The United States continues to espouse the sentiments and spirit of entrepreneurship in the western world. High standards of living, world class educational institutions and business opportunities continue to make the US one of the top choices for investors and businessmen to set up businesses and create a home for their families.
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Category
USCIS administers the EB-5 Program. Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
Under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) if they:
• Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
• Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
This program is known as EB-5 for the name of the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive.
Required minimum investments are:
• General. The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
• Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.
Salient features of the EB-5 Program via the Syndicate/EB-5 Fund Approach:
• No English language requirement
• No age restriction
• No minimum education requirement
• No management or business experience requirement
• Investor and family can live and work anywhere in the United States
• Children can attend any public school or university for the same cost as US Citizens in their state
• Eligible to become US citizens after five years (physical residence is required for at least two and a half years and not be absent from US for six months or more at a time)
• It is recommended that the investor and their family spend at least 90 days a year in the US after obtaining a green card to maintain PR status.
E-2 Treaty Investors
The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of a treaty country to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business. Employees of a qualifying organization may also be eligible for this category.
Who May File for Change of Status to E-2 Classification:
If the treaty investor is currently in the United States in a lawful nonimmigrant status, he or she may file Form I-129 to request a change of status to E-2 classification.
How to Obtain E-2 Classification if Outside the United States:
Applicant will apply for E-2 nonimmigrant visa in relevant embassy. Upon issuance of a visa, the person may then apply to a DHS immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry for admission as an E-2 nonimmigrant.
General Qualifications of a Treaty Investor:
To qualify for E-2 classification, the treaty investor must:
• Be a national of a country with which the United States maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation
• Have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States
• Be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.