The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as "EB-5," was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by immigrant investors. The immigrant investors must create a new commercial enterprise or invest in a troubled business. There are 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas available annually. In 1992, and regularly reauthorized since then, 3,000 EB-5 visas are also set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
The program requires that the immigrant make a capital investment of either $500,000 or $1 million (depending on whether the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area [TEA] or not) in a new commercial enterprise located within the U.S. TEA is defined by law as "a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average."
The new commercial enterprise must create or preserve 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two year period) of the immigrant investor's admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
A Regional Center is a commercial entity that has been approved by the USCIS to invest foreign capital into the United States for the purpose of creating economic growth through job creation. Regional Center status allows individuals to invest in qualifying investments sponsored by the Regional Center with the minimum investment amount allowed, which is $500,000 USD in Targeted Employment Areas. Regional Centers assist investors by identifying the projects, assessing quality investments, and ensuring projects meet the EB-5 job creation requirement of creating 10 jobs per investment.
Why use the EB-5 program to obtain U.S. citizenship?
The investor can apply for a U.S. green card through the EB-5 program which gives the investor similar rights as a U.S. citizen. There is no waiting list for obtaining an EB-5 green card, and no sponsor is needed for the EB-5 program. The benefits are numerous, and the following are just a few:
- Faster way to obtain a U.S. green card and U.S. citizenship
- Green card gives you rights similar to U.S. citizenship
- Green card allows you to travel to and from your homeland
- You're free to work and live anywhere in the U.S.
- No waiting list
- It's possible to become a citizen after five years
- No sponsor is needed
- When investing through a Regional Center, you are freed from the day-to-day management of the investment