By Jasmine Rios, Law Clerk & Kaitlyn Garcia, J.D., Managing Attorney
Immigration Attorney | Houston, Texas
The EB-5 immigrant investor program began in 1990 as an initiative for immigrant entrepreneurs to invest into business in the United States. The EB-5 remains as a pathway for permanent residency for foreign investors and entrepreneurs.
USCIS administers the immigration program by facilitating permanent residency (green card) in the United States for investors and entrepreneurs, as well as their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21.
What are the requirements for the EB-5 visa?
1. The EB-5 investor must make an investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States.
The entrepreneur must invest capital, such as cash, property, and assets into a new commercial enterprise. The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million dollars. However, in an effort to promote economic growth in high unemployment or rural areas, the minimum qualifying investment is reduced to $500,000.
Further, the commercial enterprise must be considered a lawful business that generates profitable revenue, such as a corporation, holding company, partnership, business trust, sole proprietorship, and other business entity or venture.
2. An investor must plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
The EB-5 investment must create jobs. All employees under the EB-5 plan must be authorized to work in the United States, work a minimum of 35 hours a week, and be permanent employees (i.e. not intermittent, seasonal or temporary).
Supporting documents to establish EB-5 eligibility:
The EB-5 investor must submit Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Entrepreneur. This petition must be submitted with supporting documents to establish EB-5 eligibility. Required documents include:
- Proof of Investment (or active process of investment) of the required amount and that such investment was attained through lawful means. Evidence includes: source of capital, tax returns, and business registrations records.
- Proof of the Commercial Enterprise: documents showing the establishment of the business.
- Proof of Management: It is required to submit evidence of your intended management of the enterprise, such as duties or responsibilities in the day-to-day control of the enterprise or formulation of policy.
- Proof of Job Creation: proof that the enterprise will create at least 10 full-time positions for qualifying employees.
If employees are not yet hired: the EB-5 investor must submit a comprehensive business plan showing that there is a need for at least 10 qualifying employees based on the nature and projected size of the enterprise.
If employees are already hired: the EB-5 investor must show the number of existing employees will be maintained according to the requirements for at least two years. Required documents include: photocopies of tax records, Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, or other relevant documents for the qualifying employees and a comprehensive business plan in support of the petition.
These are the general requirements for EB-5 investors and entrepreneurs. Feel free to share your specific questions or comments about the EB-5 process below or get in touch with us.