United States Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the Immigrant Investor Program commonly referred to as “EB-5” (Employment-Based Immigration: Fifth Preference). Congress created the EB-5 immigrant visa category in 1990 for immigrants seeking to engage in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs.
The minimum required investment is $900,000 if the investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or rural area ($1,800,000 minimum in all other areas). DHS determines TEAs based on revised requirements. In order to be qualified as a TEA the project must be in a rural area or in a location that has high unemployment. Census tract aggregation is limited to the project tract(s) plus some or all of the tracts that are “directly adjacent” to the project tract, meaning that the census tract combination can only aggregate tracts that touch the project tract.
EB-5 Regional Center Program
Congress created the Regional Center program in 1992 making EB-5 investing less burdensome for investors.
The Regional Center program differs from the regular EB-5 program in that it does not require that the immigrant investor’s enterprise itself employ 10 US workers. Instead, it is enough if the investment creates 10 or more jobs directly or indirectly. Regional Centers receive Federal designations to use economic impact models to quantify direct, indirect and induced jobs created by economic activities. An additional added benefit of a Regional Center sponsored projects is that investors do not have to participate in the day to day management of the enterprise.
Qualified foreign investors, their spouse, and children under 21 receive conditional green cards after making one EB-5 investment. The Regional Center sponsored enterprise has 2 years after the investor/family arrives to the US to create sufficient jobs. The economic impact model converts investment expenditures and revenues into full-time equivalent jobs. Rarely is it necessary to count the actual number of employees hired within the new enterprise. At the 2 year anniversary, the Regional Center and investor provide evidence to the US government verifying job creation data. Job creation evidence typically consists of showing proof of expenditures and revenues resulting from the EB-5 investment. The conditions are removed from the green cards once the government agrees that the EB-5 investment created 10 jobs per investor.
For more information about the program and eligibility you can also visit the USCIS site.