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The EB-5 program, administered by USCIS, allows immigrant investors (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) to apply for the green card (permanent residence) based on a substantial investment in a U.S. commercial enterprise, which will create or save 10 jobs for U.S. workers.
There are two distinct programs available for investment, the Basic EB-5 Program, and the Regional Center Program. Both grant the investor an initial two year conditional permanent residence card, and then require the investor to apply to remove the conditions near the end of the two year initial grant, to obtain full permanent residence. USCIS reviews the investment, business enterprise and job creation that occurred in the two years of conditional residence, to determine whether the conditions should be removed and full permanent residence granted.
Caroline Ostrom, Minneapolis business immigration attorney, assists entrepreneurs and investors worldwide who are seeking U.S. visas. We encourage you to contact us if you need legal advice regarding EB-5 eligibility or the application process.
The Basic EB-5 Program requires an investment of $1 Million plus creation of 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers (not including the investor or immediate family). Both the investment and job creation requirement is “per investor,” so two partners investing in a single project need to invest $1 Million each and create a total of 20 jobs in order for both investors to qualify as permanent residents.
The investment requirement is reduced to $500,000 per investor if made in a “targeted employment area,” which may be in a rural area or an area of high unemployment.
The investment must be in a new commercial enterprise, or an enterprise established after November 29, 1990. Alternatively, acquiring an existing business established before November 29, 1990, can qualify if the business is then substantially restructured or reorganized, or if the investment results in at least a 40% increase in either the net worth or number of U.S. workers (in any case, the investment must create at least 10 jobs). In cases involving acquisition of troubled businesses, the saving of jobs (as opposed to creating new ones) can qualify, under limited circumstances. Even the troubled business must have at least 10 saved or created jobs, however.
The investor’s source of funds must be a lawful source, and must be the personal funds of the investor. The source of funds will be closely examined in the application process.
The Basic EB-5 process requires a petition to U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services detailing the commercial enterprise, evidencing investment, describing the source of funds invested, and showing the creation of 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. If the hires have not been made when the petition is submitted, a detailed business plan must describe where and when, during the next 2 years, the 10 employees will be hired. In the case of an investment in a “troubled business,” the business plan must demonstrate how an existing 10 workers will be retained. The petition must also describe how the petitioner will engage in day-to-day business management or policy formation.
The Regional Center EB-5 Program requires an investment in a regional center approved by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. As with the Basic program, the regional center investment must be $1 Million unless the regional center deals within “targeted employment areas.” The job creation requirement differs from the basic program in an important way. Jobs may be created directly or indirectly, through the investment in a regional center. Indirect job creation may flow from increased exports, improved regional productivity, or increased domestic capital investment resulting from the regional center’s activities.
The EB-5 regional center investor files a petition with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, demonstrating investment with an approved regional center, establishing the source of funds, and providing documentation (provided by the center) relating to the center’s capital investment structure and job creation methodology.
We counsel potential EB-5 Investors about the differences in the Basic EB-5 and EB-5 Regional Center programs, presenting the differences and potential pros and cons of the two choices for investors. We also assist in documenting the source and path of funds for the investment, prepare and draft the I-526 Petition, respond to Requests for Evidence, prepare the investor and qualifying family members for Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status as applicable, and draft and prepare the I-829 Petition to Remove Conditions. We advise and assist with all immigration-law-related aspects of the process.
Based in Minneapolis, our immigration team works with employees and companies in the Twin Cities and throughout the globe. We welcome you to contact Ostrom Law Office for assistance with your immigration matter.