The EB 5 Visa is a popular route to acquire permanent US residency, also known as a Green Card.
While the process is far more straightforward with support from the immigration experts at Astons, we appreciate that the requirements of a US visa can be reasonably complex.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) assesses each application, and you must understand the eligibility before making any investment decisions.
Today, Astons runs through the essential EB 5 Visa requirements to help you decide on the right pathway to secure your US residency card.
General EB 5 Visa Requirements
EB 5 Visas offer investors an opportunity to make a capital contribution to benefit the US economy in exchange for permanent residency rights.
There are strict rules about every aspect of the investment, including the source of funds used and the jobs created.
Once verified, investors can move to the US as lawful residents, along with their spouses and children under 21.
EB5 Minimum Investment Values
There are two different investment tiers, depending on whether you are investing within a Targeted Employment area or not.
Standard EB5 minimum investment values are $1 million, which can be made in a range of enterprises and company types.
Lower EB5 Investment Amount Options
If you invest inside a Targeted Employment Area, your EB5 investment threshold drops significantly to $500,000.
The previous caps were $900,000 and $1.8 million, respectively, and the minimum contribution value is revised every five years, so it is subject to change.
EB5 TEA Rules – Investment Visa Requirements
Target Employment Areas (TEAs) are either enterprises in rural regions or high-unemployment sectors.
For example, the USCIS might define a company within a TEA if the unemployment levels are at 150% or more against the national unemployment rate.
Rural TEAs must be located outside of a metropolitan area, with a population of fewer than 20,000 people, as recorded in the 2020 census.
Any company that receives investment – a job-creating entity – must continue to conduct its primary business operation while creating the minimum number of jobs.
How to Get Investor Visa in USA – Fund Sources
Green Card applicants must adhere to money-laundering and security rules alongside the TEA regulations and minimum investment value.
USCIS needs to determine where the investment funds have come from and trace the money from its origin.
Therefore, proving the legality of your investment capital and the lawful source of obtaining those funds is vital to apply for an investment Green Card EB 5 successfully.
Where Can Funds Originate For an Investment Green Card EB 5?
There are several acceptable sources of capital to apply for an EB 5 investor Green Card. Examples include:
- Wages or an earned salary.
- Bank account deposits.
Job Creation Requirements for an EB 5 Investor Green Card
Each EB5 investment must create or protect at least ten full-time jobs for American workers.
New roles need to be made within two years of the residency permit being issued.
Suppose an applicant invests directly into an EB 5 project. In that case, they'll need to prove that their investment created the jobs and that every position is a direct role working for the commercial entity.
Another route is to invest through a Regional Centre.
These centres manage EB5 investment funds and can create eligible jobs directly, indirectly, or induced by investment.
For example, if you invest directly into a business, every role must be in the employment of that business.
However, if you invest through a Regional Centre, you will retain your Green Card status if new roles are created in other companies that supply the commercial enterprise.
Induced employment means jobs have been created in the local community due to the additional income being spent in the area by employees of an EB5 investment project.
Summary of Criteria for a US Visa for Business Investors
The concept of the EB5 investor visa is simple, but every applicant needs to produce several pieces of evidence to support their Green Card status and prove they have complied with the rules within two years.
To summarise the key EB5 investment points:
- Investments must be at least $500,000 in Targeted Employment Areas or $1 million elsewhere.
- Applicants need to prove the origin and path of their capital.
- The investment must be made in a US commercial business operating for profit.
- Every investment must generate at least ten full-time US jobs within two years.
- Direct investments must generate direct employment roles, but Regional Centre contributions can be indirect or induced positions.
For more information about any of the EB5 investment thresholds or requirements discussed here, please get in touch with the accomplished Astons team for tailored guidance.