The EB-5 visa program is available for investors who invest a minimum amount of capital in a U.S. business. In order to qualify for the EB-5 investor visa, the business investment must meet one of the following requirements:
- The foreign national applicant must invest at least $ 1 million in a new commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 new jobs for U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents within two years of the investor’s admission into the United States.
- The foreign national must invest $500,000 in a Regional Center in a targeted area in a United States.
- The foreign national must invest at least $500,000 in a commercial enterprise in a targeted employment area, which is a rural of less than 20,000 residents or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150% of the national average.
Because EB-5 applicants enter into investment agreements with their business or regional center, the investment could be deemed securities, thereby bringing it under the purview of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Accordingly, businesses and regional centers who raise capital through the EB-5 program, along with EB-5 visa holders who invest funds in a U.S. company or regional center, need to be aware of various SEC regulations.
First, all securities must be registered with the SEC, unless they meet an exemption. Certain EB-5 investors may qualify for a registration exemption under Regulation D. In order to qualify for a Regulation D exemption, the EB-5 investor must be an accredited investor, which means that he or she must have a net worth in excess of $1 million or had income in excess of $200,000 in each of the previous two years (or combined income of $300,000 if married). Additionally, in order to qualify for the Regulation D exemption, the securities cannot be resold and the EB-5 regional center or business owner cannot engage in general advertising or solicitation activities.
EB-5 investors and regional centers also need to be aware of broker-dealer regulations. If a regional center and investor engage in negotiations, the SEC might find a broker-dealer relationship, which would require accreditation and registration.
Contact an Immigration Lawyer
Due to specific and strict requirements of the EB-5 investor visa, it is highly recommended that businesses and investors considering the EB-5 investment visa consult with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer. The Chicago immigration attorneys at the Shapiro Law Group focus on helping businesses, investors, and families with all of their immigration and visa needs. Contact our office at (847)564-0712 to speak with an experienced Illinois employment immigration attorney about the EB-5 investor visa.