Investing in a business from a different country is allowed for wealthy individuals. In the US, if you are wealthy enough to meet specific investing requirements, you are eligible for permanent residency through an EB-5 Green Card visa.
Under this visa, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows not only the principal visa holder but also their spouses and children under 21 years eligible for a green card or permanent residency in the country.
However, this visa is limited to 10,000 investors yearly since these have high requirements. It was introduced to immigrants in 1990 to attract foreign investors and create more jobs for the residents in the United States.
What is EB-5 Visa
The EB-5 is also known as the Immigrant Investor Program or Employment Fifth Preference. Only some qualify for this visa, not only because it requires a large amount of money, but it also has particular challenges in creating jobs and contributing to the US economy.
It allows an individual to reside and work legally in the US by directly investing in businesses or through regional centers recognized by the USCIS. However, permanent residency is only granted if the job fulfillment requirement is achieved after two years. If so, the EB-5 visa holder may apply for the removal of conditional residence and receive a green card.
The amount of investment will depend on where you are investing. The standard minimum requirement is $1,050,000. The investment amount on Targeted Employment Ares (TEA) is quite lower at $800,000. To know if an area is under TEA, it should have a high unemployment rate or should be situated in a rural area. Only the DHS decides whether an area qualifies for TEA or not.
If you are investing in an existing company, it should be established after November 29, 1990. It should legally operate as a partnership, corporation, joint venture, sole proprietorship, and the like. If you are buying a new business, you are required to expand its current status by hiring more people or making its net worth increase by 40%.
The investment may not only come in cash but also through purchasing equipment, inventory, properties, and secured debts.
Requirements on Sources of Investment
Since it is a large sum of money, you need to prove that your source of funds is legal and is not involved in any money laundering activities. The USCIS will thoroughly analyze and investigate where it came from.
The funds for the investment should come from salaries, bank accounts, profits from other businesses, and other lawful sources. This should be backed by proper and legal documentation. The path where the funds came from is critical. If these are presented in other languages, they should be translated into English and have it notarized before submission.
If your investment funds are from loans, they should come from a recognized financial institution. You need to cite your collaterals as well. Its value should be close to or equal to the loan amount. It is recommended to apply for a loan that is at least 70% of your collateral.
The funds may also come from inheritance and gifts. In this case, you need to provide documents, such as estate settlements, declaration of the gifts for tax purposes, and proof of income of the gift source. This source may require more documents or processes since it comes from different people.
If you could not provide certain documents, you need to file for a declaration where an explanation is cited on why you were unable to provide the such document. However, this should be avoided since it may cause rejection or a delay in application approval.
Duties and Responsibilities Under EB-5
As mentioned earlier, the business you invest in should create jobs for US residents. This should come in direct and full-time employment and must be created within the first two years of visa issuance. These full-time jobs should have at least 35 working hours a week. These workers may be citizens or non-citizens of the USA as long as your immigrant workers hold a valid working visa.
For businesses under TEA, both full-time and induced jobs may be included in the job creation.
Aside from creating jobs, you must be active in managing the business. You need to ensure that your business will have the required number of employees and net worth as soon as your conditional residence in the USA finishes.