The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services manages the EB-5 Visa program, also known as the investor visa program. Gregory Finkelson is an expert in the sometimes-complicated EB-5 process and published informational books and articles on the subject.
Businesses looking for foreign investors may find the EB-5 program beneficial but need assistance navigating the opportunities available. Experts like Gregory Finkelson can help with this, but it’s still important to go into the process with a firm understanding of EB-5 basics.
The EB-5 program has existed for over 30 years, but time has streamlined the process.
Congress started the program in 1990 as a way to boost the U.S. economy via foreign investment. The idea was to create and retain domestic jobs with outside capital. By 1992, the program expanded to include visas for individuals investing in commercial enterprises in select regions nationwide. Regions identified needed approval from USCIS for qualifying economic development projects.
Under the EB-5 option, investors in an enterprise are eligible to apply for a green card for permanent residence and the opportunity extends to their spouses plus any single children under the age of 21.
Requirements include making a necessary investment in a domestic, commercial enterprise and creating or retaining ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers. These jobs need to be permanent, not temporary or contract roles.
The EB-5 program is constantly evolving, with new changes implemented as recently as March 2022 when President Joe Biden signed the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act. The act created new requirements for the program and implemented changes to the Regional Center Program after September 2027, making mastering the program an evolving task.
For investors, capital investment requirements are adjusted periodically. After March 15, 2022, the basic minimum investment required climbed to $1,050,000, but in a targeted employment area, such as an impoverished, rural area or area with a high unemployment rate, the amount can drop to $800,000.
The second central requirement of the program is job creation within the enterprise.
Ten new full-time jobs for qualified employees need to be created to satisfy the visa requirements. For investors buying into an existing enterprise, this means the “new enterprise” post-investment needs to add roles in order to meet the guidelines.
Inside a Regional Center, the creation of indirect or induced jobs can also contribute to the ten job total. For example, the company could create five new direct roles in the organization while five indirect or induced jobs are created within a contracting firm.
Exceptions are also made for when investors take a stake in a business facing financial difficulties and potential layoffs. In these instances, the program requirements are satisfied through job retention. As long as the number of employees is at or above the level at the time of investment for at least two years, the EB-5 requirements are met.
Within each set of standards, there are also additional definitions and scenarios for investors, making the insights of an expert like Gregory Finkelson invaluable during the investment planning process.