U.S. Spurs Foreign Investments Through EB-5 Visa Program

U.S. Spurs Foreign Investments
Through EB-5 Visa Program

by Stephen H. Davis, Esq.
Introduction
One of the programs initiated by the United States government for “employment creation” is known as the EB-5 investor visa program. It has led to an influx of dollars of direct foreign investments and helped create jobs for Americans.
According to Immigration Daily (ilw.com) the EB-5 program was resurrected in Fiscal Year 2005. The number of these investor visas given out each year is capped at 10,000, but USCIS has never “given out” even half that many; less than 3,500 were issued in FY 2011. During the first quarter of FY 2012, USCIS announced it had issued 2,364. “Extrapolating those numbers across the entire year suggests USCIS will come close to reaching the quota for the first time ever this year, nearly tripling last year’s total.” (Immigration Daily, March 2, 2012)

The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has extended the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program until September 30, 2012, under the EB-5 “preference category”, with the end goal of attracting foreign investment into this country. And, this is in exchange for the much coveted visa status of being a U.S. conditional permanent resident. The investor must apply after two years to have the “conditions removed.”

What is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program? Is it related to the E-2 visa?

Very briefly stated, an immigrant investor is a foreign person who owns a business investment in the United States which is worth a million dollars and which provides employment for 10 or more U.S. workers. This is not to be confused with the
E-2 Treaty Investor nonimmigrant visa available for nationals of around 76 countries. This visa can be renewed indefinitely depending on the business and is available for small investments of usually US$100,000 or more, but can even be less.

What are basic requirements to be an EB-5 Immigrant Investor?
– US$1,000,000 (“$1M”) or US$500,000 in certain areas plus 10 full time U.S. workers
– Direct involvement of investor in the enterprise
– Must validate the legal source of funds
What is the EB-5 Regional Center program?
This pilot program is essentially the same with the regular EB-5 investor program, except these investments are affiliated with an economic unit known as a “Regional Center”, which takes advantage of a more expansive concept of job creation including both “indirect” and “direct” jobs. There are 200+ Regional Centers across the U.S.
What are the basic requirements of EB-5 Regional Center?
Regional Centers – Target Employment Area
– US$500,000 ($500K”) passive investment in majority of cases and $1M if the investment is in a large metropolitan area
– Must validate the legal source of funds
What is the definition of a Regional Center?
A Regional Center is defined as any economic entity, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment. The organizers of a regional center seeking the “Regional Center” designation from USCIS must submit a proposal, supported by economically or statistically valid forecasting tools, showing:
· How the regional center plans to focus on a geographical region within the United States. The proposal must explain how the regional center will promote economic growth in that region.
· How, in verifiable detail (using economic models in some instances), jobs will be created directly or indirectly through capital investments made in accordance with the regional center’s business plan.
· The amount and source of capital committed to the regional center and the promotional efforts made and planned for the business project. How the regional center will have a positive impact on the regional or national economy.
What services does an immigration lawyer provide in obtaining the EB-5 visa?
Individual Investment – not Regional Center
My job as immigration lawyer is to obtain the necessary documentation, review the details, and determine if the case is within a reasonable range of probability of approval by the USCIS; preparation and filing the governmental forms with supporting documentation; serve as liaison with the appropriate government agencies.
Regional Center cases – details provided upon request.

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Stephen H. Davis, Esq. has practiced immigration law full-time for more than 30 years. He has represented clients from 180 different countries. Reach him at (904)448-8500 or toll free in the U.S. at
1(866)448-1269, or at info@stephenhdavis.com . Check his website at www.stephenhdavis.com.

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