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EB-5: Immigration Through Investments

In 1990, the U.S. government promulgated a regulation that permits foreign investors to petition for their residency, or “green card,” by making an investment of $1 million (or $500,000 in a high unemployment or rural areas) and creating 10 jobs in the United States.

It is estimated that more than $1 billion (based on $500,000 per alien investor) has been invested into the U.S. economy through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program since Oct. 1, 2006.

In is estimated that approximately 20,000 jobs have been created for U.S. workers through foreign investment via the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

The investment must be made into a commercial enterprise, and while the investor must be involved in the enterprise, he or she can choose whether or not to be involved in the day-to-day management of the business. The investor may invest in his or her own enterprise, or in a regional center (a commercial enterprise that is owned by other parties).

Regardless of which choice the investor makes, the commercial enterprise must create 10 full-time positions in the United States, whether directly or indirectly. In most of the regional centers, the minimum investment is $500,000 as the regional centers are typically located in high unemployment areas in the United States.

The investment must be made by establishing a new commercial enterprise in the United States. This is done in one of three ways:

  1. Establishing a brand new business;
  2. Purchasing an existing business that was established or restructured after November of 1990; or,
  3. Expanding an existing business.

The U.S. government allows foreigners who are investing in a “troubled business” (which is defined as one that has substantial losses) to use some of the jobs that have already been created. Therefore, the investor may not have to create an additional 10 jobs.

Note that the investment does not need be made all at once, or the job creation be immediate after the investment. The regulations allow flexibility for the foreign investor.

Finally, the investment may be made through liquid funds or through assets, including inventory, equipment, and tangible property.


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