The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is the best route for investors and high net worth individuals to obtain U.S. green cards. By investing in a business in the U.S., foreign nationals’ funds help boost the American economy and create thousands of jobs for U.S. citizens. The program options are either to invest US$500,000 in a Regional Center, or to invest US$1 million in a new business development located in non-rural and non-targeted employment areas. The new business must create 10 direct jobs for U.S. citizens and the investor must be involved in the direct management and development of the business. As this is the more difficult option, fewer people choose to go this route.
If the investment is in a Regional Center, however, the investment drops to US$500,000, the creation of 10 jobs can be through both direct and indirect means, and the investor has no responsibility to oversee the running of the enterprise. Over 80% of applicants elect this option when applying through the EB-5 Program.
In order to apply, the foreign national must put the entire US$500,000 or US$1 million investment into the chosen Regional Center or new business development. The funds invested must all be legitimately obtained and come from lawful sources. Once the funds are deposited, the application is processed and successful applicants receive green cards as conditional lawful residents of the U.S. Three months prior to the two-year anniversary of having received the conditional green card, the applicant must apply for the removal of conditions in order to become a permanent resident of the United States.
What is a Regional Center?
A designated Regional Center is an enterprise that has been pre-approved by USCIS to accept investments of US$500,000 for the EB-5 Program. Regional Centers are either in rural areas or in targeted employment areas (TEAs) defined as an area experiencing 150% of the national unemployment rate. Investors choosing to invest in Regional Centers do not have to prove that the enterprise is in a TEA or rural area as this step has already been done by the people who created the Regional Center. All the interested investor is required to do is invest the US$500,000 in the selected Regional Center. There are many approved Regional Centers across the U.S., however, investors should be careful and do their research before committing to an investment. Some of the Regional Centers have been caught in acts of fraud and were only started to lure investors’ funds. Interested candidates should look for Regional Centers with close to perfect (100%) approval rates for EB-5 green cards. An applicant who has invested in a legitimate operating Regional Center should only be refused due to the investor’s source of funds, and not the viability of the actual Regional Center.
There are many advantages to obtaining a green card through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program by investing in a Regional Center. First, it is half the cost of starting a new enterprise (US$500,000 vs US$1 million). The fast processing time (of approximately 6-8 months) allows investors to obtain green cards allowing them to live, work, and study anywhere in U.S. In addition, an applicant’s spouse and dependent children under 21 years of age can all obtain green cards with the same US$500,000 investment. In other words, an investor who is married with four children under 21 years of age, would be entitled to green cards for all 6 members of the family for the same investment price as a single applicant. Although applicants do not expect to receive a return on their investments when applying through the EB-5 Program, some of the legitimate Regional Centers actually do offer a return on investments.
The downside of the EB-5 program through Regional Center investment is that the US$500,000 is a risk like any other investment. There is no return on investment guaranteed, nor is a return of the principle US$500,000 guaranteed. If the Regional Center invested in goes bankrupt and ceases operations prior to the removal of conditions on an investor’s green card, for instance, the investor and immediate family runs the risk of having their conditional residencies removed. This is why performing due diligence on several different Regional Centers before making a final decision to invest is essential.
Interested in moving to the U.S.? Our firm will help you find a legitimate Regional Center to maximize your probability of success through the EB-5 program. We will guide you every step of the application process, straight through to obtaining your unconditional permanent residence. Contact us today.
For more information on the U.S. EB-5 program, please click here.
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