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What type of investment is required to qualify for the EB-5 visa?

Many countries offer investment visas to immigrants as a way to attract those with both business acumen and the financial resources necessary to bankroll entrepreneurial ventures. The United States is no exception to this rule.

In fact, the U.S. Congress first adopted what's come to be known as the EB-5 visa program back in 1990. Legislators saw it as a way to help stimulate the economy. They thought it would not just help create jobs, but introduce fresh capital into the economy as well.

To be eligible for the EB-5 program, prospective immigrants must be willing to invest in a relatively new type of commercial enterprise.

The business can be incorporated in a number of different ways, including as either a general or limited partnership, a corporation, holding company, sole proprietorship, joint venture or business trust. It must be incorporated as a for-profit company and be conducting business in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Additionally, to meet the "new enterprise" criterion, the commercial sector that you as an EB-5 immigrant look to invest in, must have been established on a date falling after November 29, 1990. If it was created prior to that, then it will be necessary to prove that the operation purchased was either reorganized or restructured in alignment with how new enterprises function.

If it was created before that date in 1990, then you'll also have to show that, through your investment, you've been able to employ at least 40 percent more employees or increase the company's revenue by that much. In order to qualify for this visa, you'll also need to put up enough capital necessary to hire at least 10 full-time employees.

Additionally, any debts that your business takes on must be backed by tangible assets or cash in the same amount. Most EB-5 immigrants are required to invest at least $1 million to be awarded this type of visa. However, if you're willing to commit to set up your business in a rural area or one with high unemployment, then you could be awarded this visa with an investment of half that amount.

If you're interested in learning more about what your prospects are for being awarded an EB-5 visa, then you should consult an experienced Norcross immigration attorney who's helped others do the same.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "About the EB-5 visa classification," accessed Sep. 01, 2017

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