business enterprise is based within a specified regional center, then the employment position can be either be directly or indirectly created by the commercial enterprise.
For troubled businesses, the investor under EB-5 Immigration Investor Program can rely on job maintenance. It means that the investor has to show that the number employees existing in the commercial enterprise they have invested in will be maintained for not less than two years. A troubled business is a business that has existed for at least two years before the investor investing in it and has been experiencing losses. The loss incurred has to be at least 20% of the worth of the entire business enterprise.
When one applies for the visa and qualify, they are usually granted temporary residence in the United States. They will be allowed to make their investment, but after two years, the results of their investment will be reviewed. It is when the investor’s compliance with the employment requirements will be checked. The investment has not resulted in job creation as per the needs of the program; the investor is stripped of their temporary residence. If the results have been seen, then their status is changed from interim to permanent.
With the visa, the investor is allowed to bring their spouse and their children with them provided that the children have not attained 21 years of age and are unmarried. It, also, grants the investor the freedom to live, study and work in the United States like an ordinary United States citizen. It is, moreover, one of the best ways to gain permanent resident status and even citizenship if the investor stays in the U.S for more than five years. Another advantage of the EB-5 Investor Visa program is that investors do not require a sponsor and there are no minimum educational requirements to qualify. The process is, however, strict and takes a very long time to be complete. One, therefore, has to be keen and patient with the process.