USCIS administers the EB-5 Program. Under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence) if they:
- Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
- Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
This program is known as EB-5 for the name of the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive.
Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
Treaty Trader & Investor Visas
Generally, a citizen of a foreign country who wishes to enter the United States must first obtain a visa, either a nonimmigrant visa for temporary stay, or an immigrant visa for permanent residence. Treaty Trader (E-1) and Treaty Investor (E-2) visas are for citizens of countries with which the United States maintains treaties of commerce and navigation.
You must be coming to the United States to:
- engage in substantial trade, including trade in services or technology, in qualifying activities, principally between the United States and the treaty country; or
- develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in which you have invested a substantial amount of capital.
To qualify for a Treaty Trader (E-1) Visa:
- You must be a citizen of a treaty country.
- The trading firm for which you plan to come to the United States must have the nationality of the treaty country, meaning persons with the treaty country’s nationality must own at least 50 percent of the enterprise.
- The international trade must be substantial, meaning that there is a sizable and continuing volume of trade.
- More than 50 percent of the international trade involved must be between the United States and the treaty country.
- Trade means the international exchange of goods, services, and technology. Title of the trade items must pass from one party to the other.
- You must be an essential employee, employed in a supervisory or executive capacity, or possess highly specialized skills essential to the efficient operation of the firm. Ordinary skilled or unskilled workers do not qualify.
- executive, or highly specialized skill capacity. Ordinary skilled and unskilled workers do not qualify.
To qualify for a Treaty Investor (E-2) Visa:
- The investor, either a person, partnership or corporate entity, must have the citizenship of a treaty country.
- If a business, at least 50 percent of the business must be owned by persons with the treaty country’s nationality.
- The investment must be substantial, with investment funds or assets committed and irrevocable. It must be sufficient to ensure the successful operation of the enterprise.
- The investment must be a real operating enterprise, an active commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking. A paper organization, speculative or idle investment does not qualify. Uncommitted funds in a bank account or similar security are not considered an investment.
- It must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living to you and family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.
- You must have control of the funds, and the investment must be at risk in the commercial sense. Loans secured with the assets of the investment enterprise are not allowed.
- You must be coming to the United States to develop and direct the enterprise. If you are not the principal investor, you must be considered an essential employee, employed in a supervisory,