Requirement and Suitability
To qualify for the EB-5 Program, these are the major criteria that a foreign investor must comply with:
1. Invest US$500,000 in a qualifying project (or $1 million if the project is not located in a “Targeted Employment Area” (TEA)) that generates at least 10 jobs. TEA generally refers to certain areas that have experienced high unemployment or are in certain rural areas. The EB-5 investor’s investment must be placed “at risk” for the purpose of generating a return. Therefore, the investor can neither be guaranteed a return on a portion of his or her investment nor guaranteed the return of any portion of his or her capital investment. Otherwise, the investment is not considered “at risk”. New EB-5 regulations have been adopted which will raise the minimum investment amount for TEA projects from $500,000 to $900,000 (and $1.8 million for non-TEA projects). I-526 petitions filed before November 21, 2019 will be grandfathered under the current rules and the lower investment amount of $500,000.
2. Demonstrate the lawful sources of the funds used for such investment
3. Pass U.S. government background checks for criminal, political or financial activities
4. Meet the requirement as an Accredited Investor to the extent required by securities laws. An accredited investor includes anyone who:
a. earned income that exceeded US $200,000 (or $300,000 together with a spouse) in each of the prior two years, and reasonably expects the same for the current year, OR
b. has a net worth over US $1 million, either alone or together with a spouse (excluding the value of the person’s primary residence).
The EB-5 Program was created by the United States Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under this program, investors and their qualifying family members (spouses and children under 21 years old) may be granted permanent residency or a “Green Card” by investing US$1,000,000 (or US$500,000 if the investment is in a “Targeted Employment Area”, which is a rural area or an area that has high unemployment), and create at least 10 jobs. These jobs must be created within the two-year period after the investor has received their conditional permanent residency. The program has extensive requirements, including rules governing how the jobs are counted and what documentation needs to be provided.
Due to the passing of new regulations, it will likely be beneficial for investors who are interested in applying for a green card under the EB-5 program to make a decision prior to the new regulations becoming effective on November 21st, 2019