A U.S. Investment Green Card — which is formally referred to as an EB5 category visa — was launched by Congress in 1990, and is designed to stimulate the U.S. economy and create U.S. jobs by enabling selected and vetted foreign entrepreneurs to make significant business investments in the U.S. In return for their investment, entrepreneurs are allowed to live and work in the U.S. until their visa expires (note: this is not the same as being granted U.S. Citizenship, which is a completely separate process).
Qualifying for an Investment Green Card
There are three qualifying streams that may allow you to obtain an Investment Green Card:
- Invest $1,000,000 (all figures USD), and commit to hiring 10 full-time employees anywhere in the U.S.
- Invest $500,000 and commit to hiring 10 full-time employees in an area that is deemed to have high unemployment, or is a rural area. A high unemployment area is one where the unemployment rate is 1.5x higher than the national average. A rural area is outside a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and has a population of less than 20,000 (based on the most recent U.S. Census data).
- Invest either $1,000,000 or $500,000 (per the above) in a designated Regional Center project, and commit to creating 10 full-time indirect or induced jobs. Indirect jobs are those in the community that are created to provide services or supplies to the Regional Center project. Induced jobs are those that are created within the community (or will be created) as a result of salary spent by employees working on the Regional Center project.
Note that you do not have to live near, or work on, the business or Regional Center project that you work on. You can live anywhere in the U.S. and are legally authorized to work for any U.S. employer.
Investing in Troubled Businesses
You may also be able to obtain an Investment Green Card by making a qualifying investment in what USCIS deems a troubled business. This is a business in the U.S. that meets all of the following requirements:
- The business has been operating for at least two years.
- The business has experienced a net loss in the last 12-24 months.
- The net loss is at least 20% of the business’s net worth.
- The business employs at least 10 full time employees, and is expected to maintain this staffing level for 36-42 months.
Get Expert Help
If you are considering applying for an EB5 visa, it is essential that you work with an experienced and qualified EB5 lawyer. The process is very complex and competitive. Remember: you need to do more than supply USCIS with the full facts. You must also make a compelling and persuasive argument that your visa petition — instead of someone else’s — should be accepted.