The EB5 visa program is a United States government initiative that allows people from other countries to obtain permanent residence. With an EB5 green card, you and your immediate family can relocate to the U.S. and enjoy the same rights and privileges other permanent residents enjoy. Here are the EB5 visa requirements to fulfill to increase your chances of obtaining permanent residency:
The EB5 program requires foreigners to invest at least $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area, TEA, and $1.05 Million in a standard area, non-TEA. To be regarded as a TEA, an area must either be rural or have a high-unemployment rate. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services organization, USCIS, considers an area rural if it’s outside a metropolitan statistical area. Another qualification for an area to be considered rural is that it is not within a town or city with a population of 20,000 or more individuals.
Any area with a weighted unemployment average of at least 150% of the national unemployment rate can also be considered a TEA. Refer to the most recent census statistics to determine if the area you want to invest in qualifies as a rural or high-unemployment area. You can work with a regional center to gain insight into the region you’re considering. Regional centers can handle all the research and suggest investment opportunities in TEAs and non-TEAs based on your financial capabilities.
Source of Funds
The USCIS assesses where an EB5 investor’s money comes from to prevent money laundering and security threats. You should show your money’s source through complete and valid documentation to be considered for an EB5 green card. Potential ways to legally fund your EB5 investment include:
Earnings from Employment
Be ready to provide several years of past tax returns to show your salary. You may also need a letter from your employer detailing your salary and employment duties. This can help the USCIS verify you’ve obtained your money legally.
If you’ve been gifted your investment funds, you should attach a signed declaration letter from the person who gave you the money. The declaration should contain a statement showing that the gifting party will not require you to pay back the money. You should also provide documentation for the gifting party’s source of funds.
If your investment funds come from a loved one who has passed on, be prepared to provide documents that serve as evidence of the legal inheritance. These documents include the deceased party’s will, bank statements, and probate court documents. If you can’t find these documents, get signed declarations from individuals who know about your inheritance. Examples of these individuals can include your probate attorney and family members.
An EB5 investor is required to invest their capital in a new commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. A full-time job requires employees to work at least 35 hours per week. The commercial enterprise must have been formed after November 29, 1990. Enterprises established on or before November 29, 1990, can qualify under these conditions:
- If a new investment has resulted in at least a 40% increase in the enterprise’s employees or value.
- If the enterprise is reorganized or restructured to form a new commercial enterprise.
A new commercial enterprise is any for-profit business engaging in lawful activities. It can be a partnership, corporation, joint venture, sole proprietorship, limited liability company, or business trust. Take the time to determine whether your chosen enterprise meets the USCIS’s requirements.
The job creation requirement can differ if you invest with a regional center. Unlike direct investments, indirect investments through regional centers can take credit for direct and indirect jobs. A new commercial enterprise established within a regional center can take credit for up to 9 full-time indirect jobs. An indirect job does not result in an employer-employee relationship between the new commercial enterprise and the employee. If you invest in a real estate project through a regional center, the jobs created by the contracting businesses you work with can also contribute towards your job creation requirement.
Apply for an EB5 Green Card
Obtaining an EB5 green card provides an opportunity for individuals to gain permanent residency in the U.S. This green card allows you and your immediate family to live, work, and study in the U.S. Work with a regional center to help you meet the capital investment and job creation requirements and increase your chances of getting a green card.