USCIS administers the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a program first enacted as a pilot in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. On Dec. 27, 2020, a law was signed extending the Regional Center Program through June 30, 2021. The Program has not yet been extended, it is anticipated that the Program will be extended in 2022.
All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise that was established:
- After Nov. 29, 1990; or
- On or before Nov. 29, 1990, that was:
- Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results; or
- Expanded through the investment, resulting in at least a 40% increase in the net worth or number of employees.
Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business, including:
- A sole proprietorship;
- Partnership (whether limited or general);
- Holding company;
- Joint venture;
- Business trust; or
- Other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned.
This definition includes a commercial enterprise consisting of a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, if each such subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.
This definition does not include noncommercial activity, such as owning and operating a personal residence.
An EB-5 investor must invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.
CAPITAL INVESTMENT REQUIREMENTS
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents, and indebtedness secured by assets owned by immigrant investors. Investors must be personally and primarily liable and the assets of the new commercial enterprise/
EB-5 Investors must establish that they are the legal owner of the capital invested.
The minimum investment amounts by filing date and investment location are:
Targeted Employment Area Investment Amount
Area Investment Amount
On or After 11/21/2019
* See Behring Regional Center LLC v. Wolf, 20-cv-09263-JSC; Modernization Rule vacated; current Minimum Investment Amount is $1,000,000.00.
** See Behring Regional Center LLC v. Wolf, 20-cv-09263-JSC; Modernization Rule vacated; current Target Employment Area Investment Amount is $500,00.00.
A targeted employment area can be, at the time of investment, either:
- A rural area; or
- An area that has experienced high unemployment (defined as at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate).
A rural area is any area other than an area within a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more.
A high-unemployment area may be any of the following areas, and the (area must have experienced an average unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate):
- An MSA;
- A specific county in an MSA;
- A county in which a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more is located; or
- A city or town with a population of 20,000 or more outside of an MSA.
UPDATED: December 15, 2021