EB-5 Visa Attorney in Fort Myers
Visa Category for Investors
The EB-5 visa allows an immigrant investor and his or her family to acquire lawful permanent residency (obtain a green card) to live in the U.S. by investing a minimum of $500,000 in a new enterprise that creates U.S. jobs.
EB-5 is an investment visa under the employment-based (“EB”) categories of the Immigration & Nationality Act of the United States. The program has created billions of dollars in capital investments in the U.S. economy and has produced tens of thousands of American jobs while providing thousands of green cards to investors.
If you are interested in pursuing an EB-5 visa, consult with our Fort Myers immigration attorney at Hurtado Immigration Law Firm. We have over a decade of experience handling EB-5 visa applications and are ready to put that experience to work for you.
The Benefits of the EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 visa is a great option for investors seeking to immigrate to the United States, as it offers a myriad of benefits.
Benefits of the EB-5 visa include:
- No sponsorship required: There’s no need for an employer or a family member to sponsor the immigrant investor. The investor uses their own funds to qualify.
- No waiting: Many immigrants have to wait for other employment- or family-sponsored visas to be available. Currently, there are no backlogs for obtaining an EB-5 visa.
- Obtain green cards: The EB-5 grants employment-based green cards for the investor and their family. The investor, their spouse, and any children under 21 years old are all granted lawful permanent residency in the United States.
- Obtain U.S. citizenship: After five years of lawful permanent residency, EB-5 visa holders are eligible to become naturalized citizens of the United States.
- Live anywhere: Investors can live anywhere in the United States with an EB-5.
In short, the EB-5 visa may be a good option for qualifying immigrants and their loved ones to obtain permanent residency in the United States.
How to Successfully Apply for an EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 visa is intended to encourage foreign investors to create or preserve jobs in the United States and stimulate the economy. Therefore, immigrant investors must meet specific requirements as determined by USCIS.
For an applicant to qualify under the basic EB-5 Visa program and obtain a green card, they must:
- Make an investment in a new commercial enterprise – This can be a pooled investment. Additionally, the enterprise must have been established after Nov. 29, 1990, with some exceptions.
- Make the required minimum investment – This is determined by project location. If located in a rural or Targeted Employment Area (TEA), then the required investment is currently $500,000. If not, then $1,000,000 is the requirement.
- Place funds “at-risk” – You must be at risk of losing some or all of your investment. Therefore, you must invest in an enterprise that actively conducts business activities that directly contribute to job creation or preservation.
- Demonstrate lawful sourcing of funds – USCIS requires evidence that proves you obtained investment funds through legal means. To meet this requirement, you will typically need to submit five years’ worth of tax returns and other financial documentation. Note that funds can be gifted.
- Lead to the creation or preservation of employment for at least ten full-time U.S. workers – These are typically direct jobs and must be considered full-time positions requiring more than 35 hours of work per week. However, if the investment is done through a Regional Center, the jobs can be indirect or induced (example: constructions jobs created). If the investment is made in a TEA, this requirement can be fulfilled if at least ten full-time American jobs are protected and preserved.
EB-5 projects can be an entrepreneurial project, a direct pooled project, or part of a regional center project. Regional centers are best for EB-5 applicants who are more concerned with obtaining residency status rather than directly managing an investment on their own.
If your investment has not already demonstrably created or preserved ten American jobs at the time you submit your petition, the green card obtained through the EB-5 program will initially be “conditional,” meaning the visa expires in two years instead of the usual ten. To “remove conditions” and receive a green card with a ten-year validity period, you will need to prove that your investment created (or preserved) ten qualifying domestic jobs before your conditional visa expires.
EB-5 for U.S. Developers
EB-5 is used by U.S. project developers to diversify their capital stack. Many times, EB-5 capital is referred to as alternative financing.
An estimated $8.7 billion has been invested into the U.S. and an aggregate total of an estimated 35,140 jobs have been created through the EB-5 program since October 2012.
Examples of EB-5 projects include:
- Large real estate development projects
- Assisted living facilities
- Charter schools
- Motion pictures
EB-5 & the SEC
If a U.S.-based project developer approaches an investor to invest in an EB-5 project, the project is engaged in the offer and sale of securities. Such activities are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the relevant state securities authority. As participation in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program grows, regulatory interest by the SEC grows as well.
Hurtado Immigration Law Firm can work with you and experienced SEC counsel in the preparation of your EB-5 project.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program
An EB-5 Regional Center is an umbrella of capital investment projects for investment by EB-5 investors that has been recognized and approved by the U.S. Immigration Services for a designated geographic region. The major advantage for regional center designation is that the regional center can take advantage of indirect job creation. Thus, regional centers help EB-5 investors and project developers meet the qualifying job creation requirements of the EB-5 program. A regional center can be private or publicly owned. Regional centers are involved with the promotion of job creation, improvement, and revitalization of communities through economic growth. Regional centers can be a hub to attract projects in a particular community to spur growth and development.
Request a consultation with an experienced Fort Myers immigration attorney by calling (239) 800-0580.