The immigrant investor, or EB-5, program is a highly beneficial permanent residence option for the wealthy individual. Since there is no quota waiting list in this preference category, it enables a foreign national to obtain permanent residence status more expeditiously than with most other options.
The EB-5 category requires an investment of $1 million (or $500,000 in a high unemployment or rural area) in a commercial enterprise that will employ 10 full-time US workers. Although the investor’s role cannot be completely passive, he or she does not have to be involved in any way in the day-to-day management of the business unless he or she wants to do so. It is critically important that the investor be able to document the lawful source of investment funds, whether his or her own or funds given to him or her as a gift. The permanent residence obtained by the investor is conditional for two years and can be made permanent upon satisfying USCIS at the end of the two years that the investment proceeds have not been withdrawn and the requisite jobs have been created.
The investor may invest in his or her own commercial enterprise or in a commercial enterprise owned by other parties. The investor may also choose to invest in a pre-approved “regional center”. Regional centers are geographical areas for which USCIS has determined that investments will create the necessary 10 jobs per investor, whether directly or indirectly, in the geographical area. Virtually all of the regional centers are in geographical areas where $500,000 is the required amount of investment. Most of the regional centers involve limited partnership investments for which having the rights of a limited partner is considered sufficient to make the investor not completely passive.
Ron Klasko heads up the firm’s EB-5 practice team. Ron serves as counsel to a number of the approved regional centers, including two of the three most successful regional centers with condition removal approvals. Ron has lectured extensively and written numerous articles on the EB-5 program and has prepared and filed large numbers of successful EB-5 petitions, both regional center and individual petitions. He has chaired the EB-5 Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association for the past three years.
The firm’s EB-5 practice team works with developers and business owners on options available for developing new projects that might qualify for EB-5 investments, either based on individual EB-5 petitions or through new or existing regional centers. Where appropriate, we file applications for new regional centers and exemplar petitions for new regional center projects. We also counsel foreign nationals on the advantages and disadvantages of individual and regional center EB-5 petitions as compared with other immigration options. On individual EB-5 petitions, we work with corporate and tax counsel on structuring commercial enterprises that comply with the EB-5 regulations. On all cases, the team works with the foreign national on documenting the lawful source of investment funds. The end result is the filing of an individual or regional center EB-5 petition with substantial documentation. Finally, the firm’s EB-5 practice team also works with its foreign national clients on filing the application for conditional permanent residency, the condition removal petition and ultimately, where requested, an application for naturalization to U.S. citizenship.