Every fiscal year, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) makes about 140,000 employment-based visas available to applicants who either live outside the United States or do not have the right to work legally as a U.S. resident. Of these visas, only about seven percent end up going to Fifth Preference applicants, those who intend to make financial investments in American businesses and communities.
If you want to seek conditional permanent resident status as an immigrant investor in the United States, it could be beneficial to seek help from a Wheaton EB-5 visa lawyer. Given the number of qualifying criteria you must meet and forms you must complete to receive this kind of visa, assistance from a knowledgeable attorney could make a significant difference in the outcome of your application process.
The first component to receiving and maintaining EB-5 visa status is contributing an appropriate amount of capital to a qualifying commercial enterprise. In this context, “capital” can include not only cash, but also inventory, tangible property, equipment meant to be used by enterprise employees, cash equivalents, and secured debts, provided that all those assets are owned primarily by the immigrant investor.
To qualify as a valid commercial enterprise for EB-5 investment, the enterprise in question must have either been founded, bought by a new owner and restructured to effectively become a new enterprise, or expanded by 40 percent in terms of either net worth or total number of employees on or after November 29th, 1990. Any for-profit activity that conducts lawful business can constitute a “commercial enterprise” in this regard, including sole proprietorships, holding companies, business trusts, and joint ventures.
As of 2019, the minimum amount that an Immigrant Investor must put into such an enterprise is generally $1.8 million. However, if the enterprise is located in a Target Employment Area, meaning it is either rural or experiencing high unemployment, the minimum required investment is $900,000. A nearby EB-5 visa attorney could help clarify whether requirements may apply to a planned investment in a particular area.
In addition to investing a certain amount, EB-5 visa recipients must also use their investment to create 10 or more full-time jobs in the area in which they invest. In most situations, these must be direct jobs, meaning that they involve an employer-employee relationship between the commercial enterprise in which the EB-5 visa recipient invested and the person working in the newly created job.
However, this requirement is a bit looser for commercial enterprises within regional centers, which are defined by USCIS as places that can support economic growth based on externally sourced proposals. In regional centers, both direct and indirect jobs, which do not involve a direct employer-employee relationship but still came about as a direct result of the investment, may count towards the job creation requirement. An EB-5 visa lawyer in the area could help establish what rules may apply to an investment planned for a particular location.
Understanding the area in which you plan to invest is only the first stage of the EB-5 visa application process. To even be eligible for this visa, you will need to provide extensive evidence of your existing investment, your plan to create new jobs, and your intent to take on a direct managerial role in the enterprise you invested in.
Even with those criteria fulfilled, help from a Wheaton EB-5 visa lawyer could be crucial to ensure that you fill out all the requisite forms correctly and submit them on time. To learn more about the assistance legal counsel could provide in your situation, get in touch today to schedule a confidential consultation.