The EB-5 Program
Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program, which sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
USCIS administers the EB-5 Program. Under this program, investors (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a Green Card (permanent residence) if they:
Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
The necessary investment is currently $1,800,000. In some circumstances, an investor can qualify to make a reduced investment of $900,000 (instead of $1,800,000) if the investment is located in an economically depressed area called a “targeted employment area.” It is worth mentioning that the investment funds must have been obtained lawfully, the investment must be “at-risk” (meaning that it is subject to gain or loss,) and the investor must engage in the management of the business.
Regional centers are business organizations designated by USCIS that sponsor various EB-5 projects. Many of the EB-5 projects sponsored by regional centers are major real estate developments such as hotels and condominium complexes. By investing in a regional center, the investor becomes a partial owner of the project he or she decides to invest in. So, by investing in a regional center, the investor could very possibly be investing in real estate, depending on the chosen project.
One of the benefits of investing in a regional center is that the administrators of the regional center project will be in charge of complying with the EB-5 visa requirements and the role of the investor is very limited and mainly involves making the minimum investment amount. Also, as the real estate remains as a tangible investment, the investor can physically inspect it, obtain background checks of the developers, sellers, and brokers, obtain an appraisal of the property, etc.
Let us know if you have further questions.