Fifth Preference – Employment Based Immigration
This visa is available to immigrants seeking to enter the United States if they plan on investing in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs.
There are two ways to invest:
- Through creating a new business enterprise.
- Through investing in a troubled business.
There are 10,000 investor visas available per year. One may invest $500,000 in a business enterprise only if such investment is within an approved rural or underserved area (Targeted Employment Area), as established by USCIS or one may invest $1,000,000 in a location of its choice and does not require a labor certificate issued by USICS. To avoid fraud, these commercial enterprises are carefully monitored for two years, while being under a probationary period. After these two-years, the conditional status is removed by way of application request.
New Business Enterprise must:
- Benefit the US economy by providing goods or services to U.S. markets.
- Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers. This includes U.S. citizens, Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents) and other individuals lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. (however it does not include you (the immigrant), or your spouse, sons or daughters).
- The applicant must be involved in the day-to-day management of new business or directly manage it through formulating business policy – for example as a corporate officer or board members.
The Targeted Employment Area (TEA) is defined as: “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.” For further detail refer to section 203(b)(5)(B) of the Immigration Nationality Act (INA).
A potential immigrant can qualify through a troubled business. Must meet the following criteria:
- Invest in a business that has existed for at least two years.
- Invest in a business that has incurred a net loss, based on generally accepted accounting principles, for the 12 to 24 month period before you filed the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by an Alien Entrepreneur.
- The loss for the 12 to 24 month period must be at least equal to 20 percent of the business’s net worth before the loss.
- Maintain the number of jobs at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years.
- Be involved in the day-to-day management of the troubled business or directly manage it through formulating business policy. For example as a corporate officer or board member.
- The same investment requirements of the new commercial enterprise investment apply to a troubled business investment ($1,000,000 or $500,000 in a targeted employment area).
Regional Center Pilot Program
To encourage immigration through investment, and boost the economy and concentrate investment in specific regions, Congress directed USCIS allotted 3,000 visas for people who invest in designated “Regional Centers.”
A potential immigrant can qualify under this venue by the following:
- Invest at least $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a regional center affiliated new commercial enterprise or a troubled business located within the area of the USCIS designated Regional Center. Regional Centers are defined and discussed further below.
- 2. Create at least 10 new full-time jobs either directly through the capital investment.
A Regional Center is defined as: any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. The organizers of a regional center seeking the regional center designation from USCIS must submit a proposal showing:
- 1. How the regional center plans to focus on a geographical region within the U.S., and must explain how the regional center will achieve the required economic growth within this regional area.
- That the regional center’s business plan can be relied upon as a viable business model grounded in reasonable and credible estimates and assumptions for market conditions, project costs, and activity timelines.
- How in verifiable detail (using economic models in some instances) jobs will be created directly or indirectly through capital investments made in accordance with the regional center’s business plan.
- The amount and source of capital committed to the project and the promotional efforts made and planned for the business project.
The EB-5 applicant and their derivative family members are granted conditional permanent residence for a two year period upon the approval of the I-485, or upon entry into the United States with an EB-5 immigrant visa.
File Form I-829 Petition by an Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions within 90 days prior to the two year period of business anniversary. If this petition is approved by CIS then the EB-5 applicant will be issued a new Green Card without any further conditions attached and will be able to work and live permanently in the United States