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EB-5 Investment Visa Program

Congress created the EB-5 immigrant investor visa category in the Immigration Act of 1990 in the hopes of attracting foreign capital to the US and creating jobs for American workers in the process.

There are three basic requirements for an EB-5 visa:

              1. The alien must establish a business or invest in an existing business that was created or restructured after November 19, 1990.

              2. The alien must have invested $1 million (only $500,000 when investing in a USCIS    designated regional center) in the business.

              3. The business must create full-time employment for at least 10 US workers.

EB-5 Investment Requirement

The EB-5 visa investment can be in the form of cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien provided that he or she is personally and primarily liable and the assets of the new commercial enterprise are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. The definition specifically excludes capital acquired by unlawful means.

The basic EB5 Visa investment amount is $1 million. The required investment is $500,000 for a business established in a "Targeted Employment Area (TEA)."

Targeted Employment Areas include:

   1. Rural areas, defined as any area other than one within a metropolitan statistical area or within the boundary of a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more; and

   2. Areas having an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national average.

   3. Each state notifies the US Citizenship and Immigration Services of the qualifying areas within the state. The current regulations set the required investment for a targeted employment area at $500,000.

   4. Aliens can invest the required amount alone, create the qualifying business with another immigrant investor, or even create the business with US citizens or other people not seeking classification as an immigrant investor. In such cases, each person seeking classification as an immigrant investor must have invested the required amount, but each person can use the same employees to reach the required 10 new positions.

EB-5 Visa Job Creation Requirement

The EB-5 Visa investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for US citizens, lawful permanent residents or other immigrants lawfully authorized to be employed in the United States. Full-time employees are defined to include workers working at least thirty-five hours per week. This includes conditional residents, temporary residents, asylees, refugees, and recipients of suspension of deportation, but does not include nonimmigrants. In calculating the required number of employment positions, the investor may not include spouses or children, but may include other family members who are employed by the business.

The 10 positions must be full time. This means employment of a qualified employee in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week. Although two employees may share a full-time position, part-time employment is specifically excluded. Therefore, a combination of two or more part-time positions will not qualify, even if they collectively meet the 35-hour per week requirement.

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