The EB-5 program continues to grow in popularity, as more and more companies are looking to EB-5 as a source of capital. JTC Americas, the leader in providing solutions specifically designed for the industry, has compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about the EB-5 program.

What is EB-5?

The EB-5 visa (Fifth Employment Based Preference) for immigrant investors is a United States visa created by the Immigration Act of 1990. It was designed to stimulate U.S. economic activity and job growth, while enabling eligible immigrants to become lawful permanent residents. Under the pilot program, first enacted in 1992, and regularly reauthorized thereafter, certain EB-5 visas (up to 10,000 annually) are set aside for investors in projects sponsored by Regional Centers designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

How much does an investor have to invest and what are the job creation requirements?

To qualify for an EB-5 visa, individuals must invest at least $1 million into a troubled business or new commercial enterprise (as defined by the USCIS). The investment threshold can be reduced to $500,000 by investing in a project in a rural area (less than 20,000 population) or in an area with a high unemployment rate (more than 150% of the current national average). These areas are referred to as Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs).

What is a Regional Center?

A Regional Center is defined as an economic unit, public or private, engaged in the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. A Regional Center is generally a for profit enterprise that has received USCIS approval to operate in this capacity. To become approved by the USCIS, the Regional Center must submit a comprehensive business plan as part of its initial I-924 application for approval. The plan outlines the proposed project, the economic benefits, and expected job creation analysis.

What is an I-526? An I-829?

An I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur) is the form used by an applicant to petition the USCIS for status as an immigrant to the United States. Typically, the investor’s immigration attorney files the form to demonstrate that the immigrant is in the process of investing or has already invested the required amount into a suitable EB-5 project. The I-829 (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions) is the final application submitted to the USCIS by an investor before he/she can become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. This petition includes evidence that the investor successfully met all of the USCIS EB-5 requirements.

The EB-5 process can be lengthy and time-consuming which leaves many frequently asked questions left unanswered. For a developer looking to become a Regional Center, competing against longer running, more established Regional Centers may seem daunting. Setting up the right processes from the beginning will help increase operational efficiency and make qualifying easier. JTC Americas’ suite of EB-5 solutions has been used on over 200 EB-5 projects, more than anyone else in the industry. Find out more about EB-5 and how our solutions help Regional Centers streamline their business processes by downloading our EB-5 Administration Solution Sheet.

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