Investing in a USCIS–identified Target Employment Area

Mar 7, 2017 by

In 1990, the United States Congress created the EB-5 Visa Program to boost the U.S. nation’s economy through job creation by allowing wealthy foreign nationals to seek lawful permanent residency in exchange for capital investment. The program, also called the Immigrant Investor Program, requires a minimum $1,000,000 investment into a qualified U.S. business, which would create or save 10 U.S. jobs. An EB-5 investment of $500,000 is also allowed if the business is located in a Target Employment Area (TEA). An area is considered a TEA if, at the time of the investment, the area is a rural area with a population of less than 20,000 people or it is suffering from high unemployment of at least 150% of the national average.

Regardless of the form of investment made, an investor’s main visa commitment is the creation of at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs. At the end of his/her two-year conditional residency, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will evaluate his/her business and determine if he/she has invested the full amount of capital, and created the required number of jobs. Fulfillment of the terms of the visa will allow an investor to apply for the removal of the conditions on his/her visa and enjoy unrestricted access to the U.S.

While investors may freely choose to which type of investment they want to put in their money, many of those who have already obtained permanent residency through this endeavor advise on making the investment in a Regional Center for the following reasons:

  • Investing in an EB-5 Regional Center costs lower;
  • Ensuring that the “create 10 jobs” requirement is met becomes the responsibility of the EB-5 Regional Center;
  • By choosing a more stable and well run Regional Center, meeting the “create 10 jobs” requirement becomes more certain and faster; and,
  • Allows the investor to do something else, such as practice his or her real profession.

The EB-5 Program sets no minimum requirements for age, education, employment experience or English proficiency plus, once a potential investor’s proposal gets approved, he/she, with his/her spouse and unmarried children below 21 years old will receive a conditional Green Card, making them conditional permanent residents in the U.S. Despite the conditions, the investor and his/her family can enjoy many privileges, like getting employed, attending schools, and have residence anywhere.

Many applications for an EB-5 visa or for the removal of the conditions on the visa are denied the first time they are reviewed because of a lack of sufficient evidence to support a beneficiary’s application. For this reason, any Russian-speaking business immigration attorney would advise that an investor consult with an immigration attorney with whom he/she can work with and trust.

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