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Immigration to US Through Investment

Investor Visa Category

EB5 immigrant visa category was created by Congress in 1990 and is available to immigrants seeking to enter the United States through an investment in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. It is governed by Immigration & Nationality Act sec. 203(b)(5) , 8 USC §1153(b)(5) and allows for issuance of 10,000 immigrant visas, 3,000 of which are set aside for "targeted employment areas" and 3,000 - for investing through a Regional Center under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program. There are two ways to invest which you may use within the EB-5 category, and they are (1) creating a new commercial enterprise or (2) investing in a troubled business.

Eligibility Criteria

New Business Enterprise

To qualify you must:

  1. Invest or be in the process of investing at least $1,000,000. If your investment is in a designated targeted employment area (discussed below), then the minimum investment requirement is $500,000.
  2. Benefit the U.S. economy by providing goods or services to U.S. markets.
  3. Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers. This includes U.S. citizens, Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents) and other individuals lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. (however it does not include you (the immigrant), or your spouse, sons or daughters).
  4. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the new business or directly manage it through formulating business policy - for example as a corporate officer or board member.

Targeted Employment Area is defined by law as "a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average."

Troubled Business

To qualify you must:

  1. Invest in a business that has existed for at least two years.
  2. Invest in a business that has incurred a net loss, based on generally accepted accounting principles, for the 12 to 24 month period before you filed the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by an Alien Entrepreneur.
  3. The loss for the 12 to 24 month period must be at least equal to 20 percent of the business's net worth before the loss.
  4. Maintain the number of jobs at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years.
  5. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the troubled business or directly manage it through formulating business policy. For example, as a corporate officer or board member.
  6. The same investment requirements of the new commercial enterprise investment apply to a troubled business investment ($1,000,000 or $500,000 in a targeted employment area).

Please note that the 24 months period in the qualification criteria listed above is what USCIS is basing their judgment upon when evaluating whether business fits in the definition of "troubled business".

Regional Center Pilot Program

Investment in Regional Centers is allowed to be of a smaller amount than an individual, direct investment. A candidate still must qualify to utilize an avenue that a Regional Center offers. To qualify, one must:

  1. Invest at least $500,000 in a regional center affiliated new commercial enterprise or a troubled business located within the area of the USCIS designated Regional Center. Regional Centers are defined and discussed further below.
  2. Create at least 10 new full-time jobs either directly or indirectly (using reasonable acceptable methodology) through the capital investment.

A Regional Center is defined as any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. The organizers of a regional center seeking the regional center designation from USCIS must submit a proposal showing:

  • How the regional center plans to focus on a geographical region within the U.S., and must explain how the regional center will achieve the required economic growth within this regional area
  • That the regional center's business plan can be relied upon as a viable business model grounded in reasonable and credible estimates and assumptions for market conditions, project costs, and activity timelines
  • How in verifiable detail (using economic models in some instances) jobs will be created directly or indirectly through capital investments made in accordance with the regional center's business plan
  • The amount and source of capital committed to the project and the promotional efforts made and planned for the business project.

EB5 Application Process

Acquiring lawful permanent residence ("Green Card") through the EB-5 category is a three step self-petitioning process (meaning, you do not have to have a job offer). First, a successful applicant must obtain approval of his or her Form I-526 (Petition for an Alien Entrepreneur)(with or without using a Regional Center). Second, he or she must either file an I-485 applicationto adjust status to lawful permanent resident, or apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside of the United States. The EB-5 applicant (and his or her immediate family members), are granted conditional permanent residence for a two- year period upon the approval of the I-485 application or upon entry into the United States with an EB-5 immigrant visa. Third, aForm I-829 (Petition by an Entrepreneur to Remove Condition) must be filed 90 days prior to the two year anniversary of the granting of the EB-5 applicant's conditional Green Card to demonstrate that the investment was sustained. If this petition is approved by USCIS, then the EB-5 applicant will be issued a new Green Card without any further conditions attached to it, and will be allowed to permanently live and work in the United States.

It is very important to consult an experienced immigration lawyer to walk you through the complexities of any immigration case especially an EB5. Each EB5 case is unique and requires attention to details as well as knowledge of immigration law and business in the United States.

How Maged Rost Can Help

At Maged Rost, our lawyers are skilled at both law and business. Our partners have over twenty years of combined experience practicing immigration law and have both earned Master of Business Administration degrees in addition to Juris Doctorate degrees, rendering them uniquely qualified to advise clients in the complex and ever-changing area of obtaining immigration benefits through investments. Moreover, they will walk you through the entire process of obtaining an investor visa, from assessing the different regional centers in order to find a business that better suits you to making final arrangements of relocating you and your family to the United States.

In other words, Maged Rost will work very hard on all the details to make a smooth transition to the United States for you and your family. For more information click here to see all the additional services Maged Rost provides to individuals and organizations to enter the US markets.

Maged Rost - located in theGreater Boston area that serves foreign nationals throughout the world - is an immigration law firm comprised of professionals dedicated to consistently exceed their clients' expectations. They will tailor your case with the precision and knowledge necessary to suit the specifics needs of each client. They represent investors in matters related to United States Immigration and Nationality Law.

People from around the world seek opportunities to reside in the United States. With tightening US immigration policies the options are often limited. The Investor EB-5 visais an option available to a select few and combines investment in the US economy with an opportunity for the principal investor and family members to live and work in the United States.

Whether you are considering investor options for immigration to the United States or to Canada, take the time to explore this site to gain valuable information and an overview of some of the options that may be available to you. Each person's situation is unique, so if you would like to further discuss your options, please contact us to schedule an Initial Consultation and one of our attorneys will discuss in depth all the different possibilities that may be available to you. This can be done in person, on the phone or via video-conferencing.

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