The employment-based Fifth Preference visa category titled EB-5 was created by the U.S. Congress in 1990 to assist foreigners looking to invest in a new U.S. business which will generate or preserve a minimum of 10 full-time workers, as well as positively influence the U.S. economy.
The amount needed to invest is based on the location of the real-estate. In rural areas or places with high unemployment rates the minimum is $500,000. In all other areas the minimum is $1,000,000. There are roughly 10,000 available EB-5 green cards allotted per year and a little less than 1/3 of these are provided to foreign nationals who partner with a Regional Center for their investment option.
THE EB-5 REGIONAL CENTER INVESTMENT PROGRAM
The EB-5 program was developed by the Congress in 1993 as a way to promote immigration. The program allots 3,000 visas per year to investors who reside outside of the U.S. borders and apply through a Regional Center Investment Program via the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Regional Center programs have seen great success in similar programs developed in locations outside of U.S. territory; Australia, United Kingdom, Canada. The function of a regional center is to act as a independent firm, organization or agency whose primary focus is to develop investment programs for specific geological regions.
Potential EB-5 program investments through regional centers have two qualifying limits; $1 million for ventures in economically sound regions or $500,000 for ventures in regions which are rural, experience high unemployment rates or are Targeted Employment Areas (TEA). Both investments require a minimum of 10 jobs which were created or maintained through the venture.
Foreign investors who utilize a regional center through the EB-5 program to acquire an immigrant visa must prove a minimum of 10 jobs were created by the venture. AAA Florida Senior Living Regional Center measures these requirements using a USCIS approved methodology to validate the job development.
All investors and associates should independently apply to USCIS for an EB-5 visa before participation in a Regional Center EB-5 program. Those utilizing a Regional Center who are deemed qualified investors will receive a conditional two-year green card. All immediate family members, the spouse and unmarried children under 21, can also apply for permanent residency.
After approval, investors and their immediate family members will be granted permanent green cards and are viable for future application to become a U.S. citizen. After receiving conditional permanent residence status, investors and their immediate family are permitted benefits equal to permanent residents.
The Regional Center Investment Program was developed by the U.S. Congress as a stimulus to foreigners utilizing the EB-5 visa immigration category. A regional center:
- Is an institution or organization recognized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
- Concentrated on certain projects or geographical locations found in the United States
- Encourages economic advancement by supplementing export sales, enhancing regional efficiency, producing job opportunities, and raising U.S. capital investment
The Regional Center Investment Program has experienced widespread success and shows exponential signs of potential. Enhancements to the program over the course of its existence have steadily increased the number of EB-5 category visas attained.
Near 3,000 visas are reserved for foreign investors who apply for the EB-5 Investor Visa Program through USCIS approved Regional Centers.