Regional Centers are not federally operated, but are private entities which can be a major help to prospective foreign investors who are interested in investing in the United States in order to gain an EB-5 investor visa.
The EB-5 investor visa program allows foreign investors who invest the minimum required amount into a new or existing U.S. business to be issued an EB-5 investor visa, as well as visas for the investor’s spouse and children, that would allow them to live and work in the United States.
The primary requirements of the program state that the investor must make an investment of at least $500,000 in a business from a predesignated industry, or at least $1,000,000 in any other industry. The government specifies industries which qualify for a $500,000 investment in order to promote investment in hard hit or struggling sectors of American commerce.
The program further requires that the funds invested in the U.S. business, if invested in a brand new business, create at least 10 jobs for American workers or, if invested in an existing business, to increase the business’ net worth or employee workforce by 40% or greater. Strict requirements regarding the source of the funds to be invested, which are intended to reduce the risk of abuse of the EB-5 system by terrorist and criminal organizations, will require the foreign investor to show that any funds invested under the program were earned legitimately.
Self Investment or Regional Center
When deciding where to invest his or her money, the foreign investor has two primary options. The first is to oversee and direct the investment of funds on his or her own, and the second is to invest the funds in a Regional Center. The benefit to investing in a Regional Center is that the foreign investor will have a higher chance of investment success since the Regional Center will take over the job of investing the funds on the investor’s behalf. If the investor has no experience in building a business or directing investment funds, then investing in a Regional Center can reduce many of the hassles of making an investment in a new or existing U.S. business.
Regional Centers are established as private business entities whose sole purpose is to oversee and direct the investment of funds in a primary geographic region. Even though they are privately structured, several local and state governments have taken it upon themselves to create Regional Centers in order to promote investment in their own backyards.
Why Investment Success is Important
After a foreign citizen has made a qualifying investment into a new or existing U.S. business, that foreign citizen can be issued a provisional EB-5 investor visa which is good for a period of two years. If the investment fails to create the required number of jobs or fails to expand the business as required, then the investor’s EB-5 visa can be revoked.
If a foreign citizen feels that he or she may not be able to meet the requirements of the program within the two year provisional period, then an extension to his or her provisional visa may be allowed, but extensions are issued on a case by case basis.
No matter where an investor wants to invest, working with an experienced immigration and EB-5 investor visa lawyer will help the investor throughout the investment and visa application process. Contact our EB-5 investor visa attorneys today to learn more.