National Public Radio reported last week on the recent increase in popularity for the fifth employment based visa preference category, or the “EB-5” category. The EB-5 visa category, which Congress created in 1990, is available to foreign investors seeking to enter the United States in order to invest in a business or company that will benefit the United States economy. There are two ways to invest within the EB-5 category: either by creating a new commercial enterprise, or investing in a troubled business. The minimum investment is $500,000, and must create at least 10 full-time jobs. The jobs must be created for U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or others lawfully authorized to work in the United States, and may not include any jobs for the intending immigrant investor or members of their immediate family.
Through the EB-5 visa category, it is possible for qualifying applicants to self-petition for their permanent residence, and so may provide a quicker way to permanent residence than other categories. The intending immigrant must file a Form I-526 Petition for an Alien Entrepreneur, followed by the I-485 application to adjust status to lawful permanent resident. The applicants are granted conditional permanent residency for a two year period, and finally, they must file a Form I-829 Petition by an Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions 90 days prior to the two year anniversary of the granting of the conditional Green Card.
NPR reported that with the current downturn in the U.S. economic climate, it has been increasingly difficult for businesses to obtain the loans and start-up capital that they may need to expand their businesses. Many are turning to foreign investors to provide that financial backing, and then those foreigners are able to apply for the EB-5 visa category. NPR quoted Bill Stenger, the owner of a ski resort in Vermont, who reported that they had raised nearly $200 million dollars from foreign investors to help expand their business from seasonal winter recreation only to being a year-round resort. With that construction and expansion capital, the resort had been able to hire 50 individuals so far.
To read more on the EB-5 program or to see the NPR article, please visit:
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