EB-5 IMMIGRANT INVESTOR PROGRAM
USCIS administers the EB-5 Program. Under this program, immigrant investors with their spouses and unmarried children under 21 are eligible to apply for a green card.
In 1990 the United State Congress created the EB-5 Program to stimulate the American economy by attracting foreign investment dollars that resulted in job creation. The intent of the legislation is to provide permanent immigrant status to those individuals willing to invest a minimum of $1,000,000 – or $500,000 if the project is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). For the lower investment amount of $500,000, the project must be located in a rural area (consisting of a population of less than 20,000 people) or experience a high employment rate (defined as 150 percent of the national average rate). The law mandates that each immigrant investor invest the amount required and create a minimum of 10 full time jobs for American workers. It is pertinent to document that amount invested comes from lawful sources to qualify for a green card.
In 1992 the EB-5 Regional Center concept was passed into law. The EB-5 Regional Center is a pilot program that has been renewed multiple times, most recently through September 30, 2016, and which provides many additional benefits to immigrant investors. Under the Regional Center Program, the immigrant investors can take advantage of (I) making a passive investment, (II) living anywhere in the United States, (III) pooling of funds with other investors similarly situated, (IV) counting direct and indirect jobs, and (V) accessing the education system in the United States. The Program provides immigrant investors with flexibility to invest in various projects to achieve their U.S. permanent legal residency status. One investment in a EB-5 regional center project permits the immigrant investors with their spouses and children under 21 to obtain a green card.
Recently, there has been much debate on how to improve the EB-5 Regional Center Program. The legislation is up for renewal again this September and the future of the program looks promising, although a number of changes are expected, such as an upward adjustment in many of the fees charged by the USCIS and an increase in the investment amounts above the current thresholds. The EB-5 Regional Center Program has brought billions of dollars into the U.S. economy and created thousands of jobs for Americans all over the country.