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Foreign Investor (EB-5) Visa

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.

REQUIREMENTS:

1. Investment amount:

  • Either $1 million in a New Enterprise; or
  • $500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or Rural Area;
    • TEA - means an area which, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area which has experienced unemployment of at least 150 per cent of the national average rate.
    • Rural Area - means any area not within either a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more.
  • Investment may be done individually or through a Designated Regional Center.

2. Create at least 10 full-time employment positions:

  • Investment must create at least 10 full-time positions for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or other immigrant lawfully authorized to be employed in the United States;
  • This excludes entrepreneur, entrepreneur's spouse, son or daughter or nonimmigrant alien.
  • "Full-time" means employment in a position that requires at least 35 hours of service per week at any time, regardless of who fills the position.

3. Lawful source of funds:

  • Entrepreneur must clearly document evidence of the source of the funds invested;
  • This means that entrepreneur must show that the funds were obtained through lawful means;
  • Such evidence may include:
    • Foreign business transaction records
    • Corporate, Partnership or other Tax Returns for the past 5 years
    • Personal Tax Returns for the past 5 years
    • Property Sales
    • Other sources of capital
    • Certified copies of any judgments
    • Gift
    • Inheritance

4. "At risk" investment

  • USCIS requires that the entrepreneur's investment be "at risk;"
  • This means that entrepreneur's mere intent to invest, or of prospective investment arrangements entailing no present commitment, will not suffice to show that the petitioner is actively in the process of investing.
  • Entrepreneur must show actual commitment of the required amount of capital, and that he or she faces actual risk of loss of his personal capital.

5. Management

  • If the investment is done through an individual new enterprise, entrepreneur must show that he or she will be engaged in the management of the enterprise (either day-to-day managerial control or through policy formulation);
  • Investment through a Designated Regional Center allows for entrepreneur's "passive" management.

Under a pilot immigration program, certain EB-5 visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

Under the EB-5 category, entrepreneur's ("principal") spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age ("derivatives") may obtain the same status as the entrepreneur.

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