Foreign nationals looking for entrepreneurial opportunities in the U.S. often take a look at the EB-5 visa. Known as the Immigrant Investor Program, it allows non-American businesspeople the opportunity to secure a green card in exchange for a substantial, job-creating business investment.
To many, this sounds like a surefire way to become a lawful permanent resident. But there are a few things you should keep in mind if considering the EB-5 program.
The investment bar is high
The Immigrant Investor Program is likely not a viable path for a small business project. In order to qualify for an EB-5 visa, the investor must hit a few key thresholds. That includes:
- Investing in a new, for-profit commercial enterprise
- Putting in $1.8 million, minimum, for such a project; or $900,000 in a place that qualifies as a Targeted Employment Area (generally speaking, a rural area or an area with high unemployment)
- Ensuring the new business will create a minimum of 10 full-time, permanent jobs
This is a very basic overview. The fine print can be enough to stymie many hopeful applicants. A successful attempt requires thorough planning and airtight documentation.
In addition, there is an annual cap. The U.S. will issue about 10,000 EB-5 visas each year to eligible applicants and their family. There is also a per-country limit that must be monitored.
It’s a great option for some individuals
The requirements for the EB-5 program will be out of reach for many foreign nationals. However, for those with the right ambition, finances and connections, taking advantage of the Immigrant Investor Program can be a worthwhile effort.
Not only are applications low partway through 2020 – meaning there are plenty of spots remaining – the EB-5 is one of the few green card or visa programs untouched by the White House’s recent immigration suspensions. For many years, it has been a go-to green card pathway for overseas entrepreneurs. There is little reason it cannot continue to be utilized now and long into the future.