WHAT IS EB-5?
Congress established the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation. This program enables foreign nationals to obtain permanent U.S. residency through capital investment in the United States that creates a new commercial enterprise or revives a troubled business and leads directly to job creation. There are 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas available annually.
Two distinct EB-5 pathways are available for an immigrant investor to gain lawful permanent residence for themselves and their immediate family; the Basic Program and the Regional Center Pilot Program. Both programs require that the immigrant make an “at-risk” capital investment of either $500,000 or $1,000,000 in a new commercial enterprise located within the United States. (Investment depends on whether the investment is in a designated Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or not. TEA is defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.”)
The new commercial enterprise must create or preserve 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two and a half years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two and a half year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
WHAT IS A REGIONAL CENTER?
Regional Centers were created to identify projects and provide EB-5 visa applicants with investment opportunities that fulfill all USCIS requirements and create the required jobs in order to secure visas for the EB-5 investors.
A Regional Center is defined as any economic entity, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment. The organizers of a Regional Center must seek the “Regional Center” designation from USCIS via an I-924 petition/application.
HOW DOES THE REGIONAL CENTER PROGRAM BENEFIT PROJECT OWNERS AND DEVELOPERS?
The Regional Center Program carries considerable advantages over the Basic Program (also known as Direct EB-5). Direct EB-5 requires foreign nationals to invest directly into a job-creating project over which they exert managerial control. In the Regional Center context, investments are passive and jobs created both directly and indirectly are counted. Additionally, an investment in a project promoted by a Regional Center does not require the investor to manage their investment or the company on a day-to-day basis.
Because of these inherent advantages, nearly 90% of all EB-5 investments are currently made through the Regional Center Program.
WHAT IS THE INVESTMENT REQUIREMENT FOR THE EB-5 PROGRAM?
The minimum investment required for the EB-5 program is $1,000,000. However, if the investment is made in a TEA – “Targeted Employment Area” (an area with High Unemployment or a Rural Area), the minimum qualifying investment is reduced to $500,000. The investment must be made with funds belonging to the applicant and all capital used for investment must be acquired through lawful means.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE EB-5 PROGRAM FOR INVESTORS?
- Qualifying investors, their spouse and any unmarried minor children under the age of 21 will be granted US Lawful Permanent Residency.
- The process for EB-5 visa fulfillment is significantly expedited as compared with other employment and family-based green card categories
- The investor and his/her family may live/work anywhere in the United States.
- The investor and his/her family will receive education benefits including admission to Universities at US resident costs.
- After five years, the investor and their family may obtain US citizenship, subject to meeting all immigration requirements, as required under law.
- There is no minimum requirement as to age, no requirement to speak English, employment experience, or education requirement.
- There is no “sponsor” requirement for the EB-5 program.
HOW DOES ASCENDAMERICA DIFFERENTIATE ITSELF FROM OTHER REGIONAL CENTERS?
Our roots are in lending to top-tier real estate developers. Consequently, we follow a tried and true due diligence process that includes:
- Working only with experienced developers that have “skin in the game”
- Structuring offerings that keep the developers interested in project completion.
- Employing conservative EB-5 Capital to project cost ratios.
- Incorporating large job-creation buffers so that our projects remain qualified regardless of market shifts.