The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows eligible foreign investors to be admitted to the United States with a spouse and qualifying children upon meeting specific requirements. In this article, you will discover how to choose an ideal EB-5 investment.
Understanding the EB-5 Classification – Key Elements
To qualify for the EB-5 classification, a foreign investor must:
- Invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise, and
- Plan to create (or preserve) at least ten full-time positions for US workers
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines a “new commercial enterprise” as “any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business, including:
- A sole proprietorship
- Partnership (whether limited or general)
- Holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries (provided that each subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business)
- Joint venture
- Business trust
- Limited liability company, or
- Other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned”
Hence, EB-5 investors can choose to invest the required amount by forming a business from scratch or putting the capital at stake in a regional center.
EB-5 Regional Center Program
Since March 15, 2022, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act introduced new requirements for the Regional Center Program, which was previously suspended for a certain period.
A regional center is a business entity regulated by USCIS that serves as a pool of capital to fund projects focused on stimulating economic growth and job creation in certain regions. This is a good option for EB-5 applicants not willing to start or run a US business on their own.
Before placing the required amount of investment at risk in a regional center, EB-5 investors must make a thorough investigation of the project, which includes:
- Determining the geographic scope of the project
- Identifying the individuals or entities responsible for the project
- Checking the background of the development team
- Checking whether the project has a significant number of visa approvals
- Determining whether the project is fully-financed
- Assessing the chances of return on the amount invested
New commercial enterprises located within a regional center may meet up to 90% of USCIS’s job creation requirement with indirect jobs. Indirect jobs are positions held outside of the commercial enterprise but created as a result of the EB-5 investment.
EB-5 Investments vs. Targeted Employment Areas
The standard minimum amount of capital required for EB-5 eligibility is $1,050,000. However, it is possible to qualify for a reduced investment of $800,000 if the applicant decides to invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA).
A TEA can be either a rural area or an area affected by rates. While the reduced investment may attract EB-5 applicants seeking to save money in the process, investing in a TEA holds its share of risks.
The return on the invested capital depends on the success of the EB-5 project. Depending on the particularities of a regional center and other related factors, investing in a TEA will not necessarily result in the desired outcome.