Helping Investors Understand Their Immigration Options
Whether you’re a business owner looking to expand internationally or an investor who is interested in getting involved in opportunities in the United States, it’s important to understand how immigration policies and procedures may affect your ability to conduct business in America. If you are planning on coming to the United States to live and work while you develop your business, you will generally need a visa. The EB-5 visa is an option specifically suited for investors as long as they meet specific criteria.
Investing can be risky, and it’s important to get a return on your investment to be able to continue growing your business. Make sure you understand the potential benefits of an EB-5 visa and the risks before moving forward. Badmus & Associates has experience helping investors understand if they qualify for an EB-5 visa, and our immigration attorneys can guide you through the process and answer your questions if you decide this is the right option for you.
What Is the EB-5 Visa?
The EB-5 visa is a fifth preference employment-based visa and is the lowest priority category for this type. It was first introduced in 1990 by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Immigrant Investor Program Office as a way to encourage foreign entrepreneurs and businesses to invest in the U.S. economy.
To be eligible for this visa, you must be investing in a U.S. business, and this business must create or maintain a minimum of 10 full-time positions to be filled by workers who are already in the United States. There are specific requirements for what kind of commercial enterprise investments are eligible for this visa, and it’s a complicated area of immigration law. If you are considering this option, it’s important to speak with an immigration attorney early on in the process to ensure you understand what’s required and who is eligible.
What Qualifies as a Targeted Employment Area?
The investment requirements for an EB-5 visa are substantial, but there is a way to make these more manageable. Investing in a targeted employment area within the United States can lower your investment by about half. A targeted employment area is defined as “an area, which, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area which has experienced unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.” In basic terms, a targeted employment area either has a high unemployment rate or is a rural area that could benefit from more job opportunities and development.
What Is the Minimum Investment Requirement for an EB-5 Visa?
The minimum investment for an EB-5 visa for petitions filed after November 21, 2019, is $1.8 million. This drops to $900,000 for investments in targeted employment areas. For petitions prior to that date, the minimum investment was only $1 million or just $500,000 for targeted employment areas. It’s unclear if these minimum investment amounts will be increased again, but it is a possibility.
Keep in mind that this capital investment doesn’t have to be all in cash. Capital investments can also include equipment, property, secured debts, and inventory in addition to liquid financial accounts. Any noncash portion of the investment is valued at fair market value, which is subject to change.
Does the Investment Need to Create a Certain Number of Jobs?
The goal of the EB-5 visa is to encourage investors to come to the United States to grow the economy and create jobs, so job creation is generally a requirement for this visa. If the commercial enterprise you are investing in is outside of a regional center, the investment must create at least 10 full-time positions for U.S. workers. If it is in a regional center, the jobs can be either direct employment with the capital enterprise or indirect jobs that are created because of the enterprise doing business in the area.
Can My Family Come With Me on an EB-5 Visa?
Investing in a business in another country is a big commitment, and it’s normal to want to bring your family with you as you settle into your new life. Investors who are filing for an EB-5 visa may include their spouse and any children under the age of 21 who aren’t married on their application. If the visa is approved, the spouse and children will also receive Green Cards.
How Long Does It Take to Process an EB-5 Visa?
The EB-5 visa is the lowest priority for the employment-based visa category, and this means that it can take a long time from when you apply for this visa to actually being accepted and above to move forward. It’s not unusual for processing times for the EB-5 visa to be upwards of 4 years, and this is important to know for planning purposes. An immigration attorney should be able to give you a general timeline of how the processing times are when you go to apply.
Are There Residency Requirements for an EB-5 Visa?
Where the best investment opportunities are may not be where you want to live, and the United States has a variety of climates and environments to choose from. The EB-5 visa does not require you to live in the same area or even the same state as your investment, which means that you are free to live wherever you choose within the country.
Get started with your EB-5 visa by calling Badmus & Associates at 214-393-4917 to schedule your first appointment. We’ll talk with you about the specifics of your situation and your investment goals and walk you through the process of applying for an EB-5 visa.