What is an EB-5 Visa?

Leonardo Von Navorski

An EB-5 visa is a path to obtaining a US green card, which grants him or her permanent resident status in the US. It was introduced as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, signed into law by President George H.W. Bush. The EB-5 visa allows a non-US resident to acquire the green card by investing capital in specific areas of the US economy. A minimum investment is required, and it must create a certain number of jobs.

An EB-5 visa requires a minimum investment and must create a minimum number of jobs.
An EB-5 visa requires a minimum investment and must create a minimum number of jobs.

Many jurisdictions have regions in which such investments may take place, concentrated in areas that could most benefit from an economic injection, particularly those struggling with long-term high unemployment rates. One can make an investment elsewhere, however, as long as the investment qualifies on other grounds. According to the original law, the investment must occur in the countryside or in a place where the unemployment rate has been more than one and a half times the national average.

An EB-5 visa is a path to obtaining a US green card, which grants him or her permanent resident status in the US.
An EB-5 visa is a path to obtaining a US green card, which grants him or her permanent resident status in the US.

One does not necessarily have to invest in a qualifying area. The investment can be anywhere in the US if the investor is willing to invest more than the minimum amount. Jobs created by the investment cannot be held by the investor, relatives, or people not legally qualified to work.

The EB-5 visa may also be used for investment in a business defined as troubled. The qualified business must have been established for two years or more before the investment. A business is deemed troubled if its net loss over the preceding 12 to 24 months is greater than a set percentage of its value before it began to struggle.

When qualifying for the EB-5 visa by investing in a troubled business, it is not necessary to create a certain number of jobs; instead, the business must hold its pre-investment employee number for at least two years after the investment. One must also be actively involved in the day-to-day operations, management, or oversight of the business. For example, the investor could be a board member or corporate officer.

To get started, an investor should contact USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services). The investor should request the proper forms and fill them out completely. The forms are then filed with the USCIS, along with required documents.

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