The U.S. Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 Program) is designed to attract investment to the US and create jobs, by offering qualified foreign investors, who otherwise meet immigration requirements, a Conditional Visa for that investor, the investor’s spouse and each of the investor’s children under the age of 21, if the applicant (only 1 per family) invests as set forth below. If the investment produces the required jobs within the designated time frame, the EB5 investor/applicant and his/her family can obtain permanent Visas.
The EB-5 investor/applicant may live anywhere within the US, not necessarily where the investment is made.
The EB-5 program is run by the US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS). Under this program the Regional Center sets forth the investment that it proposes to make, such as manufacturing, alternative energy, entertainment, assisted living, restaurants, medical, or any number of other job creating business opportunities. The Regional Center can cover any number of counties within one or more states so long as they are contiguous.
A prospective EB-5 investor/applicant seeking a Visa must agree to reside in the US and must invest $1 million dollars within the Regional Center’s approved counties and areas of investment. A $500,000 investment is available in the limited case of rural areas or areas within counties designated by States and approved by the USCIS as targeted economic areas with unemployment equal to or greater than 150% of the national unemployment average (TEA’s).
Each EB-5 investment, together with the administrative fee charged by ORC is held in escrow pending approval of the Conditional Visa. If the Visa request is rejected by the USCIS, the investment, after appeals, and if the rejection is based upon circumstances beyond the Investor’s control, is returned to the EB5 investor along with the administrative fee.
In certain circumstances the Escrow Account may be disbursed before approval of the I-526 Petition. In that case, if the I-526 Petition is denied, after appeals and subject to the conditions set forth above, ORC will seek a substitute EB-5 investor to replace the denied Petitioner. The documents applicable to the project should be examined to determine disbursement criteria.
The EB-5 investor/applicant uses and separately pays his/her own immigration attorney (ORC will recommend at least two attorneys) to apply for the Conditional Visa. Once granted, the investment funds are released from Escrow into the investment vehicle and the administrative fee is released to Become American Investor. Currently, the initial Visa for an Investor takes more than 4 months and sometimes more than a year for USCIS approval.
ORC establishes a Limited Partnership for each project. The EB-5 investors are limited partners and ORC is the general partner. Projects to date in the regional center program have largely been real estate, but manufacturing, entertainment, or any project that will create 10 NEW jobs per investor will work, subject only to investor preference. Regular reports to the USCIS are required and ORC will monitor investments and job creation.
The business project in which the investment is made must produce 10 jobs per investor. A study (business plan and economic analysis) is done for the specific investment opportunity. The study contains all the details of the specific investment, including number of jobs, location, construction costs, etc. The business plan with the required economic analysis of the investment is submitted with the EB5 investor’s Conditional Visa application (I-526 Petition)..