n 1990, the United States Congress established the fifth employment-based (EB-5) preference category for immigrants seeking to enter the United States by enacting the Immigration and Nationality Act. The law is intended to benefit the U.S. economy by generating new economic activity and increasing employment in targeted areas.
Section 203(b)(5) of the legislation makes foreign nationals eligible for permanent residency by engaging in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the American economy and directly create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and other immigrants lawfully authorized to be employed in the United States. The minimum qualifying investment amount is $500,000 for commercial enterprises located within a rural area (or a targeted employment area), and is otherwise $1,000,000.
In the simplest terms, this means that as a foreign investor you have the choice to invest either $500,000USD or $1,000,000USD into the development of a business or project here in the United States and that as a result of your investment this business will create at least 10 jobs in the local economy. You will also now become a “limited partner” in this new business and will share in the profits of this company based on an agreed upon percentage of ownership. These investment funds must be invested into the operations of the business and the funds must be “at risk” with no form of guarantee. This is not a passive investment (such as purchasing shares of stock) however you are also not required to have day to day operations of the business either.
Congress allocates 10,000 immigrant visas annually for this employment-based preference, the EB-5 category. At least 3,000 of these visas are set aside each year for those who utilize a designated Regional Center or TEA status.
The EB-5 program does not discriminate against education, experience or does not require a sponsor. There is no requirement to speak English and the EB-5 category also allows the family (including any children under 21 years old) to be part of the process. As an EB-5 Investor you are also free to reside anywhere in the United States that you choose.