Investment Based Immigration

EB-5 — fifth preference

Become a permanent resident through investment.

Immigrant petitions of foreign investors, also known as the EB-5 immigrant visas, have successfully helped many immigrants and their families move to America permanently while contributing to creation of new jobs and assisting the industrial development in their new communities. EB5 investor visa became extremely popular due to the benefits (green card) it offers. Applicants for the EB-5 visas require no sponsor, have no language or minimum education requirement, and lack the long waiting periods that plague other visa programs. However, the largest benefits come after an EB-5 visa investment has been approved. Investors and their families can live and work in America for two years as temporary residents, and then petition the U.S. government for the Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) status towards the end of the temporary period. Finally, after five years combined in temporary and LPR status, they like other LPR's may become eligible to become U.S. citizens.

The Law Offices of Grinberg & Segal, PLLC helps investors across the world apply for and acquire EB-5 immigrant visas. Our attorneys assist immigrants with filing the necessary forms and accumulating the evidence they need to get approved. We stay with you through the entire immigration process and are always available to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Ways to engage in qualifying investment

There are three ways that an investor can become eligible for an EB-5 immigrant visa:

Invest privately in a new commercial enterprise

In general, “eligible EB5 visa individuals” include those who establish a new commercial enterprise, which can include creating an original business; purchasing an existing business and simultaneously or subsequently restructuring or reorganizing the business such that a new commercial enterprise results; or expanding an existing business by one hundred and forty percent (140%) of the pre-investment number of jobs or net worth, or retaining all existing jobs in a troubled business that has lost twenty percent (20%) of its net worth over the past one (1) to two (2) years.

There are two general ways for an investor to qualify for an EB5 visa. First, an investor can invest privately in either a new commercial enterprise in the United States, or a “troubled business.” Second, an investor can use a pilot program and invest through regional center. When investing in a new commercial enterprise, an investor must meet the following requirements:

  • An investment of at least $1 million into the business venture in the United States. However, if the investment is made into a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the requirement is lowered to $500,000. A “targeted employment area” is a locale that has experienced unemployment of at least one hundred and fifty percent (150%) of the national average rate or a rural area. 3,000 of the 10,000 allocated EB-5 visas are designated annually for investments in TEAs.
  • The investment will create full-time employment opportunities for at least ten (10) workers, or maintain the number of existing employees at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years, where the capital investment is being made in a “troubled business. These jobs do not include the investor or any of his or her immediate family, but does include green card holders and other non-residents lawfully authorized to work in the United States. To fulfill this requirement, the investor must submit a detailed business plan on how this goal will be achieved within the two-year visa period.
  • The funds for the investment were lawfully obtained. Documentation must be provided that the funds were acquired either as a gift, inheritance or profits from previous business ventures.
  • The investment will benefit the U.S. economy by providing goods and services.
  • The investor will be involved in the day-to-day management of the business.

One distinct advantage that this method offers investors is that any profits made during the course of the two-year visa period can be attributed to the investment. Only one-third (⅓) of the total $1 million investment must be paid up front, and the remaining two-thirds (⅔) can be accumulated while the business is operating. Any excess profit made after the total investment is completed then goes directly to the investors.

Invest privately in a “troubled business”

To qualify for an EB5 visa, an investor may also choose to invest into an existing business that suffered financial difficulties. U.S. law refers to such business as “troubled”. A “troubled business” is defined as a business entity that has been in existence for at least two (2) years and that has lost twenty percent (20%) of its net worth over the past one (1) to two (2) years. To qualify, an investor must fulfill the same requirements for a new commercial investment, except that at least ten jobs have to be preserved rather than created. The idea behind this modification is to help existing entities in staying in business by attracting qualifying investors. Many objective factors, not necessarily negligence or bad business model or practices, can contribute to economic decline of a business. Recognizing this fact US Immigration Law offers incentive to investors to invest not only in new business entities but also supporting existing thus contributing to the well being of the community they choose to invest in.

Regional center investment

To qualify for an EB5 immigrant visa, an immigrant may also choose to invest in the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program. A EB-5 Regional Center is an entity that is approved by the U.S. government to accept and handle foreign investments. These entities may be private corporations or a regional governmental agencies that are seeking investment in their area. For your convenience, we have provided a complete listing of EB-5 Regional Centers throughout America for your review.

Under EB5 visa Program, investors enjoy certain advantages over those investing privately. First, investors are still required to at least create ten full-time jobs, but their creation may be a direct or indirect result of your investment. Second, the investor is not required to be involved in the daily operation of the business, and is free to pursue other business ventures. However, the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program was scheduled to expire on September 30, 2012. The validity of the program was extended on September 13, 2012 for three years. The U.S. House of Representatives passed (S. 3245 (412-3)) Bill with the overwhelming bipartisan support. President Obama signed the Bill into the law the same day. The new Bill for EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program is scheduled to expire in 2015.

Annually, ten thousand (10,000) EB-5 immigrant visas are available to qualified foreign nationals seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their engagement in a new commercial enterprise. The Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services sets aside three thousand (3,000) EB-5 immigrant visas for those who apply under a pilot program involving designated “EB5 Regional Center.” A “EB5 Regional Center” is a Service approved entity, organization or agency that has been approved, which focuses on a specific geographical area within the United States and seeks to promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, creation of new jobs, and increased domestic capital investment.

To qualify for an EB5 visa, “Alien investors” must show that a “qualified investment” is being made in a new commercial enterprise located within an approved Regional Center. The foreign national must also demonstrate, using reasonable methodologies, at least ten (10) full-time jobs will actually be created either directly or indirectly by the new commercial enterprise through revenues generated from increased exports, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment resulting from the pilot program.