LEARN FROM A BOARD CERTIFIED SPECIALIST HOW TO OBTAIN A GREEN CARD WITH AN EB-5 VISA, OR HOW A U.S. BUSINESS CAN RAISE EB-5 CAPITAL.
Investment Immigration today is more popular than it has ever been over the last several years. Administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS, the Immigrant Investor Program and the EB-5 Visa were created by the U.S. Congress in 1990 in order to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. The visa category was originally labeled under the title of “Employment Creation” by the Immigration Act of 1990, or IMMACT90. The EB-5 program also allowed the Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”) to lower the minimum investment from $1 million to $500,000 in targeted areas such as a rural area (where less than 20,000 people reside outside of an MSA as defined by the U.S. Census) or an area which has experienced high unemployment (of at least 150 percent of the national average rate). These targeted areas are known as Targeted Employment Areas or TEA’s. Today, due to changes in the regulations, the authroized minimum investment amount is $900,000 in TEA designated areas, and $1.8 million in other areas.
Not satisfied with the prospects of the program, the U.S. Congress created a pilot program in order to allow for the establishment of private enterprises known as “regional centers.” Based on the revised U.S. law, Regional Centers would be allowed to promote economic growth and job creation in specific geographic and industrial areas. Uniquely, the Regional Center Program provided that private enterprises could count the required job creation based on indirect and induced effects in the economy. This opened the door for reasonable economic studies to be created to scientifically prove what economic impact a business could have.
Initially called the Regional Center Pilot Program, Congress has continued to reauthorize the program. Since Congress has always renewed the EB-5 Regional Center Program, in 2012 Congress even changed the name of the “pilot” program to the Regional Center Program, removing the word “pilot” from its title. The EB-5 Regional Center Program also created a set-aside of 3,000 visas for EB-5 investments made in Regional Centers designated by USCIS. The belief was that the U.S. Congress wanted to encourage investors to invest in regional centers in the event the “basic” Direct EB-5 part of the program was overused. In essence, in the 20 years since the regional center program was created, it has undergone many administrative policy changes, making it more amenable to investors.
While the EB-5 program has evolved over time, its core mission has not changed. The EB-5 visa can benefit business developers who are in search of capital for their projects, as well as the individual investors who can seek a green card based on a $900,000 to $1.8 million investment. (The investment amount was once $500,000 to $1 million, but as we announced, the minimum investment amount was increased to $900,000 and $1.8 million for petitions filed on or after November 21, 2019.) The EB-5 Visa program for developers and businesses allows them to pool foreign investment capital contributions for use in commercial projects. Individual investors also have options, depending on whether they would prefer to be directly involved in their own commercial enterprise and oversee the necessary job creation on a daily basis, or whether the investor prefers to place his capital at risk with a USCIS-designated Regional Center project.
At our law firm, we have unique experience because we have represented both large commercial businesses seeking foreign capital and individual investors applying for EB-5 visas. With over a decade of experience in the complex business and economic structuring needed to qualify a U.S. business for the EB-5 program—as well as for individual investors in the documentation of their lawful source of funds—our team and managing partner, Michael A. Harris, has the experience to bring your plans to success. Mr. Harris has served as counsel for complex EB-5 commercial real estate and industrial development projects seeking to raise hundreds of millions of dollars. He has also been a member of the Invest In the USA (IIUSA), which is a national trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program. Please read through our site for additional information about the EB-5 program, or contact our team for an initial review of your EB-5 plans.