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EB-5 Investor Visa Program of US

EB-5 visa for Immigrant Investors is a United States visa created by the Immigration Act of 1990. This visa provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. To obtain the visa, individuals must invest $1,000,000 or $500,000 in new or troubled businesses creating at least 10 jobs. The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program was created by Section 610 of Public Law 102-395 on October 6, 1992. This was in accordance to a Congressional mandate aimed at stimulating economic activity and job growth, while allowing eligible aliens the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents. This “Pilot Program” required only $500,000 of investment in exchange for permanent resident status. The investment could only be received by an economic unit defined as a Regional Center. By investing and by creating 10 jobs for US workers, an alien investor may obtain green cards for himself and his immediate family. Immigrant visas allocated to the EB-5 category is 10,000 which are highly underutilized in the past. However, the category is growing in popularity with a recent surge of 4,218 visas obtained in 2009 compared to just 1,443 visas in 2008. Most of the EB-5 visas in the past year were issued through Regional Center Pilot Programs.

There are two ways for an alien investor to obtain lawful permanent resident status under the EB-5 category: through the Basic Program or the Regional Center Pilot Program. Whereas the Basic Program requires investment in a commercial enterprise located anywhere within the US, the Regional Center Program requires investment in a regional-center-affiliated new commercial enterprise or a troubled business within a designated regional center. Also, the Basic Program requires that the alien’s investment directly create 10 new full time jobs, whereas this requirement in Regional Center Program may be satisfied by indirectly created job opportunities to the local job market due to the investment.

In both the Basic and Regional Center Programs, the alien must make a minimum investment of $1,000,000 unless the investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). TEAs are defined as either: (1) rural areas (areas with populations of less than 20,000), or (2) areas with unemployment rates 150% or more of the national rate. If the investment is made in a TEA, a reduced $500,000 investment is allowed. In the past, TEAs have been focused on the development of rural locations. In order to prove that the proposed regional center is located in an area of high unemployment, the proposal must either submit unemployment rate data or obtain a letter from an authorized State agent certifying that the area has been designated as having a high rate of unemployment.

The individual receiving the visa is not required to actively manage the business invested in. For investors who wish to invest in a new or existing business, have an active role in the management of the operation (although simply being a Limited partner in the organization that owns the business qualifies as “AN ACTIVE ROLE.”), and have at least one million US dollars to invest ($500,000 if the business is located in certain areas deemed as Rural or with very high unemployment), then the traditional EB-5 visa is the best option. Start Up visa Act Bill was introduced in Senate on February 24, 2010 by Senators Lugar and Kerry. It is in fact a modified EB-5 Visa to create more jobs in America and it may be called as EB-6 Visa.