To the United States, immigration has been a hot-button topic for decades and will undoubtedly continue to be; however, a program developed by Congress in 1990 may have some citizens seeing this scenario in a new light. Known as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, it allows foreign investors to gain American permanent residency status, provided they create 10 jobs in a new U.S. commercial enterprise and invest at least $500,000.00. Strict guidelines are in place to protect the EB-5 investors, as well as the interests of the American people.

Some fear the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is simply opening the proverbial gate wider for newcomers to the United States, but this misconception is due to a lack of understanding of the wide-range of benefits it creates for the country as well as the investors and their families. It is important to note that under no circumstances does purchasing a home with the equivalent value of the required EB-5 capital investment on American soil qualify the investor for the EB-5 visa.

Integral provisions of the EB-5 program say that the EB-5 visa is only granted under certain conditions, with some of them being:

  • The investor must provide a plan for developing a legal enterprise in the United States or preventing an existing company from failing
  • The investment in question must either create or perpetuate at least 10 full-time jobs for those who are American citizens or otherwise authorized to work in the U.S.
  • For rural areas (outside of a Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of less than 20,000), or those with an unemployment rate of 150 percent of the national average or more, the foreign investor must invest a minimum of $500,000; if not, the investment requirement is $1 million
  • The EB-5 visa applicant must provide personal funding for the investment and they must be able to prove the trail of the funds as well as that it came from a legitimate source

Current economic hardships and strict new financial lending regulations have certainly brought new attention to the EB-5 program around the United States, with the majority of the funds being injected into new construction real estate projects. The program could be the answer to recovering many of the estimated 8 million jobs lost during the course of the 2008 recession. In 2013 alone, the EB-5 program generated $3.39 billion in foreign investment, created 42,000 new U.S. jobs and brought in $712 million in U.S. tax revenue. These numbers although impressive, do not do justice to the EB-5 program. They do not take into account that these investors are paying tuition for their children at educational institutions, purchasing homes, dining and shopping, buying cars, depositing funds in financial institutions, and countless other activities that an American family undertakes in their daily lives.

The United States has been the champion of immigration, and with programs such as the EB-5 program, we can continue to attract the brightest and the best.

If you are a potential EB-5 investor and would like to know if you qualify to apply for an EB-5 visa, please speak with an experienced EB-5 attorney for a more in-depth explanation of how this program works and the variety of benefits that come with it for you and your loved ones.