The EB5 visa is an excellent option for entrepreneurs looking to relocate to the U.S., as it gives them the freedom to live, study, and work in the country. An EB5 regional center can help with your application by providing viable investment opportunities to increase your chances of qualifying for a visa. Here’s an in-depth look at the EB5 visa program.
What Is the EB5 Visa Program?
The EB5 visa program offers an avenue for foreign investors to invest in the U.S. and gain permanent residency. This program is run by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS assesses whether you meet the program’s requirements before issuing a visa. EB5 visa requirements include the following:
- Your funds must be directed towards a new commercial enterprise. This is any for-profit business established after the 29th of November 1990. Businesses established before then can be considered new commercial enterprises if they’ve been restructured or received investment capital resulting in at least a 40% increase in the number of employees or company value.
- You should invest at least $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or $1.05 million in a non-TEA.
- Your investment must be “at risk”. This means your investment must provide an equal opportunity for profit or loss.
- You should create 10 full-time positions for U.S. employees through your enterprise. These positions must be direct jobs. You can only consider direct and indirect jobs if you invest through an EB5 regional center.
- You should prove you’ve obtained your investment capital through lawful means. The USCIS may require you to provide pay stubs, tax return documents, property sale contracts, and signed declarations showing the source and path of your investment capital.
Which Investment Options Are Available?
You can invest either directly into the U.S. economy or through a regional center. Direct investment options include:
- Buying an existing business
- Starting a new business
- Investing in an existing business
You can invest in the economy with cash, cash equivalents, or proceeds from a loan if you use your personal property as collateral. If you’re investing in an existing business, you can use equipment or inventory. If you do, your contribution will be valued according to its current fair market value.
What Is an EB5 Regional Center?
An EB5 regional center is an entity that pools capital from multiple investors to develop projects. Regional centers are regulated by the USCIS and mandated to promote regional economic growth and help create jobs in their designated areas. These entities use the pooled funds to support large-scale projects like real estate developments.
A regional center can reduce the hassle of applying for an EB5 visa. It can research viable investment opportunities in the U.S. on your behalf and help you choose the ideal one. The center can also help you meet the job creation requirement faster.
Regional centers can take credit for jobs created from the projects they choose to develop. These centers can take credit for the direct jobs a major hotel creates if they build it. They can also take credit for indirect jobs created by raw material suppliers involved in the construction of buildings and jobs eventually created by the hotel’s surrounding businesses if the influx of visitors creates business opportunities. A regional center can also help you manage your business.
Which Documents Should You Include in Your EB5 Visa Application?
You should include personal information documents, business-related documents, and documents showing your source of funds to increase your chances of qualifying for a visa. Personal information documents include:
- Copy of your passport
- Copy of your marriage certificate, if married
- Copies of educational and professional certificates
- Copy of your foreign birth certificate
- A detailed business plan
- Articles of organization if you’re establishing a limited liability company
- Articles of incorporation if you’re forming a corporation
- List of positions created by your new commercial enterprise
Documents showing your fund’s source and path include:
- Tax returns
- Bank statements
- Copies of the real estate sale and purchase agreements if you’re funding your investment with a property sale
- Signed declaration letter from a gifter if you’re funding your enterprise with a gift
- Copy of your loan document detailing the loan amount issued and the collateral used if you’re using loan proceeds to fund your investment
The documents required by the USCIS may differ depending on your source of funds. Experienced immigration professionals can advise you on the documents to attach and help translate them to English, if necessary.
Get Support From an EB5 Regional Center
An EB5 regional center can help reduce the stress of an EB5 visa application. It can help you navigate EB5 project requirements and find viable investments. A regional center can also provide documentation to support your application when you want to adjust your status from conditional permanent residency to unconditional permanent residency.