USCIS EB-5 Immigration Visa Program.
Under Section 203(b)(5) of the 1990 Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1153(b)(5), immigrant visas are available to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their investment in a new commercial enterprise.
The immigrant seeking permanent resident status must demonstrate that this investment will benefit the United States economy and create the requisite number of jobs for persons within the United States.
Specifically, eligible individuals include those who invest in a new commercial enterprise and (1) who have invested or who or actively in the process of investing at least $1,000,000.00 (one million) dollars or $500,000.00 (five hundred thousand) dollars where the investment is being made in a “targeted employment area” which is an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate or a rural area as designated by Office of Management and Budget and (2) whose engagement in the enterprise will benefit the United States economy creating full time employment, directly or indirectly, for not fewer than 10 qualified individuals and (3) the individual must prove that the investment comes from a lawful source of funds.
The Regional Center Program
The Regional Center Program is ideal for the retiree or passive investor due in large part to the “indirect employment creation” requirement feature of this program. The Regional Center program advantageously removes the 10 “direct” employee requirement of the regular or stand alone program and substitutes the less-restrictive “indirect employment creation”. So, in a nutshell, under a Regional Center program, the investor can qualify by presenting evidence that 10 direct and indirect jobs will be created throughout the Regional Center economy, supported by an economist’s report obtained by the Regional Center.
The econometric studies required by the U.S.C.I.S. for each regional center are important in determining a potential projects job creation count. The Palm Coast Florida Group Regional Center employs the highly qualified services of an economic research company Wright Johnson. www.wrightjohnsonllc.com.
Also, the EB-5 policy management requirement is minimal in that the investor can be a limited partner with only a policy-making role and still qualify. Thus, for those who are not interested in day-to-day management or running an active business, Regional Center programs offer a more attractive form of investment.
Another advantage of Regional Center programs that adds to the flexibility of this Green Card category is that the investor is not required to live in the place of the investment; rather, he or she can live wherever he or she wishes in the United States. For example, the investor may invest in a Regional Center in the State of Florida, but choose to live in Hawaii.
The procedure for obtaining an EB-5 Investor Green Card is relatively straightforward. The investor must generally provide 5 years of tax returns to help substantiate the source of investment funds. Investment funds must be lawful, and can include earned income, loans, gifts, inheritance, and asset sales. Gift taxes, if required in the investor’s home country, must be paid. He or she must also present evidence that traces the capital, through bank transfers and other documentation, from the investor directly to the EB-5 enterprise.
Between 21-24 months after the conditional Green Card has been issued, the investor must reconfirm that the investment has been made or is still in place and that the employment requirement has been fulfilled or maintained. An application to remove the conditional Green Card status is then filed with USCIS. This step involves the application of Form I-829.
Once the condition has been removed, a permanent Green Card is granted for indefinite permanent resident status in the United States. From the time of application for the conditional Green Card until approval of the Removal of Conditions, usually take, about four years. Thereafter, depending on the terms of the investment agreement and exit strategies the investment may be sold, and the EB-5 investment will be returned to the investor.
EB-5 regulations, rules, guidance and adjudicatory standards may change, which could have both positive and/or negative impact on the Palm Coast Florida Group Regional Center (PCFGRC) and its ability to compete. PCFGRC has ongoing reporting and compliance obligations to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the agency responsible for overseeing the EB-5 program www.uscis.gov. PCFGRC has put in place a system of checks and balances and retained the services of an internationally respected law firm, www.millermayer.com, that specializes in the EB-5 law.
PCFGRC believes that the opportunity for affluent foreigners to be able to invest in a project with a high expectation of a positive return coupled with an investment that allows the foreign investor to obtain United States residency for themselves and his or her immediate family will enable PCFGRC to access a global pool of capital and quickly obtain the necessary funds to develop, build and begin the operations of the many projects. PCFGRC is keenly aware of the many requirements that are inherent in a program of this nature and will continually maintain the necessary records that are required under the governing statute and will provide the proper research that is mandated to substantiate the personal history of each prospective investor and to further substantiate the source of funds invested in the project.
The above summary of the EB-5 Program and Regional Center Program should not be considered as legal advice or a complete description of the program. The prospective investor is strongly urged to contact a knowledgeable immigration attorney to review their specific circumstances. Further, processing times noted to complete the approval process are approximations and the time required to complete the process are dependent on each individuals specific circumstances.