The EB-5 visa, also known as the Fifth Preference Immigrant Investor Program, was created by Congress in 1990, and provides a method for foreign nationals to obtain lawful permanent residence (e.g. a green card) if they are willing to invest money in the United States. Essentially, to obtain an EB-5 visa, an individual must invest one million dollars, or in some cases $500,000, in a certified U.S. job-creating commercial enterprise, creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers. There are several paths and investment options an immigrant investor may take. The first option is to utilize a government-approved “Regional Center” – which is a third-party managed investment vehicle (private or public), which assumes the responsibility of collecting data about specific job sites and for creating the requisite jobs. Another possibility is to consider investing in an enterprise that is located within a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). A TEA is a designated commercial enterprise site located in a setting of high unemployment or a rural area. Finally, an investor who may want more control over their investment or those seeking to maximize profits may want to consider the direct method which includes options such as starting their own business or expanding a preexisting one as long as the ten-job U.S. employment requirement is satisfied.
If the foreign national investor’s petition is approved, the investor and his or her dependents will be granted conditional permanent residence which is valid for two years. Within the 90 day period before the conditional permanent residence expires, the investor must submit evidence documenting that the full required investment has been made and that 10 jobs have been maintained, or ten jobs have been created or will be created within a reasonable time period.
At the Shulman Law Group, LLC, we have been actively involved in helping to successfully guide immigrant investors through the EB-5 process. During our initial consultation sessions, we explore the benefits and challenges of each investment method so that the client can make an informed decision about the most appropriate investment option for his or her particular situation. We maximally assist our clients during the investment selection process by providing them with lists of options, data about specific regional centers (including approval rates), and discussions about which sites carry the lightest and heaviest evidentiary burdens to satisfy. As appropriate, we will facilitate meetings with local regional centers and accompany our clients to the meetings to ensure that they are well informed about all aspects of the process.