FAQs for EB-5 Investors and Developers
Find answers to the most frequently asked questions we hear about the EB-5 Program, including how to invest and how to attract investment capital.
EB-5 Program FAQs
What is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program and when was it created?
The United States government created the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in 1990 in an effort to attract foreign investment and boost economic growth. Eligible foreign nationals can invest either $500,000 or $1,000,000 in a new or existing U.S. business. When investors demonstrate that their investment has created at least ten jobs for U.S. workers, they may receive green cards for themselves and their families. EB5 Capital offers investment opportunities to meet these criteria.
What is a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)?
A TEA is a geographical area that is considered rural, or has an unemployment rate of at least 1.5 times the national average. When EB-5 Visa applicants invest in a TEA, they can invest $500,000 rather than $1,000,000. Individual states determine the precise boundaries of a TEA.
What is a designated Regional Center?
EB-5 Regional Centers are organizations authorized by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to receive and manage EB-5 investor funds. Regional Centers promote economic development and job creation within a specific geographic area.
How many EB-5 visas may be issued per year?
There are 10,000 EB-5 visas available to qualified aliens each year. 3,000 of these visas are designated for aliens who invest through a program at an USCIS designated Regional Center.
How does the EB-5 visa differ from an L-1 visa (manager transfer)?
With an EB-5 visa, you obtain a green card for permanent residence in the United States. After 5 years, the investors and their family may obtain US citizenship, subject to meeting all immigration requirements. Other visas, such as the L-1, may never result in permanent residence, have time limits, must be renewed, and require additional filings with the USCIS or Department of State.
Who may obtain an EB-5 visa?
Any person who can demonstrate the ability to invest the required amount into the American economy, can document that the capital was legally earned, and satisfies general eligibility requirements (e.g., medical, criminal) is qualified to apply. The investor’s spouse and any minor children (under 21) also qualify. The age of the minor children is “frozen” at the time of the I-526 application so, for example, a 20-year old dependent is not in danger of “aging out” during the process.
What is the minimum investment required?
An investment of at least $1,000,000.00 is required for an EB-5 visa. If however, the investment is made in an area that has been designated a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the investment is a minimum of $500,000.00.
For how long is the "green card" valid?
The investor and dependents receive a conditional, 2-year green card. Before the expiration of the two year period, a petition is submitted to the USCIS confirming that the investment has been made and that ten direct and/or indirect jobs have been created as a result of the investment. In a non-regional center investment, job creation is limited to direct jobs only.
If I or a member of my family is already in the U.S. on another visa, is it necessary to return to my home country in order to obtain an EB-5 visa or permanent residence?
Probably not. In order to obtain permanent residence in the U.S. under the EB-5 program, you may not need to return to the country of your citizenship. You and the members of your family may apply to adjust status while in the United States if you are in valid, non-immigrant status.
FAQs for EB-5 Investors
What are the requirements regarding the funds used for EB-5 investments?
To receive a conditional green card, investors must prove that they legally obtained all funds used for an EB-5 investment. Funds may come from legal business, salary, investments, property sales, inheritance, gifts, loans, or other lawful means.
Is it required that I have a degree of higher education?
No. There are no education requirements for EB-5 visa applicants.
Must I have previous business experience?
No, it is not required that an applicant have had any previous business experience.
What if I do not speak English?
It is not required that an applicant speak English.
Do I need to have earned the money for the investment myself?
No. For example, the money can be a gift. The only requirement would be to show that the gifted money was legally earned, and that taxes (if applicable) were paid on the gift. Another example would be using the proceeds of the sale of real estate or a prior investment to fund the investment.
Can qualified individuals from any country apply or are there restrictions based on citizenship?
With the exception of individuals from countries with which the U.S. does not hold diplomatic relations, citizens of any country may apply for permanent residence in the U.S. through the EB-5 investment program. As long as the applicant is able to leave his or her home country and has sufficient investment capital, a qualified immigration lawyer can assist the applicant with the process of obtaining an EB-5 visa.
What are the financial risks involved with the Regional Center investment projects?
All investments are risky by nature and the Regional Center projects are not exceptions. Under the law, the Regional Center cannot guarantee profit or the return of the principal investment. The risks vary depending on the project. In general, EB-5 investor risks include:
- Fluctuations of economic conditions
- Risks inherent in the real estate market
- Statutory changes
- Risks associated with a private offering
If an investor’s I-526 petition or visa is denied, will funds be returned?
We make the best effort to refund the full investment amount as quickly as possible and as circumstances allow.
Are investors with conditional green cards subject to U.S. tax law?
Yes. Green card holders are taxed in the same way that U.S. Citizens are; green card holders are subjected to federal tax on worldwide income as of the date they become residents.
Are there any fees in addition to the investment?
Additional fees include an administrative fee to the Regional Center, fees charged by immigration attorney, and fees charged by the USCIS.
How is the limited partnership structured?
Every investment “fund” is a new commercial enterprise, and the investor is a member. An affiliate of EB5 Capital serves as the General Partner and manages the everyday affairs of the limited partnership.
What are the benefits of a U.S. green card?
U.S. green card holders are able to reside, work, and retire anywhere in the United States, lawfully and permanently. Additional benefits include hassle-free entry and exit from the U.S., the ability to apply for federal education aid, and Social Security and insurance benefits. Permanent residents may also sponsor their relatives for green card applications.
FAQs for EB-5 Developers
What is a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)?
A TEA is a geographical area that is considered rural or has an unemployment rate of at least 1.5 times the national average. When EB-5 Visa applicants invest in a TEA, they can put forward $500,000 rather than $1,000,000. Individual states determine the precise boundaries of a TEA.
What determines if a project is in a TEA?
This is an involved question in most cases that requires a significant time investment to determine. The ease of determining whether your project is in a TEA will depend on its specific location. The process of determining whether your project is in a TEA will involve state and local government in most jurisdictions and can take 30 days or more.
How long does the fundraising process last?
The duration of fundraising depends on the size of the capital raise. The optimum time frame for a capital raise of ten to twenty-five million dollars is six to nine months.
How long is the typical investment term?
We aim to return our investor’s capital in five to seven years.
When can developers repay the EB-5 funds?
EB-5 funds cannot be repaid until USCIS approves the final investor’s I-829 petition. This typically occurs 38 to 42 months from the closing of the investment.
What is the typical cost of the funds?
Cost varies based on the structure and risk of the investment, but is generally comparable to traditional forms of capital.