Florida EB5 Investor Visa

The EB-5 Visa for Immigrant Investors is a United States visa created by the Immigration Act of 1990. The EB-5 Regional Center process provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who personally invest their funds in a U.S. corporation or entity designated as a Regional Center by the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service). To obtain the immigrant visa (the green card/permanent residency) the foreign national must personally invest at least US$1 million which will create at least 10 full time jobs either directly or indirectly. In addition, by investing in certain Regional Centers located in TEA’s (Targeted Employment Areas); i.e. areas that are rural or areas of high unemployment, the required investment amount is only US$500,000.

The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program was created by Section 610 of Public Law 102-395 on October 6, 1992. This was in accordance with 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” allows a foreign national investor to obtain first a Conditional Permanent Residency for a two-year period. Toward the end of the two-year period, the foreign national investor has to file another petition (i.e. showing the total required investment was made and that the investment created 10 full time jobs either directly or indirectly during the two-year period). If the petition is approved, then the foreign national obtains the unconditional Alien Card, which is full permanent residency in the US.

A Regional Center is defined as any economic unit, public or private, engaged in the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment.

Prior law required the investment in the Regional Center to generate an increase in export sales, however statutory amendments in 2000 and 2002 no longer require this increase. The individual receiving the visa is not required to actively manage the business invested in.  Foreign national investors who wish to invest their personal funds in their own new or existing business or operation, and who wish to have an active role in the direction and management of the U.S. operation should consider the traditional EB-5 process. An investment of either US$1 million or US $500,000 will be required. Foreign national investors who prefer a more passive role in the management of their investment should consider the EB5 Regional Program.

Basic Requirements of the EB-5 Program:

  • The investor must start or invest in an established business or Regional Center in the U.S.
  • The investor must invest $1 million USD or $500,000 USD if investing in certain regional centers in targeted employment areas.
  • The investor must create 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

 General Information for EB-5 Investors:

  • No prior business experience is required. Likewise, the investor is not required to demonstrate any minimum level of education. The only requirement for the investor is that he/she has the required net worth and capital.
  • No need to speak English.
  • Investor must be in good health.
  • Assets invested must be lawfully gained and source of funds identified.
  • Money may be gifted by a parent or relative within approved guidelines.
  • Husband, wife and any of their unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible. It is possible for adopted children to be included in the family if adopted under the age of 16.

 Process:

  • Once approved for the EB-5 immigrant visa, the investor receives a “conditional” Green Card, which must be reissued after two years and is subject to removal of certain conditions.
  • One year and nine months after it is issued, there is a three-month window during which the investor must file another application with the USCIS to certify that all of the funds have been invested and employment created in a regional center whether directly or indirectly.
  • When the conditional resident status has been lifted, full resident status is granted and a permanent Green Card is issued.
  • Once you obtain a Green Card and become a legal permanent resident, you have most of the rights and obligations of a U.S. citizen, except that you cannot vote and you are not entitled to some public benefits. You are subject to the same tax filing requirements, tax rates and deductions as U.S. citizens.
  • One of the most important rights legal permanent residents possess is the right to obtain U.S. citizenship after five years.
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