Through the Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 classification), the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offers foreign investors the opportunity to invest in new commercial enterprise in the United States. Congress started the program in 1990 with the intention of stimulating the American economy by creating jobs and capital investment via investors from outside of the United States. People come to America for many reasons. Some flee as refugees; others are interested in establishing a better quality of life for their family and loved ones. The Immigrant Investor Program not only helps those coming to the U.S., but is beneficial to the American economy and citizens as well.
If you are looking to invest through EB-5 classification, you must invest in a new commercial enterprise. According to the USCIS, a “new commercial enterprise” must have been established after November 29th, 1990. If the enterprise was established before November 29th, 1990, it may still qualify for the program if the business was restructured after 1990 so that a new commercial enterprise resulted or it expanded so much through investment that the business’s net worth increased 40% or took on 40% more employees. A commercial enterprise is any profitable activity formed to conducted lawful business.
Commercial enterprises include:
Investors are required to create and preserve (at least) 10 full-time jobs for United States citizens. After the investor has been admitted into the U.S. as a Conditional Permanent Resident, they have two years to create jobs. This tow year time period is somewhat flexible – as long as the investor creates the jobs within a reasonable amount of time after the two year time period. Investors must also create or maintain direct or indirect jobs. A direct job is the immediate result of the EB-5 classification investor’s capital. Indirect jobs are created as a result of the investment – they are created collaterally as a result of the investor, not the immediate result of his/her capital investment.
An investor may preserve a job, but only if the job is associated with a troubled business. A troubled business is any enterprise that has existed for at least two years. The business must have accumulated a net loss in the past 12-24 months before the investment. The business is only considered “troubled” if the net loss it has suffered over the past year or two years equals at least 20% of the enterprises net worth before the loss.
You might think that capital investment only refers to cash. This is not true. Capital investments may also include:
Any capital that you invest will be measured at fair-market value in United States dollars. Any assets that have been acquired by unlawful or illegal means will not be allowed – even if they were acquired indirectly. Your investment capital cannot be borrowed from someone else. As a minimum requirement, you must invest no less than the equivalent of $1 million. In Targeted Employment Areas – High Unemployment or Rural Areas – you need only invest $500,000.
“Targeted employment” refers to a rural area with an unemployment rate that is 150% more severe than the national average. A “rural area” is any area outside of a metropolitan statistical area. Metropolitan boundaries are determined by the Office of Management and Budget.” Rural areas may also be outside the boundary of a city or town with a population exceeding 20,000, according to the decennial census.