US EB-5 Visa Lawyer
EB-5 Visa Overview
USCIS administers the EB-5 program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a program initially enacted as a pilot in 1992, and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
On Feb. 15, 2019, President Trump signed a law extending the Regional Center Program through Sept. 30, 2019.
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise that was established:
- After Nov. 29, 1990, or
- On or before Nov. 29, 1990, that was:
- Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results; or
- Expanded through the investment, resulting in at least a 40% increase in the net worth or number of employees.
Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:
- A sole proprietorship;
- Partnership (whether limited or general);
- Holding company;
- Joint venture;
- Business trust; or
- Other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned.
This definition includes a commercial enterprise consisting of a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, if each such subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.
This definition does not include noncommercial activity such as owning and operating a personal residence.
Job Creation Requirements
An EB-5 investor must invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.
- For a new commercial enterprise not located within a regional center, the new commercial enterprise must directly create the full-time positions to be counted. This means that the new commercial enterprise (or its wholly ownedsubsidiaries) must itself be the employer of the qualifying employees.
- For a new commercial enterprise located within a regional center, the new commercial enterprise can directly or indirectly create the full-time positions.
- Direct jobs are those jobs that establish an employer-employee relationship between the new commercial enterprise and the persons it employs.
- Indirect jobs are those jobs held outside of the new commercial enterprise but that are created as a result of the new commercial enterprise.
- In the case of a troubled business, the EB-5 investor may rely on job maintenance.
- The investor must show that the number of existing employees is being, or will be, maintained at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years.
A troubled business is one that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12- or 24-month period before the priority date on the immigrant investor’s Form I-526. The loss for this period must be at least 20% of the troubled business’ net worth before the loss.
When determining whether the troubled business has been in existence for two years, USCIS will consider successors in interest to the troubled business when evaluating whether they have been in existence for the same period of time as the business they succeeded.
A qualifying employee is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States including, but not limited to, a conditional resident, temporary resident, asylee, refugee, or a person residing in the United States under suspension of deportation.
This definition does not include immigrant investors; their spouses, sons, or daughters; or any foreign national in any nonimmigrant status (such as an H-1B nonimmigrant) or who is not authorized to work in the United States.
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 regional center program, “full-time employment” also means employment of a qualifying employee in a position that has been created indirectly that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week.
A job-sharing arrangement where two or more qualifying employees share a full-time position will count as full-time employment provided the hourly requirement per week is met. This definition does not include combinations of part-time positions even if, when combined, the positions meet the hourly requirement per week.
Jobs that are intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient in nature do not qualify as permanent full-time jobs. However, jobs that are expected to last at least two years are generally not considered intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient in nature.
Capital Investment Requirements
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents, and indebtedness secured by assets owned by immigrant investors, if they are personally and primarily liable and the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness.
All capital shall be valued at fair-market value in U.S. dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) will not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act.
Note: Immigrant investors must establish that they are the legal owner of the capital invested. Capital can include their promise to pay (a promissory note) under certain circumstances.
Future adjustments will be tied to inflation (per the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, or CPI-U) and occur every five years.
Regardless of your individual circumstances, working with an experienced US EB-5 Visa attorney is an important choice you can make to help improve your U.S. travel status. Call 855 461 0009 to speak with a US EB-5 Visa attorney today for a Free EB-5 Visa law consultation.