According to current statutes and regulations, a person interested in living and working in the United States under an EB-5 investor visa must invest a substantial amount of capital in a “new commercial enterprise.” For the purposes of granting an EB-5 investor visa application, a “new commercial enterprise” is any “for-profit activity” conducted with the intent of engaging in ongoing, lawful business.

What does this mean for the charitably minded foreign financier who wants to invest in a 501(c)3 non-profit enterprise? It generally means that the investment would not be recognized as a qualifying investment under current EB-5 investor visa regulations. In addition to being an investment in an American for-profit enterprise, a qualifying investment is required to be in an enterprise either restructured in a way so as to allow a new enterprise to result or expanded by at least 40% in terms of employee force or net worth as a result of the EB-5 applicant’s investment.

Get a Trusted EB-5 Investor Visa Attorney as a Partner

Navigating the complicated waters of U.S. immigration policy isn’t something that should be done alone. A person interested in living in the United States under an EB-5 immigration visa should partner with an experienced EB-5 investor attorney who can help the applicant ensure they have the best chance of approval under the program as possible.

An experienced immigration lawyer will help the financier gather the necessary evidence to prove visa requirements have been met and to submit proof of qualification to the appropriate agencies. Evidence that the attorney will help the financier gather includes evidence of a substantial capital investment in a qualifying U.S. enterprise, proof that the investment will increase the enterprise’s employee force or net worth by 40%, and proof that the enterprise that the financier is investing into is in fact a legitimate enterprise under the law.

In addition to helping the EB-5 investor applicant secure his or her own visa, a credentialed and experienced immigration lawyer can also help the EB-5 financier tor secure a visa for his or her spouse and any children under 21 the pair may have – this way, investors don’t have to be separated from their families while they help grow the U.S. economy.

Commercial Enterprise Requirement

To be considered a qualifying investment, the enterprise into which the investment is being made must be a commercial one – noncommercial enterprises do not count. A 501(c)3 charity under current regulations is a “noncommercial” enterprise, but so is an investment in private property. Therefore, an investor is not allowed to invest their capital in land or a home which the financier  intends to use as a private residence and use this as the basis for an EB-5 visa.

It’s best for investors to contact an experienced immigration professional before they invest to ensure the enterprise into which they are investing will be considered valid by U.S. immigration standards to satisfy the requirements for an EB-5 visa. However, even if the investment has already been made, an attorney will still be able to provide guidance to the financier on the best way to move forward with the rest of the EB-5 application process.