The EB-5 visa for Immigrant Investors is a United States visa created by the Immigration Act of 1990. This visa provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. To obtain the visa, individuals must invest $1,000,000 (or at least $500,000 in a “Targeted Employment Area” – high unemployment or rural area), creating or preserving at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers excluding the investor and their immediate family. Initially, under the first EB-5 program, the foreign investor was required to create an entirely new commercial enterprise; however, under the Pilot Program investments can be made directly in a job-generating commercial enterprise (new, or existing – “Troubled Business”), or into a “Regional Center” – a 3rd party-managed investment vehicle (private or public), which assumes the responsibility of creating the requisite jobs. Regional Centers may charge an administration fee for managing the investor’s investment.
The Regional Center provision of the program was scheduled to end on September 30, 2012. At the end of September 2012, President Obama signed into law S. 3245 extending the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program for an additional three-year period. The program was reauthorized by the House of Representatives on September 13 in a vote of 412-3 and passed by the Senate in August 2012. If the foreign national investor’s petition is approved, the investor and their dependents will be granted conditional permanent residence valid for two years.
Within the 90 day period before the conditional permanent residence expires, the investor must submit evidence documenting that the full required investment has been made and that 10 jobs have been maintained, or 10 jobs have been created or will be created within a reasonable time period.