The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is one of the five employment-based (EB) preference programs in the United States. This visa provides a method for eligible Immigrant Investors to become lawful permanent residents by investing at least $1,000,000 to finance a business in the United States that will employ at least 10 American workers. While initially the EB-5 visa holders are issued a conditional green card, after a period of time, they are able to apply for a permanent green card. Investors have two choices when it comes to their investment, they can either invest through the Regional Center program or through a New Commercial Enterprise (NCE).
The New Commercial Enterprise Application Timeline
The approximate amount of time it will take you to apply and receive your EB-5 is about 26-36 months. The first step in your application process is filing your petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The next step in the process is waiting for your petition approval. There are currently over 30,000 petitions that the Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO) has to review. This means it could take up to 25 months to hear back on the status of your application.
If your application is approved, then you move into the process of obtaining a conditional green card. If you are not currently living in the United States, this step is relatively straightforward and usually takes between 4 to 9 months. You should be prepared to have an interview at the U.S. consulate that has jurisdiction over your place of residence. If you are currently residing in the United States, your immigration attorney will have to file a petition to convert your temporary status to lawful permanent residence status. This can take anywhere between 3 and 6 months.
EB-5 Visa Investor Requirements
To meet the capital investment requirements, the secured assets must be in the form of cash, inventory, intangible property and equipment. This capital is calculated according to the U.S. fair-market value for the same or similar assets. Capital cannot be borrowed, it must come from the investor themselves. The minimum investment in a business required for this visa is one million U.S. dollars. If the business is in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), then the minimum drops to $500,000. A TEA is a rural area or an area outside the boundary of a city or town that has a population of less than 20,000.
An EB-5 visa applicant must provide proof of the capacity to preserve or create 10 new full-time roles for qualified US workers. These roles must be created within the stated two-year frame, or within a reasonable period according to the immigrant investor in a Conditional Permanent Resident visa.
The definition of a direct job according to USCIS, is that it must be an identifiable job for a qualified employee located within the commercial enterprise the EB-5 investor has directly invested their capital in. An indirect job is one that has been created collaterally or as a result of the capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor.
Investing In a New Commercial Enterprise
EB-5 investors are required to invest in a new commercial enterprise in order to receive a visa. Establishing a new commercial enterprise can include creating an original business, purchasing an existing business, or the expansion of an existing business.
A major distinction that has to be considered is whether the enterprise was established before or after November 29, 1990. If it was established before this date, the enterprise must be purchased and the existing business is reconstructed or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results. If the enterprise existed after November 29, 1990, then the EB-5 applicant must plan to expand the enterprise through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs.
Aside from new commercial enterprises, there are also other commercial enterprises that apply for investments to obtain an EB-5. The term commercial enterprise applies to all for-profit activity formed during ongoing operations of a business. This can include a sole proprietorship, partnerships whether limited or general, holding company, joint venture, corporation and a business trust or other entity which may be publicly or privately owned.
Choose an Experienced Immigration Attorney
If you are an Indian investor, you may be interested in investing in a new commercial enterprise over a regional center because you want more direct control over your investment. You can play a prominent role in the commercial enterprise rather than just being a silent investor, and many people find this more ideal. You also have much more freedom in terms of what kind of business you want to start or work with. Overall, if performed correctly, your investment will directly create 10 new full-time jobs. Reach out to an immigration attorney for more information and for how to apply for the EB-5 Visa.