Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘American Investor Visa’

29th October 2010

In recent postings on this blog, the administration has noted that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is poised to raise some of the costs and fees associated with American Immigration. To quote directly from the official website of USCIS:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reminds customers that its new fee schedule goes into effect Nov. 23, 2010.  Applications or petitions postmarked or otherwise filed on or after this date must include the new fee, or they will be rejected.

USCIS published the new fee schedule in the Federal Register on Sept. 24, following a comprehensive review of public comments received after publication of the proposed rule this summer.

The new fee schedule increases application and petition fees by an average of about 10 percent but does not increase the naturalization application fee.

Although no one likes to see fee increases, there are some who argue that an increase in processing fees is a necessary consequence of both inflation and the rising cost of the services sought. It should be noted that USCIS recently posted a shortfall and the recent fee increase would seem to be one response to this issue.

The new policy will also usher in new fees that have not previously existed. As they did not exist before it is not really correct to call the new fees “increases,” but as they result in new overall costs, the term increase could be used since the fee was technically increased from nothing to the new fee. To quote from another page of USCIS’s website:

The final fee rule establishes three new fees, including a fee for regional center designations under the Immigrant Investor (EB-5) Pilot Program, a fee for individuals seeking civil surgeon designation, and a fee to recover USCIS costs to process immigrant visas granted by the Department of State. Additionally, the final rule reduces and eliminates several fees, including some for servicemembers and certain veterans of the U.S. armed forces who are seeking citizenship-related benefits. The final rule also expands the availability of fee waivers to additional categories.

It is interesting to note that one of the newly instituted fees involves the EB-5 visa (also referred to as an investor visa). There are those who posit that the EB-5 visa might become increasingly popular in the upcoming months as the American dollar remains somewhat low compared to other currencies. Therefore, some foreign nationals could invest in EB-5 programs at comparatively cheaper rates due to the current exchange rate with the dollar. This is a net benefit to the United States as influxes of foreign capital would likely prove beneficial in a monetary sense while the infusion of foreign investors with a stake in the American economy could prove to be a catalyst for future innovation, economic activity, and overall growth.

As noted in a previous posting, the USCIS fee associated with the K-1 visa is expected to decrease when the final rule in promulgated. Although, Department of State fees associated with the K1 visa interview have recently been increased.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa Thailand or K1 Visa Thailand.

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30th July 2010

The EB-5 Visa: What Is It?

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In recent months, this author has received a number of inquires regarding the American EB-5 visa. Many seem interested in this visa category because it accords the bearer with substantial benefits in the United States and also puts EB-5 visa holders on track to obtain United States Citizenship. In order to provide the reading public with relevant information, this post will provide a brief overview of the EB-5 visa and some information regarding the application process.

A well rounded layman’s definition of the EB-5 visa can be found at wikipedia.com. To briefly quote wikipedia’s entry regarding the EB-5 visa directly:

“The 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.[1] To obtain the visa, individuals must invest at least $1 million, creating at least 10 jobs.[2]

By investing in certain qualified investments or regional centers with high unemployment rates, the required investment amount is $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 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.”

Although the above definition provides superficial insight into the mechanics of the EB-5 visa, the official website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) may provide deeper elucidation into the eligibility requirements for an EB-5 visa:

Eligibility Criteria

New Business Enterprise

To qualify you must:

  1. Invest or be in the process of investing at least $1,000,000.  If your investment is in a designated targeted employment area (discussed further below) then the minimum investment requirement is $500,000.
  2. Benefit the U.S. economy by providing goods or services to U.S. markets.
  3. Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers.  This includes U.S. citizens, Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents) and other individuals lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. (however it does not include you (the immigrant), or your spouse, sons or daughters).
  4. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the new business or directly manage it through formulating business policy – for example as a corporate officer or board member.

Targeted Employment Area is defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.”  For further detail click on the Laws section of this website and access section 203(b)(5)(B) of the Immigration Nationality Act (INA).

Troubled Business

To qualify you must:

  1. Invest in a business that has existed for at least two years.
  2. Invest in a business that has incurred a net loss, based on generally accepted accounting principles, for the 12 to 24 month period before you filed the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by an Alien Entrepreneur.
  3. The loss for the 12 to 24 month period must be at least equal to 20 percent of the business’s net worth before the loss.
  4. Maintain the number of jobs at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years.
  5. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the troubled business or directly manage it through formulating business policy.  For example as a corporate officer or board member.
  6. The same investment requirements of the new commercial enterprise investment apply to a troubled business investment ($1,000,000 or $500,000 in a targeted employment area).

Regional Center Pilot Program

To qualify you must:

  1. Invest at least $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a regional center affiliated new commercial enterpriose or a troubled business located within the area of the USCIS designated Regional Center.  Regional Centers are defined and discussed further below.
  2. Create at least 10 new full-time jobs either directly through the capital investment.

A Regional Center is defined as any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. The organizers of a regional center seeking the regional center designation from USCIS must submit a proposal showing:

  • How the regional center plans to focus on a geographical region within the U.S., and msut explain how the regional center will achieve the required economic growth within this regional area
  • That the regional center’s business plan can be relied upon as a viable business model grounded in reasonable and credible estimates and assumptions for market conditions, project costs, and activity timelines
  • How in verifiable detail (using economic models in some instances) jobs will be created directly or indirectly through capital investments made in accordance with the regional center’s business plan
  • The amount and source of capital committed to the project and the promotional efforts made and planned for the business project.

As can be seen from the above citation, the eligibility criteria for an EB-5 visa are rigorous, but not insurmountable for an applicant who has the assistance of a competent and experienced US Immigration attorney.  Obtainment of EB-5 visas can require a great deal of time and expense in an effort to ensure that the eligibility and application requirements are met at the time of application submission. Those interested in obtaining such a travel document are well advised to contact an American Immigration lawyer.

For further details about US Immigration in general please see: US Visa.


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