EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
In 1990, to spur foreign investments into the United States economy, Congress implemented the fifth employment-based preference pilot program (EB-5). Known as the EB-5 Regional Center Investment Program, this initiate gave permission to the United States Citizen Immigration Services office (USCIS) to elect eligible candidates as Regional Centers. Such Regional Centers are a private corporation or enterprise whose investment parameters are directly monitored and regulated by the USCIS. Foreign nationals like Chinese and Mexican individuals looking to invest a minimum of $500,000 (USD) in a U.S. business that has the potential to save or create a minimum of ten full time jobs and is located in Targeted Employment Areas (“TEA”) are thus eligible for the program. Though there is little flexibility on the monetary investment requirement, the minimum jobs created requirement may be fulfilled from employment created both directly and indirectly through the development.
Eligibility for participation in a Regional Center’s EB-5 program is contingent on prior approval from the USCIS through an independent petition for the EB-5 visa. The due diligence performed by the USCIS includes a detailed review of the sources of the investor’s funds, family history, and other representations of the head of household and his/her immediate family member under the age of 21.
From fiscal year (FY) 2008 to March 31, 2017, the EB-5 Regional Center Program contributed $19.9 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) to various projects throughout the U.S. that promote regional economic development.
With approval rate of 93.4% (FY2017, Q2), 39,790 I-526 petitions have been approved. In addition, 16,099 I-829 petition has been granted with approval rate of 92.28% (FY2017, Q2).