- Who is eligible for an EB-5 investor visa
- Application process for an investment EB 5 visa in the US
- Requirements for confirmation of the fact of investment: new commercial enterprises
- Requirements to confirm the fact of investment: rural areas.
- Benefits of an investor EB-5 visa programm in the US
The immigration program for investors EB-5 exists since 1990, but has really gained popularity only the last few years.
In 1992, the United States of America Congress create the Immigrant Investor Program, also well-known by the name as the Regional Center Program (RCP). This is opposite to EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
In 2005, the Immigration Service received only 332 petitions on the EB-5, and in 2012 – already 6041. In 2007, 793 visas were issued for the EB-5, and in 2012 – 7641.
The program flourished not only among investors but also among American developers of business projects seeking to find inexpensive financing for their entrepreneurial ventures: the number of Regional Centers jumped from 20 in 2009 to 300 in 2013.
Over the past 8 years, the total investment exceeded $ 6 billion, which led to the creation of 100 thousand jobs.
Participation in the program consist from many nuances, including:
- need proving document of funds invested and trace their entire path from the source to the current location on the investor’s account, transfer of funds to the US;
- checking the history of problems with issuing US visas in the past;
- negotiations with the owners of the potential EB-5 project;
- ensuring the reliability of investment during the immigration process, as well as its return to the investor after 5-6 years.
The popularity of this program soared so high that along with it came serious problems:
- too many Regional Centers with a lack of investors, long queues when considering petitions and long waiting times for investors from China;
- extended terms for making decisions of the Immigration Service on petitions I-526 and I-829;
- submitting for the consideration of the US Congress fundamental changes in the Program (in particular, the revision of the definition of the target employment zones and the reservation of visas for investment in certain areas);
- as well as tightening the rules of the Immigration Service on the use of loans as a source of investment.
Who is eligible for an EB-5 investment visa?
A visa of this class can be obtained not by a US citizen who implements any of the following investment projects:
- create a new business or acquire an existing business;
- invests at least $ 1,000,000 or $ 500,000 in a new business or project in progress;
- expands the existing business by at least 140% (with a corresponding increase in the number of jobs compared to the investment level);
- provides assistance in the form of investment to an existing business, which has lost 20% of its equity over the previous 1 to 2 years.
It should be noted that for the first three types of investment in business, a minimum of 10 jobs for US citizens is a prerequisite for obtaining an EB-5 visa. Investments in a troubled business are a special case, and will be discussed below.
Application process for an investment EB 5 visa in the US
In order to EB 5 visa process as an immigrant investor, you must submit the completed form I-526 (Petition by Alien Entrepreneur) to the USCIS immigration service, along with additional documents that unequivocally confirm that your investments meet the requirements, described in the next section.
After I-526 is approved, you can obtain the conditional status of a resident (permanent resident of the country) by registering with the USCIS immigration service the completed form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) if you are in the US.
In the event that you are outside the US, an application for an EB 5 investor visa is submitted to the appropriate US consulate.
To obtain the permanent resident status of the country (resident), you must apply for registration with the USCIS form I-829 (Petition by an Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions) within 90 days before the 2-year US EB-5 your conditional status as a resident in the US.
The USCIS I-526 form should be sent for registration to the USCIS service center in the region where the main activity of the new commercial enterprise will be carried out.
Requirements for confirmation of the fact of investment: new commercial enterprises
In order to qualify for an EB-5 immigration visa in connection with an investment in a new commercial enterprise, you need to provide the following evidence:
- Confirmation of the fact that you created a new commercial enterprise – for example, copies of the relevant constituent documents and federal tax returns.
- Acknowledgment that you have invested the required amount.
- Confirmation of your investment participation in a new commercial enterprise during the two-year period of your stay in the US with the status of a conditional resident:
- commercial invoices and receipts;
- bank statements;
- licenses for conducting commercial activities;
- results of audit of financial documents;
- filled copies of federal and state tax returns, quarterly tax statements.
- Confirmation of the number of permanent employees during the creation of the business and at present. Such supporting documents include:
- payment statements ;
- relevant tax documentation;
- declaration of incomes of employees in Form I-9.
Requirements to confirm the fact of investment: rural areas.
Investor Green card requires a minimum investment of $ 1 million. You can invest in almost any type of enterprise in America. Unlike applying for an E type visa, you can apply for an investor’s green card irrespective of citizenship.
If you invest in regions with high unemployment or sparsely populated rural areas, then the minimum investment may be $ 500,000. These problem regions are determined by each state independently.
You do not need to invest all investments before applying for a green card. However, at the time you apply for an immigrant visa, you must actively pursue the investment process, especially if you are reorganizing an existing enterprise or are starting a new business. The required amount of investment must be guaranteed by written commitments.
Investment visa EB-5, received in connection with investments in a troubled business, needs a documentary confirmation similar to the above.
The difference is that instead of confirming the creation of at least 10 jobs, you must prove that the number of existing jobs is at least maintained at the pre-investment level in the last two years.
Such supporting documents, for example, include:
- tax documents,
- forms I-9,
- extended business plans.
Benefits of an investor visa in the US
The advantages of obtaining an EB-5 visa:
- The legal status of a permanent US resident on the basis of a US investor visa The EB-5 provides most of the benefits and benefits enjoyed by US citizens. Those who received such a status under the EB-5 visa do not need to update it or implement the procedures for re-applying. You need to understand that non-immigrant visas, such as B, E and H, in many cases ultimately do not lead to the status of a permanent resident of the country. For these non-immigrant visas, there are temporary restrictions, additional registration procedures are required in the USCIS immigration service. Holders of such visas may need to return to their country every few years to visit the US consulate. Moreover, US immigration laws may change, and when it is time to renew a visa, foreigners may not obtain the necessary permission to enter the US.
- The US is considered a “quiet haven” for families with permanent resident status in the US. Any family member with a green card is entitled to arrive at any time in the US and stay here for any period of time (there are certain restrictions on the length of stay outside the US).
- EB-5 investors have the ability to enter the US for personal and commercial purposes at any time and without any difficulties.
- Permanent residents of the country do not need a visa to enter the US, for this they need only a green card. Investors EB-5 can live anywhere in the US, retire and own their own business.
- US colleges and universities that are internationally recognized provide basic and higher education. As a permanent resident of the country, the EB-5 investor has the right to take advantage of the reduced cost of education, especially in the state of his residence.
- In many respects, the cost of living in the US is lower compared to other developed countries. Consumer goods, services, accommodation can be significantly cheaper when compared to comparable goods and services in many other countries.
- Students attending college have the right to work to compensate costs of their education. They have the right to continue their work after graduation.
- The US provides a variety of financial, social and educational rights and benefits. Among them, public schools, higher education, as well as medical and social benefits.
- The investor has the ability to transport the rest of the family members to the US and apply for an American type for permanent.
Therefore, if you have the right to investor’s green card, you can create such an enterprise structure that will give you the opportunity to apply for a green card in the category of “owner (employee) of an international company.” This will allow you to get the “unconditional” green card faster, with the least money costs and minimal checks by the immigration service.
Given the strong variability of the program and possibly future changes, those who have already invested or are going to invest in the EB5 visa, it is extremely important to keep a hand on the pulse.
We will be happy to answer all your questions about the EB5 program.