The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program offers a pathway for foreign investors to obtain U.S. permanent resident status for themselves, their spouse, and any unmarried children under the age of 21 through successful investments in EB-5 projects. There are several requirements that need to be met before EB-5 investors are granted permanent residency:
- Investors must invest either $900,000 in an EB-5 project in a targeted unemployment area (TEA) or $1.8 million in a non-TEA EB-5 project in the United States.
- The EB-5 investment capital must create 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. citizens or residents for a minimum of two years.
- The EB-5 investment capital must remain at risk during the entire EB-5 process.
- Investors must provide documentation that proves that their EB-5 funds, comprised of the investment amount of either $900,000 or $1.8 million and the $50,000 to $80,000 in additional administrative fees, were all obtained legally.
- Investors must be involved in the new commercial enterprise (NCE). EB-5 investors who have invested directly in a project must be deeply engaged in its management, whereas those who invested through a regional center can be engaged to a lesser extent.
Making EB-5 Investments
The right EB-5 project should offer the investor low financial and immigration risk. The EB-5 investor should conduct due diligence and a careful review of the project documents to determine the project’s level of risk. After selecting an EB-5 project, it is important for the investor to work with an immigration attorney to go over the applicable laws and regulations prior to transferring the required funds to the designated account, typically an escrow, detailed in the project documents.
Qualifying for the Lower EB-5 Investment Amount
To qualify for the lower EB-5 investment amount of $900,000, an investor needs to invest in a designated TEA EB-5 project. TEA projects are either in urban areas with high unemployment rates or in rural areas with populations of less than 20,000.
Qualifications for an EB-5 Project
EB-5 projects must be NCEs, which are defined as lawful for-profit businesses established after November 29, 1990. Qualifying NCEs can range from sole proprietorships and joint ventures to corporations and business trusts.
Job Creation Requirement
The creation of a minimum of 10 new full-time jobs in the United States with the investor’s capital is a primary requirement of the EB-5 program. What this looks like depends largely on whether the investor chose to invest directly in an EB-5 project or via a regional center.
For EB-5 investors who directly invest in a project, their investment capital must create and fund at a minimum 10 full-time direct jobs. Construction jobs and jobs on the NCE’s payroll are considered direct jobs.
For EB-5 investors who invest in a project through a regional center, their investment capital must create and fund at a minimum 10 full-time direct, indirect, or induced jobs. Indirect jobs are jobs created by suppliers or service providers for the NCE, whereas induced jobs are ones created in the local area as a result of spending by the NCE employees. An estimate of the job creation must by completed by a third-party economist using accepted economic and statistical calculation methods.