EB-5 Green Card
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Pilot Program Extended to September 2015
WASHINGTON —U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program has been extended through September 30, 2012 As a result of the extension of the Pilot Program, USCIS will continue to receive, process, and adjudicate all Regional Center Proposals and Forms I-526, Immigrant Petitions by Alien Entrepreneur, and Forms I-485, Applications to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, affiliated with Regional Centers relying on “indirect” job creation analysis.
History of the EB-5 Visa
In order to increase interest in the existing immigrant investor category, Congress created the immigrant investor pilot program in 1993. The most important feature of the law is that it relaxes the job creation requirement applicable to immigrant investors by allowing aliens investing in new commercial enterprises located within regional centers to establish “reasonable methodologies” for determining the number of jobs created, including such jobs which are estimated to have been created indirectly through revenues generated from increased exports resulting from the pilot program. As originally enacted in 1993, the program was to last five years expiring on September 30, 1998. Subsequent amendments extended the immigrant investor pilot program for an additional 10 years until September 30, 2009. The 1997 amendment increased the number of visas set aside for the program from 300 to 3,000 visas annually. These numbers are drawn from the overall total set aside for the EB-5 investor category. I.e., the 3,000 visas include visas for the spouses and unmarried minor children of qualified investor immigrants.
Greencard by Investment by Marc Reston
The EB-5 Investor Visa provides the most flexible path to a green card based on a US investment. The EB-5 investor visa does not require the applicant to manage the day-to-day affairs of a business.
There are three basic requirements for the EB-5 visa: First, the alien must establish a business or invest in an existing business that was created or restructured after November 19, 1990; second, the alien must have invested $1 million ($500,000 in some cases) in the business; third, the business must create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers.
There are three ways of meeting the requirement for a qualifying business: The creation of an original business; the purchase of an existing business with simultaneous restructuring or reorganization such that a new commercial organization results; or the expansion of an existing business created after November 1990 through the investment of the required amount and the creation of 10 new jobs.
Any for-profit entity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business may serve as a commercial enterprise, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, holding companies, joint ventures, corporations or business trusts. A holding company with its subsidiaries would also qualify if each subsidiary is engaged in the active conduct of business.
The investment can be in the form of cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien provided that he or she is personally and primarily liable and the assets of the new commercial enterprise are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. The definition specifically excludes capital acquired by unlawful means.
The basic investment amount is $1 million. The required investment is $500,000 for a business established in a “targeted employment area.” Targeted employment areas include: Rural areas, defined as any area other than one within a metropolitan statistical area or within the boundary of a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more; and areas having an unemployment rate that is at least 150 percent of the national average.
For a pilot program investment, the threshold is a $500,000 capital contribution to a USCIS-designated Regional Center, which allocates portions of the capital in the form of business loans to small business within the targeted area. Of the 10,000 investor visas EB-5 visas available annually, 5,000 are set aside for those who apply under the Regional Center pilot program
Certain Form I-526 Petitions and Form I-485 Applications Affected