Getting an EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa is not easy. These visas are aimed at people who can invest a massive amount of money into the United States. The requirement is one million dollars, for most businesses, along with the creation of, or maintenance of, at least ten jobs for people other than the investor themselves, and the immediate family of the investor.
This requirement is relaxed slightly for people who are investing in rural areas, and areas where the unemployment rate is equal to or more than 150% of the national average. If you are not sure whether the area you are thinking of investing in qualifies for this, then contact the state authority. Some states maintain list of targeted unemployment areas and will be able to offer you advice on this. Not all states offer this advice, however, so you might have to find the statistics from another source.
You can invest yourself, or you can use a fund manager to invest for you. Some businesses that have franchise opportunities will advertise themselves as being EB-5 investment opportunities. If you are interested in that type of business, then this can be a good option, because it will likely be cheaper than a fund manager (many regional fund management companies charge fees for handling your investment), and it means that you will have a ready-made franchise business, complete with the contacts, expertise and brand name that being a franchise manager provides.
The application process for the EB-5 visa is complex and long, and there are caps on the number of people who can take advantage of the opportunity each year. Even if you are accepted, initially, you will only be given leave to remain in the country for two years. Around 90 days before your two year period expires you will be asked to provide proof that you have made the required investment, and that you have either safeguarded ten jobs or created them. If you have not yet created ten jobs, then you must be able to prove that you will do so within a reasonable period of time.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa is not a way to just ‘buy a passport’ – it is something that must benefit the United States. The number of visas of this kind granted is only in the thousands per year, because the controls are so strict. However, if you have the required funds, and you want to get access to the kind of talent pool that lives in America, it is a great option. Make sure that you seek legal advice before you start investing, though, and if you go through a regional investment management company, practice due diligence before choosing them. This is a large sum of money that you are playing with, and you must remember that if you are ever turned down for a visa, getting re-granted it could be incredibly difficult. You must make sure that you do it correctly.