Find answers to some of your most frequently asked questions about investing in an EB-5 program below.
Frequently Asked Questions
The U.S. EB-5 program
USCIS administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) who make an investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States which meets the requirements, are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence). Based on EB-5 eligibility, eligible aliens include those who invest:
- USD 1,000,000 in any place within the USA and employs at least ten qualified individuals or
- USD 500,000 in a targeted employment area where it has an employment rate over the national average and employs at least ten qualified individuals directly or
- USD 500,000 in a regional center approved by the government.
To encourage foreign investment in the U.S. economy through the EB-5 category, Congress created an EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program in 1992. In doing so, Congress permitted the U.S. immigration agency to designate qualified applicants as "Regional Centers." A Regional Center is a private enterprise, corporation or a regional governmental agency with a targeted investment program within a defined geographic region.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program does not require that it directly creates 10 U.S. jobs. Instead, it is enough if 10 or more jobs will be created directly or indirectly as a result of the investment. The Regional Center Investment Program aids foreign investors by directing and professionally managing their investment in the designated business and geographic focus of their Regional Center.
According to the EB-5 program statistics, approximately 92% of the individual Form I-526 petitions filed each year are filed by Investors who are investing in RC-affiliated commercial enterprises. The application process of RC-program is easier, faster and it’s less expensive for the investor.
By June 2012, there were currently 225 approved Regional Centers (RCs), operating in 43 states, including the District of Columbia and Guam. A complete list of approved RCs is also available online at http://www.uscis.gov/eb-5centers
The EB-5 program allots 10,000 visas per year for aliens and family members whose qualifying investments result in the creation and/or preservation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers, including 5,000 visas for the investors of Regional Center Program.
Most Regional Center investment partnerships have a projected life of five years.
The USCIS web site at http://www.uscis.gov provides information on the EB-5 Program and how to obtain a lawful permanent resident (LPR, or “green card”) status through the investment. The federal regulations governing the EB-5 program can be found at 8 CFR §204.6.
EB-5 regulations require that all invested capital be “at risk” of loss. Therefore, no investment can be guaranteed – that is, without risk – if it is to qualify as an EB-5 investment. “At risk” generally means subject to normal business and financial risk. Other risks include the enterprise’s failure to meet the direct or indirect job creation requirement.