The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services recently announced that the federal EB-5 green card program will be extended for another three years. USCIS limits the number of visas for the program to 10,000 each year, and the program is rapidly gaining popularity.
The EB-5 program for immigrant investors allows foreign nationals to obtain a U.S. green card if they invest in a new commercial enterprise that creates 10 jobs in the United States. It presents a great opportunity for qualified immigrants to live in the United States while making a large, much-needed contribution to the economy. The investor, spouse and minor children are granted two-year permanent residency as well, which is contingent on meeting EB-5 business regulations.
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise:
- Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
- Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:
1. Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or
2. Expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs
According to the USCIS website, a commercial enterprise can be any for-profit business, including a partnership, holding company, sole proprietorship, joint venture, corporation or other business. An investor may choose to fund a smaller project on their own, or join other investors in funding a larger business venture.
The Capital Investment Requirements vary based on the location of the proposed business. For rural areas or those with a high unemployment rate – at 150 percent more than the United States average - the minimum investment required is $500,000. For urban areas, the minimum required investment jumps to $1 million.
The federal EB-5 program will remain in effect through September 30, 2015.