Want to Get a Green Card? 5 Important Things to Understand About EB-5 Investment
A large number of people are keen on becoming citizens of the United States due to all the benefits that come with it. However, becoming a U.S citizen is a long and tedious process, especially if you haven’t lived in the U.S for any length of time.
With that said, while becoming a U.S citizen might not necessarily be on the cards – you could opt for the next best thing and acquire something known as an EB-5 investment visa – which allows you to become a permanent resident of the U.S
Here’s a comprehensive look at everything you need to know about EB-5 investments.
Origin Of The EB-5 Investment Visa
The United States Congress created the EB-5 Visa Program in 1990 to encourage foreign investment and job creation within the country.
Two years after its inception, the U.S congress came up with the Immigrant Investor Program also known as the regional center program.
The program is set up to provide EB-5 visas to foreign investors who invest in for-profit commercial enterprises. It serves as an incentive for foreign investors to invest in targeted areas of employment.
Here’s a look at what it takes to foray into EB-5 visa project investments;
What Are The Requirements For Getting An EB-5 Visa?
Acquiring an EB-5 visa requires you to invest at least $900,000 in a targeted employment area or a $1.8 million investment in a non-targeted employment area.
This investment can be made as a direct investment in a for-profit commercial enterprise which can either be acquired or created for the purpose of this investment.
The investment can also be made into regional centers.
Another requirement for an EB-5 investment is that it must create and maintain at least 10 jobs within 2 years of the application.
For direct investments, you need to prove that you created at least 10 direct jobs while in the case of an investment made into regional centers-analytics and projections are done to ascertain the number of jobs created as a result of the investment.
The investment must be at risk and should not have a capital guarantee. Commercial enterprises can range from sole proprietorships to limited liability companies but must carry out their primary business within the selected area.
What Are Targeted Employment Areas?
A targeted employment area, or TEA for short, is an economically depressed region in the United States that seeks to benefit the most from investments as well as other business activities.
It is a region within the United States where the required investment amount begins around $800,000 to $1,050,000, based on the latest EB-5 program legislation updates in 2022.
There are two types of targeted employment areas – high unemployment areas and rural areas.
A high unemployment area is one that has an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average at the time the EB-5 application is filled.
Rural areas are areas located outside a town or a city with a population of 20,000 residents based on the U.S census. If a rural area meets this standard at the time of the application, it qualifies as a TEA.
What Type Of Funds Can I Invest?
It’s important to understand that when making an EB-5 investment the source of funds must have been legally acquired.
You must be ready to submit documents required to show how the funds were sourced.
Acceptable types of funding include income earned from employment or a sale of property, a loan, income made from the sale of a business, gifts, or inheritance.
You Don’t Have To Start And Run An EB-5 Business Yourself
An interesting fact about EB-5 investments is that you do not need to start an EB-5 business yourself.
There are two types of EB-5 visa project investments – direct investments and investments in regional centers.
In the case of direct investment, investors create, acquire, or invest in businesses themselves, however, this means that they have to be involved in the day-to-day running of the business.
The good news comes with the second type of EB-5 investment which does not require an investor to be involved in the day-to-day running of the business.
Investors invest in regional centers that could be managing funds belonging to 10s or hundreds of investors, putting them in a position to embark on larger projects.
Jobs created from this form of investment are calculated by analytics and can either be directly or indirectly created.
How Long Does The Process Take?
It currently takes the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) 18 months on average to process your EB-5 application. The timeline is expected to improve in the coming years.
With all requirements met an EB-5 investor can get a green card not only for himself/herself but also for their spouse, and children under the age of 21.
It goes without saying that you should engage the services of an immigration lawyer or an immigration firm to assist you through the process and explain steps that might be difficult to comprehend at first glance.