People come to America for many reasons. Some flee as refugees; others are interested in establishing a better quality of life for their familiar and loved one. The Immigrant Investor Program not only helps those coming to the United States, but is beneficial to the American economy and citizens as well. Through the Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 classification), the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (UCSIS) offers foreign investors the opportunity to invest in new commercial enterprises in the United States. Congress started the program in 1990 with the intention of stimulating the American economy by creating jobs and capital investment via investors from outside of the United States.
The Fifth Preference (EB-5) employment-based immigration category is for immigrant investors who create employment opportunities in the United States. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) allocates approximately 10,000 visas per year in the EB-5 category. An applicant’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 are also eligible to apply for an EB-5 visa green card.
If you desire to invest through the EB-5 classification, you must invest in a new commercial enterprise. According to the USCIS, a “new commercial enterprise” must have been established after November 29th, 1990. If the business was restructured after 1990, it may still qualify for the program if the business was restructured after 1990 so that a new commercial enterprise resulted or it expanded so much through investment that the business’s net worth increased 40% or took on 40% more employees. A commercial enterprise is any profitable activity formed to conduct lawful business.
If you have a lawful source of funds, meet the requirements set forth by the UCSIS, and create ten full-time jobs or more (at least 35 hours a week) in the franchise, an EB-5 visa can likely be attained based upon direct investment in a franchise. In most cases, an EB-5 visa applicant applying based upon investment in a franchise needs to meet the minimum investment amount of $1 million dollars unless the franchise operation is located in a targeted employment area (TEA), in which case the minimum investment amount would be $500,000. In such a case, it is advisable to make sure that in fact the job creation works in terms of what is normal and profitable for the particular franchise. The enterprise should be sufficiently capitalized and earning income at a sufficient level, as well as fulfilling other requirements that we can help you navigate.