Posts Tagged ‘ EB-5 investor visa ’

EB-5 Regional Center Program Here to Stay

Posted on: September 20, 2013 by in EB-5
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Immigrant Families on the MarchAs part of an initiative to attract investment funds to the United States, the government approved the Regional Center program under the EB-5 investor visa program in the 1990s. The Regional Center program allowed for the creation of Regional Centers, either privately or publicly owned, that could direct funds from EB-5 investments within a certain geographic area. This program, since the 1990s, has been renewed by Congress as a pilot program over and over. Now that certain changes to immigration policy have taken effect, Regional Centers are here to stay as a permanent fixture of the EB-5 investor visa program.

What’s a Regional Center?

More specifically, an EB-5 Regional Center, which is established as a business entity, receives and manages investment funds from foreign investors under the EB-5 program. As an entity dedicated to promoting economic growth within the boundaries of the Regional Center, the Center will take the funds and invest them into businesses within the region. By leveraging the investment funds of multiple investors, the investments which are made through Regional Centers are generally much more likely to become a success because each Regional Center has a staff dedicated to finding the best investment opportunities.

The Major Benefit of Working with a Regional Center

Perhaps the biggest benefit to working with a Regional Center is the fact that investors don’t have to be directly involved with the process of finding and directing investments. They can put their investment funds into the care of a Regional Center and the Center will do the rest. This is a great option for foreign investors who want to qualify for the EB-5 visa but who may not have the business background or the time to manage and direct investments solo.

Qualifying for the EB-5

To qualify for an EB-5 visa, a foreign investor must invest a substantial amount of capital into a U.S. based business venture. The capital must be at least $1,000,000, unless the investment is being made into a pre-designated area where investment funds are badly needed – in which case, the minimum investment amount is cut in half to $500,000. In addition to the minimum amount of capital needed to qualify under the program, an investment made must create at least 10 new jobs for the American workforce (if the funds are invested into a new venture), or must expand a business’ operations by 40%, either in terms of employees or net worth (if the funds are invested into an existing business venture).

Working with Legal Counsel

Perhaps the best way to go about applying for an EB-5 investor visa is to do it with the help of an immigration and visa attorney. An immigration and visa attorney can help the EB-5 applicant become eligible for an EB-5 visa under program requirements and, once eligible, can help the applicant move forward with the application process. Once all the paperwork is filled out and submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, the attorney will keep the applicant informed on the status of his or her application until a visa decision is made by immigration officials.

E-2 Investor Visa vs. EB-5 Investor Visa

Posted on: August 30, 2013 by in EB-5, visas
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bigstock-Passport-Gavel-5802855In an effort to promote American economic growth, the U.S. government issues visas to foreign investors who want to invest in U.S. based businesses and enterprises. There are two types of investor visas currently available to foreign citizens, the E-2 financier visa and the EB-5 financier visa.

EB-5 Investor Visa

The EB-5 financier visa is available to foreign citizens who invest a “substantial” amount of capital into a U.S. based business, which is generally $1 million, but can be reduced to $500,000 if the investment is made into a Targeted Employment Area, which is an area that is deemed to be in high need of economic stimulation and job growth. This program further requires that the investment creates at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers if made into a new business, or that the investment expands the net worth or work force of a business already in operation by at least 40%.

The investment can be made directly into a qualifying business venture by the financier on his or her own, or invested into a regional center, which is a private business entity that exists to direct EB-5 investment funds in specific geographic locations on behalf of foreign investors. To qualify for the EB-5 investor visa, an financier need not have any actual control over how the funds are spent or how a business is operated, which makes it an attractive option for foreign citizens who have money to invest but who don’t want to be responsible for directing funds and operations on their own.

E-2 Investor Visa

The E-2 financier visa is a visa specified for investors from treaty nations, that is, nations with which the United States maintains an active treaty of commerce. To qualify for an E-2 financier visa, the individual requesting the visa must be a citizen of a treaty nation, must have the intention of entering the United States for the sole purpose of developing and directing the investment, and must have at least a 50% ownership stake in the investment enterprise or exercise at least 50% control of the business operation by means of a management or corporate officer position.

Unlike the EB-5 investor visa, the E-2 investor visa does not detail a specific amount of capital which must be invested into a business in order to meet requirements. The program states that the investment must be substantial, which is interpreted by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services as in relation to the cost of buying or establishing a qualifying enterprise, as sufficient to sustain successful operations, and of such a magnitude to support the likelihood of the investor actually and successfully developing and directing the enterprise. In other words, the less expensive it is for the investor to get started in an enterprise, the lower the amount of an investment the investor will have to make in order to qualify for the E-2 visa.

Attorney Advice Should be Sought

While these are the basics of the EB-5 and E-2 investor visa programs, an experienced E-1 E-2 investor attorney should still be consulted for specific guidance on meeting visa requirements and on applying for the visa through the government.

Using Rental Income for an EB-5 Investment

Posted on: August 9, 2013 by in EB-5
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bigstock-Citizenship-documents-43205116Foreign citizens interested in applying for an EB-5 investor visa will no doubt have several questions about the visa itself and the application process. They may wonder what they need to do to qualify for the program and how to go about applying for the visa once the qualification requirements are met. The reason for so much hesitation is not unfounded, as U.S. immigration policy is inherently complex and continues to evolve. This is one of the main reasons why foreign investors should work with a qualified and experienced immigration attorney to facilitate the process.

Funding the EB5

In order to qualify for an EB-5 investor visa, foreign investors must invest at least $500,000 into an American based venture from a predesignated, hard hit and financially struggling industry, or at least $1,000,000 into a business of any other industry. For many foreign investors, coming up with the minimum required amount of investment capital is not a challenge. However, the United States has notoriously stringent proof of income requirements when it comes to foreign funds being allowed to enter the U.S. economy. Any income earned by a foreign investor to be invested into a U.S. based business venture must have been earned through a provably legitimate source. The federal government requires foreign investors to show that their investment funds were legitimately earned in order to avoid promotion of organized crime and terrorism.

Income Legitimacy

So long as an income has been earned legitimately, there are nearly no limits on where the funds can come from. If a foreign investor earns the money from rental property, this should not present any problems. To show the income was earned legitimately, foreign investors can present bank statements and tax documents along with an EB-5 visa application.

Other Requirements

In addition to meeting minimum investment amount requirements, the cash invested must create at least 10 jobs for American workers, if the cash is invested in a new U.S. based venture, or must expand a business’s net worth or employee force by at least 40%, if the cash is invested into an existing U.S. based venture. Additionally, the investment must have already been made, or a substantial step toward the investment already made, by the time the EB-5 visa application is submitted.

One thing that investors need to realize is that simply making an investment is not enough. After an application is approved, a conditional visa can be issued. If the business venture into which the capital was invested, however, is unable to sustain the 10 America jobs or the 40% expansion of the business for a set amount of time, then the investor will be unable to transition from the conditional visa to a permanent visa.

Regional Center Benefits

Along with investing directly into a business venture, foreign investors can invest in Regional Centers, which are privately held corporate entities that direct and manage EB-5 investment funds into regionally based business ventures on behalf of foreign investors. This offers a bit of security to the foreign investor because those who invest in Regional Centers are more likely to see their investment succeed than those who try investing into a business directly.