How Can I Immigrate to the United States through an EB-5 Investment Visa?
Many people believe that the only way to get access to residency in the United States is by getting a “green card”, but that is not so. For example, there is a program that gives foreign investors the possibility to obtain a residence permit when investing in the United States.
The objective of this policy is to attract investments that benefit the economy by creating new jobs and injections of capital. While an immigration attorney should be able to properly explain the overall requirements when seeking an EB-5 investment visa, this article provides an overview of this highly sought and attractive program.
One requirement of the EB-5 investment visa program is that the business must be for-profit. It may be one of a variety of types, like a partnership, a holding company, a joint venture, a corporation, a business trust, or other public or privately- owned entity. Non-commercial ventures are not covered. The company can be completely new or a reorganization of an existing company; in which case, there must be a 40% increment in the net worth of the company or the number of employees.
Another requirement is the creation of 10 full-time jobs, for at least two years, for US citizens or foreigners legally authorized to work in the United States. In the case of investing in a troubled company (which is defined by a loss of 20% of net worth in a given period), it is allowed to have preserved jobs count as if they were new jobs.
The minimum contribution of capital required is one million dollars in cash, inventory, equipment and other tangible property, or indebtedness personally secured by assets of the foreign investor. There is, however, a possibility to apply with lower requirements; and an immigration attorney would be able to advise you of your options.
Out of the thousands of EB-5 visas that are granted each year, a number of them are reserved for “targeted employment areas.” These are rural areas or areas with an unemployment rate well above the national average. In these cases, the required minimum investment of $1,000,000 is reduced to $500,000. In the State of Florida, for example, there are currently about 30 targeted employment areas.
Many EB-5 investors are able to invest the reduced amount of $500,000 by using designated EB-5 regional centers.
Several investors can pool their investments to apply for an EB-5 visa. In that case, each investor should provide the minimum investment which applies, but the number of new jobs is distributed among the partners. However, the USCIS requires that each investor identifies and proves the legal origin of their funds.
Another obstacle is the requirement to demonstrate that the investment meets the requirement of “benefiting the economy of the United States.” Just the employment of U.S. citizens may not be enough, and it may be that the company might be required to provide goods or services to the US market. In addition, there are federal restrictions on foreign investment in some areas.
Something else to consider is that United States residents (just like US citizens) are taxed on the income they generate worldwide. This can be mitigated or even eliminated when it comes to countries with tax treaties with the United States, but it is a factor that should be analyzed on a case by case basis, to assess their suitability, with a tax attorney.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Nico Apfelbaum
Nico Apfelbaum, Esq. is the managing attorney of Apfelbaum Law, a Florida law firm serving Port St. Lucie, Stuart, the Treasure Coast and assisting clients with matters throughout Florida. Apfelbaum Law provides a wide variety of legal services, including, family law, divorces, business and contract transactions and litigation, immigration, wills and estate planning, probate law, and real estate law. The attorneys of Apfelbaum Law will answer your questions, explain your options, and provide you with the tools and resources you need to make an informed decision.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.