The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
The federal EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created by Congress in 1990 by the Immigration Act of 1990 which provides a method for eligible Immigrant Investors to become lawful permanent residents—informally known as “green card” holders—by investing at least $500,000 or $900,000 after November 21, 2019, to finance a business in the United States that will employ at least 10 American workers.
Most immigrant investors who use the EB-5 program invest in a targeted employment area (TEA)—a rural area or area with high unemployment—which lowers the investment threshold. On November 21, 2019 the threshold changed via federal register. The minimum threshold is $900,000 but due to the decreased investment, discussions on the Hill are taking place to lowering it to align with the purpose of the program which is to foreign investments and economic growth. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is one of five employment-based (EB) preference programs in the United States.
Applicants have the choice of investing individually or they can choose to work through a larger investor pool via regional centers (RC),which are federally approved third-party intermediaries that connect foreign investors with developers in need of funding and take a commission. Regional centers are usually private, for-profit businesses that are approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
By May 1, 2017, there were 883 USCIS-approved regional centers and by 2014 most of EB-5 visas were granted through regional centers due to the procedural and substantive advantageous regional centers are afforded. By 2015, the EB-5 program had become an important source of capital for developers and for the regional centers. If an EB-5 investment is made in a regional center, the jobs may be created indirectly through economic activity, as opposed to a direct investment, where the investment vehicle must directly employ the 10 U.S. workers.
Most investors—about 80 percent—come from four countries: China, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Others have come from Canada, India, Mexico, Iran, and Japan. In 2014, 85% of the 10,692 EB-5 visas issued were for Chinese nationals. On May 5, 2017, President Trump approved a renewal of the EB-5 Visa program as part of the first major piece of legislation of his administration, Bill H.R.244, which extended the spending bill—and Immigrant Investor Visa Program—through September 30, 2020 and will be extended again upon approved legislation.
If the foreign national investor’s petition is approved, the investor and their dependents are granted conditional permanent residence for an initial period of two years. Within the 90-day period before the conditional permanent expires, the investor must submit evidence documenting that the full required investment has been made and that 10 jobs have been maintained, or 10 jobs have been created or will be created within a reasonable time period.
CrossRoads of America, EB-5 Regional Center oversees compliance to protect the investors and ensure that they obtain permanent resident status.
CrossRoads of America, EB-5 Regional Center works in conjunction with a local immigration law firm in Indianapolis, the only law firm that has experience in EB-5 regional center transactions.
The firm is led by attorney Marco A. Moreno, a prominent and seasoned immigration lawyer who’s been nominated as one of the Top 10 Best Immigration Lawyers in America.