The EB-5 program was created by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in 1990 to provide qualified foreign individuals with an opportunity to achieve permanent United States resident status on the basis of their engagement in a new commercial enterprise. 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas are available each year for eligible individuals. The basic guidelines of the program require that a minimum investment of $500,000 to $1,000,000 be placed in a domestic enterprise that will create or retain a minimum of 10 jobs. In exchange for this qualified investment, the immigrant investor receives an EB-5 visa providing permanent resident status for the investor, his/her spouse and any unmarried children up to the age of 21.
The following description of the EB-5 Program has been taken from material that is available to the public on the official USCIS website (http://www.uscis.gov). Potential EB-5 investors are encouraged to review the material available from the USCIS web site, as it may contain more up to date information than the summary below.
Under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 11 53(b)(5), 10,000 immigrant visas per year are available to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status in the United States on the basis of their engagement in a new commercial enterprise. Of the 10,000 EB-5 visas available annually, 3,000 are set aside for those who apply under a pilot program involving a USCIS Designated Regional Center.
According to USCIS, a Regional Center:
- Is an entity, organization or agency that has been approved as such by the USCIS;
- Focuses on a specific geographic area within the United States; and
- Seeks to promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, creation of new jobs, and increased domestic capital investment.
In order to qualify under the EB-5 Program, petitioners must:
- Demonstrate that a “qualified investment” (see below) is being made in a new commercial enterprise located within an approved Regional Center; and,
- Show, using reasonable methodologies, that 10 or more jobs are actually created either directly or indirectly by the new commercial enterprise through revenues generated from increased exports, improved regional productivity, job creation, or increased domestic capital investment resulting from the pilot program.