EB-5 Program

OVERVIEW OF THE EB-5 VISA PROGRAM

The EB-5 Visa Program was established in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation. This visa program, overseen by the USCIS, allows foreign nationals to obtain lawful Permanent Residence in the United States by making a capital investment that creates a new commercial enterprise or revives a troubled business, thereby creating jobs for U.S. workers.

Each unit of EB-5 investment must create or preserve 10 jobs. As a reward for this investment foreign nationals are granted green cards for themselves, their spouse and any children under the age of 21.

PROGRAM BENEFITS

 

Qualifying investors, their spouse and any unmarried minor children under the age of 21 will be granted US Lawful Permanent Residency.


The process for EB-5 visa fulfillment is significantly expedited as compared with other employment and family-based green card categories


The EB-5 investor and his/her family may live/work anywhere in the United States.


The investor and his/her family will receive education benefits including admission to Universities at US resident costs.


After five years, the investor and their family may obtain US citizenship, subject to meeting all immigration requirements, as required under law.


There is no requirement to speak English, employment experience, or education requirement.


There is no “sponsor” requirement for the EB-5 program.

INVESTMENT

Two distinct paths are available for EB-5 investment:

The Direct Program where the foreign national invests directly in a U.S. venture, and the Regional Center program, which provides indirect EB-5 investment opportunities for foreign nationals.

Both programs require that the investor make an “at-risk” capital investment of either $500,000 or $1,000,000 in a commercial enterprise located within the United States (Required investment depends on whether the investment is in a designated Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or not. TEA is defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.”)

WHAT IS A REGIONAL CENTER?

EB-5 Regional Centers were created to identify projects and provide EB-5 visa applicants with investment opportunities that fulfill all USCIS requirements and create the required jobs in order to secure visas for the EB-5 investors.

The organizers of a Regional Center must apply for and be granted “Regional Center” designation from the USCIS. AscendAmerica is a USCIS designated Regional Center.

ADVANTAGES OF THE REGIONAL CENTER PROGRAM

The Regional Center Program carries considerable advantages for investors over the Basic Program (also known as Direct EB-5).

Direct EB-5 requires foreign nationals to invest in a project over which they exert managerial control, while in the Regional Center context, investments are passive and do not require the investor to manage their investment or the company on a day-to-day basis.

Additionally, jobs created both directly and indirectly as a result of a Regional Center project may be counted towards the job creation quota, while with the Basic Program, only jobs created directly by the investment may be counted.

Because of these inherent advantages over 90% of EB-5 investments are made through Regional Centers.

HOW THE REGIONAL CENTER WORKS

Foreign nationals invest in a Limited Partnership created by the Regional Center operator and maintain all the rights generally accorded to limited partners.  The Limited Partnership then invests in a job-creating project.  All direct employees of the project as well as employment indirectly created or induced by the investment apply toward the job creation requirement.

Example: Regional Center-Sponsored Investment in the Construction of a Hotel

Step 1

Immigrant Investors seeking permanent residency in the U.S. invest in a LP created by a Regional Center

Step 2

LP provides mezzanine loan to Hotel Developer

Step 3

Construction and operational jobs – as well as the jobs created by the ripple effect that the construction and operation of the hotel has on the regional economy – apply toward the 10 jobs/investor requirement

Additional Information

For information on relevant EB-5 law and regulations please visit the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service website.

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