Investment Immigration -

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What is an EB-5 Visa?


EB-5 is the U.S. Government’s Immigrant Investor Program created in 1990 to stimulate U.S. economy through capital investment and job creation by foreign investors.  A foreign investor can apply directly for a permanent residency in the U.S. if he or she meets the requirements of this program.


What are the basic requirements of an EB-5 Investment?


All EB-5 investors must invest in a "new commercial enterprise", that is, a commercial enterprise:


  • Established after November 29, 1990, OR

  • Established on or before November 29, 1990, that is either purchased and the existing business is restructured in a way to result a new commercial enterprise or it is expanded through an investment so that there is a 40 percent increase in the net worth or number of employees.


The definition of a commercial enterprise is pretty broad, encompassing several enterprises which generally conduct business, including corporation, partnership, joint venture, holding company, or others.  Note that the definition does not include noncommercial activity such as owning a personal residence.


What are the job creation requirements of an EB-5 Investment?


An EB-5 investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or in some other cases within a reasonable time after these two years) of the investor’s admission to the U.S. as a Conditional Permanent Resident.  These jobs must be direct, that is, these must be identifiable jobs located within the commercial enterprise into which the investor directly invested his or her capital.  Indirect jobs are defined as jobs created collaterally or as a result of the capital investment in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor.


A qualified employee is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other immigrant authorized to work in the U.S.   It does not include an immigrant investor, his or her spouse, sons, or daughters, or any foreign national in a nonimmigrant status, or whose who are not authorized to work in the U.S.


Full-time employment means employment of a qualifying employee by the new commercial enterprise in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week.  In the case of the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, “full time employment” also means employment of a qualifying employee in a position that has been created indirectly from investments associated with the Pilot Program.  Note that investors may also be credited with preserving jobs in a troubled business.  Please contact us for more information on EB-5 Visa.


How much do I need to invest to get the EB-5 Visa?


An investor must invest capital, which includes cash, equipment, inventory, cash equivalents, and even indebtedness secured by assets owned by the foreign investor, provided that the investor is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise are not used to secure any of the indebtedness.  Assets acquired by unlawful means are not considered capital for the purposes of Section 203(b)(5) of the Act.


This capital must be a minimum of $1 million.  However, in a targeted employment area, that is an area of high unemployment or a rural area, the minimum qualifying investment is $500,000.


A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.  A rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census.

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DISCLAIMER: Brenman Immigration Law Firm is located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  We serve clients in Washington, DC, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, and nationwide.  Our practice is limited to Federal Immigration Law only. 


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