A popular US visa category is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa. However, like many US visa categories it is often misunderstood. The basic principle of the EB-5 visa is that in exchange for making an investment that will stimulate the US economy, you can receive a US visa. The EB-5 visa is intended to promote growth and create new jobs, and there are three key investment options under the EB-5 visa category. Let’s review these three options in more detail.
US Visa Breakdown: EB-5 Investments
A regional center is a public or private economic entity that has been recognized by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as being part of the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program. A regional center must focus on a geographical region in the US, create jobs through capital investments, and have a positive impact on the regional or national economy. Job creation can be both direct and indirect, allowing for slightly more flexibility in the business plan.
New Commercial Enterprise
The EB-5 visa aims to spur economic development and job creation in the United States. One of the ways it does so is through the “new” commercial enterprise requirement. A new commercial enterprise under this US visa category is defined as a commercial enterprise established after November 29th, 1990 or the expansion, restructure or reorganization of a pre- November 29, 1990 business. This can be confusing, so we’ve broken it down into two possible ways an investor can meet this requirement.
Start a New Business
An investor can invest the required amount of capital into a new business venture or a venture established after November 29, 1990. A commercial enterprise can be defined as any profitable activity created for the ongoing conduct of lawful business. This could be a sole proprietorship, a holding company, a joint venture, or a corporation, among other options.
Expand, Restructure or Reorganize an Existing Enterprise
The EB-5 visa is primarily geared towards the establishment of a new commercial enterprise, however, an investor can invest in a commercial enterprise that was established on or before November 29th, 1990, if they fit one of two US visa criteria:
- If the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that results in a new commercial enterprise.
- If the business is expanded as a result of the investment, resulting in a 40 percent increase in the net worth or number of employees.
This US visa category has a few other requirements that potential investors should be aware of. Whether you choose to invest in a business established after November 29, 1990 or invest in a restructured or reorganized pre- November 29, 1990 business, there is a job requirement that must be met. The commercial enterprise must create or preserve a minimum of 10 full-time jobs for qualifying US workers. This job creation must take place within two years of the EB-5 visa holder’s admission to the US as a conditional permanent resident