EB-5 Visa Background and What is a EB-5 Regional Center

EB-5 visas offer immigrant investors the most flexible path to permanent lawful U.S. residence and, ultimately, citizenship. EB-5 investor green card eligibility requires investing the required capital and proving a legal source of funds. If the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), an area with an unemployment rate of 1.5 times the national average, or a rural area, the required investment amount is $500,000. Otherwise, the required investment amount is $1,000,000. There are no restrictions regarding age, education, business experience, or language. EB-5 investors may live and work anywhere in the United States, regardless of the location of the investment.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers the Employment Based 5th Preference Program (EB-5 investment visas). This visa program was first created by the U.S. government in 1990, under section 203(b) (5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b) (5), to encourage economic development projects and job creation. The 1990 law required each investor to create 10 direct and/or indirect jobs. On October 6, 1992, the U.S. government created the Regional Center Program under Section 610 of Public Law 102-395 to further promote immigration and investment through the EB-5 visa category by creating regional centers.

What is a Regional Center?

A regional center is a geographic area designated by USCIS as eligible to receive capital from immigrant investors. A major advantage of the regional center program is to allow investors to rely on indirect job creation (i.e., using an approved economic forecasting model) rather than direct employment (i.e., hiring full-time employees).

To obtain regional center designation, promoters must submit a proposal to USCIS detailing how the investment program will achieve economic growth, business objectives, job creation and capital commitment. A regional center may focus on one investment or develop a variety of unrelated investments within its geographical boundary. American Life successfully manages 8 federally approved Regional Centers across the United States.

EB-5 investors receive a “conditional” or temporary green card valid for two years from the date of their first entry into the U.S. as a permanent resident. Simply put, as long as the regional center substantially complies with its business plan and fulfills job creation requirements, the investor will receive an “unconditional” or permanent green card. The entire process to obtain a permanent green card typically takes 3-5 years depending on USCIS processing times and the quality of the applicant’s documentation.

It is important to invest with the right EB-5 regional center. Feel free to ask us about our track record in delivering both permanent green cards and return on investments to investors. Click here for more detail regarding the EB-5 visa process.