Presently, 10,000 immigrant (permanent) visas per year are available to foreign investors and their family members who meet certain, very specific criteria. These criteria are interpreted very strictly by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This FAQ will address how foreign investors can obtain permanent resident status in the United States.[/toggle][toggle title=”What is the minimum amount of investment required?” open=”no”]For investments in areas other than “targeted employment areas,” the minimum amount of investment is $1 million. Investments in “targeted employment areas,” including most regional center projects, can qualify with a minimum of $500,000.[/toggle][toggle title=”What is a targeted employment area?” open=”no”]A targeted employment area is a rural area or a geographical area that has experienced unemployment at a rate of at least 150% of the national average rate. Individual states are authorized to designate geographical areas within the state that qualify as targeted employment areas.[/toggle][toggle title=”What is included in calculating the investment amount?” open=”no”]The entire amount of the investment need not be in cash. Assets transferred to the U.S. investment can be included at fair market value. Amounts borrowed by the investor can be included in the required minimum investment amount but only to the extent that the debt is secured by assets owned by the investor, and the investor is personally and primarily liable. The assets of the business in the United States in which the investment is made cannot be used to secure any of the indebtedness.[/toggle][toggle title=”Must the entire amount of the investment be made at the time of filing an EB-5 petition?” open=”no”]The entire amount of the investment need not have been made at the time of filing the petition. However, the investor must prove availability of the funds and an actual legal commitment of the required amount of capital. A mere intention to invest or plans for a future investment where there is no present commitment of the funds will not qualify. Most approved EB-5 investors have invested the full $500,000 or $1,000,000 at the time of application.[/toggle][toggle title=”Are there any restrictions on the types of businesses in which the investment must be made?” open=”no”]The investment must be in a “new commercial enterprise” in the United States. “New” means that the investment must have been made after November 29, 1990. “Commercial” is to be distinguished from a passive, speculative investment, such as a purchase of real estate for use as a personal residence or for potential appreciation in value (as opposed to an active real estate development project).
The U.S. investment can be: (1) the creation of a new business; (2) the purchase of an existing business, which is reorganized to form a new enterprise; or (3) the expansion of an existing business.[/toggle][toggle title=”Are there any specific rules regarding an investment in an existing business that enables the existing business to expand?” open=”no”]The investment must result in a 40% increase either in the net worth or the number of employees of the business. For example, if a business has a $5 million net worth and employs 50 people, the investment would qualify either if it increases net worth by $2 million or if it results in an expansion of 20 employees. It is not necessary to meet this test if the business was established after November 29, 1990.[/toggle][/accordian][/one_full][/fullwidth]