Step 2 — Make Decisions
The EB-5 application process can be complex and challenging, especially if you are conducting it from overseas. There are a number of preliminary decisions you can make before starting the process that will help you avoid complications later:
a. Choose a reputable immigration attorney.
Ask for references and contact previous clients to make sure you retain a lawyer with an established reputation. Your attorney should make the application process much easier for you, but the wrong attorney could make it a lot harder and possibly even cost you your visa.
b. Decide which EB-5 Visa option you want to apply for: a Regional Center Investment or a Direct Investment.
There are two ways to qualify for the EB-5 programs – Invest through a government-licensed Regional Center, with their help and assistance or invest this money directly, yourself.
Option 1- EB-5 Regional Centers
With this option you give your money to a federally licensed Regional Center who uses the money in a specific way and takes care of all paperwork and governmental regulation. You can invest either $1,000,000 in most geographic areas of the country or a smaller investment of only $500,000 made in a “Targeted Employment Area” (TEA) – meaning an area with a higher unemployment rate than usual. This option means that you do not have to work to prove your qualifications (investment, employment, status, paperwork, etc.). This means that you have time to do what you want to do while living in the United States – get a job, enjoy your life and more. This option is best for those who are not interested in day-to-day management of a business. Also, the investor is not required to live in the geographic location of their investment so you can live anywhere in the United States that they want.
A Regional Center will work with your attorney to provide a number of services for you, such as: providing you a low-risk investment project, ensuring that the investment project is carried out in a USCIS designated area, managing your investment, and meeting terms of EB-5 requirements including job creation. They will also handle visa-related paperwork and proof of status.
Option 2- Direct Investment
This program requires direct involvement on behalf of the investor and an investment into a commercial enterprise.
In order to qualify for this program, an investor must comply with three requirements:
- Make an investment in a new commercial enterprise (may be your own), or prove that your investment has caused a 40% growth in a previously existing business.
- Make an investment of at least $1,000,000 into an enterprise (or $500,000 in a designated “Targeted Employment Area” (TEA))
- Lead to the direct (or indirect if working in a TEA) creation of jobs for at least 10 full-time U.S. workers.