The EB-5 visa program allows foreign investors to obtain a United States green card by investing in projects that stimulate the U.S. economy. Investors can take advantage of the program by making a direct investment in a new commercial enterprise or by investing in an EB5 regional center. Regional centers can be a lower-risk option than making a direct investment, but you may have to meet specific requirements to qualify.
What EB5 Regional Centers Do?
Regional centers are entities that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves to help promote economic growth through foreign investment. Each investor’s investment must create or save ten full-time jobs. Regional centers sponsor investment projects that can meet these requirements to offer a good chance of success to their investors. Investing through a regional center also makes it easier to reach the job requirement – because they can count both direct and indirect jobs towards their count. Direct investments only count direct W-2 employees of the new commercial enterprise. Because of this distinction, regional centers can offer a more flexible option.
How To Qualify for an EB5 Regional Center
Regional centers have a few requirements to invest with them and participate in the EB5 program. If you meet these requirements, you can reach out to an EB5 regional center to learn more.
Meet the Minimum Investment Amount
You must be able to meet the minimum investment amount to participate in the EB5 visa program. The minimum investment amount is $1,050,000 unless you invest in a targeted employment area (TEA). The amount required to invest in a TEA is $800,000. All investments are at-risk investments, meaning it is not guaranteed that you will get your money back or see a return. Regional centers often offer safer investment opportunities – but conducting your own due diligence before investing is a good practice.
Provide Required Documentation
After finding a regional center and selecting a project, the next steps include wiring your investment funds into an escrow account and submitting an I-526E petition. The I-526E petition grants you conditional residency status in the U.S. This form requires investment, financial, and personal documentation.
Prove Lawful Source of Funds
The money you use to invest in an EB5 project must come from a legal foreign or U.S. source. You can use funds from your own personal savings, sale of assets, gifts, inheritance, or money from any other legal source. Your immigration attorney will need to validate the source and path of funds. Be prepared with documents, such as tax returns or pay stubs, that prove that your funds are lawful and legitimate.
Have a Clean Criminal Record
To qualify for a regional center, you should have a clean criminal record. An immigration attorney can help determine whether your legal record disqualifies you from the EB5 program.
Be Legally Allowed To Enter the United States
To invest in a regional center, you must be legally allowed to enter the United States. If you are not permitted in the U.S. for any reason, you cannot participate in the program. You also may not be able to participate if you live in the U.S. “out of status,” – meaning you are residing in the U.S. without a valid visa. You may be required to return to your home country or get a current visa before applying. Regional centers can connect you with an immigration attorney who can help you navigate some of these problems.
Regional Centers Can Simplify the EB-5 Process
Regional centers have many requirements you need to meet to qualify for the EB5 visa program. These requirements help regional centers verify that you are a good match for the program. If you are a foreign investor interested in obtaining a U.S. green card and meet the requirements, the EB5 program may be a good option for you. There are many regional centers with a variety of projects. Picking one with a successful track record can offer you the best chance at success.
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