EB – 5

The Immigration Act of 1990 (“IMMACT 90”) created the Immigrant Investor Program as the fifth preference category for employment-based immigration, also known as EB-5. This was the first time a category specifically facilitated the admission of immigrant investors as lawful permanent residents and currently remains the only such category to do so. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is available to those immigrants who have invested, or are in the process of investing, at least $1 million in a new commercial enterprise employing at least 10 full-time U.S. workers. Individuals who invest in a “targeted employment area” (TEA), however, are only required to invest a minimum of $500,000.In addition, immigrant investors can invest $500,000 in a qualified and approved Regional Center.In direct investments & investments through a Regional Center, the investor must show that they created at least 10 direct or indirect jobs within two years of an approved I-526 application.

The purpose of the EB-5 program is to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by offering immigrant investors the benefits of permanent residency in the United States.

The purpose of the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program is to attract more foreign investors to fund businesses and projects in specific “regional centers” that would otherwise find it difficult to attract domestic investment based on current geographical market trends. By bringing such investment into areas of economic hardship and high unemployment, Congress hopes to stimulate job expansion, improve regional productivity, invest in infrastructure, and promote the growth of innovative new businesses. Congress has made the Immigrant Investor Pilot program particularly attractive to foreign investors by lowering the investment minimum to $500,000 (for a business in a designated regional center or TEA) as opposed to $1,000,000, and by allowing a less restrictive job creation requirement based upon the creation of “indirect” and “direct” jobs and not requiring the day to day management of the business.

Funds Requirement

  • Generally speaking, the minimum investment required to qualify for EB-5 status is $1,000,000 per immigrant investor. However, the limit is reduced to $500,000 in cases of investment in “targeted employment areas.” Such qualifying areas must have an unemployment rate 150% of the national average. A rural area refers to a municipal area with a population less than 20,000.
  • Cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents, and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the investor are all acceptable investments for EB-5 purposes.