The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) administers the EB-5 Program, which allows eligible foreign nationals to attain permanent resident status (green card) and bring a spouse and unmarried children (under 21) to America with them. 

In this article, you will discover whether it is possible to start a business to qualify for EB-5 status.  

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa – The Fundamentals  

The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to apply for permanent residence in the United States if they: 

  • Invest the required amount of capital in a US-based commercial enterprise, and 
  • Plan to create (or preserve) ten permanent full-time jobs for American workers 

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, which introduced new regulatory criteria for the EB-5 program and the Regional Center Program.  

Hence, applicants have the option to either apply the required amount to create a new business or invest in a Regional Center, which is a business entity regulated by USCIS to pool capital from multiple EB-5 investors to fund a specific endeavor.  

Since the introduction of the new EB-5 rules, the minimum amount of investment required is $1,050,000. If the foreign investor decides to invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), it is possible to qualify for a reduced investment of $800,000. 

A Targeted Employment Area (TEA) can be either a rural area or an area affected by a high unemployment rate at the time of investment. 

Can I Start My Own Business for EB-5? – In Detail 

The investment of the minimum amount of capital required in a new US commercial enterprise is the foundation of the EB-5 program. Foreign investors not only can start a new EB-5 but they are incentivized to do so.  

Under USCIS standards, any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business classifies as an eligible commercial enterprise, including: 

  • Sole proprietorships 
  • Limited partnerships 
  • General partnerships 
  • Holding companies (and their eligible wholly-owned subsidiaries) 
  • Joint ventures 
  • Corporations 
  • Business trusts 
  • Limited liability companies, or 
  • Other entities dedicated to generating profit (which may be publicly or privately owned) 

Please note that the USCIS definition of commercial enterprise does not include any type of noncommercial activity. 

EB-5 Job Creation Requirements  

If the new commercial enterprise is not located within a regional center, the applicant’s EB-5 investment must directly create at least ten full-time jobs to meet USCIS requirements. 

In such cases, the new commercial enterprise or its wholly-owned subsidiaries must employ the qualifying workers directly. Conversely, for a new commercial enterprise located within a regional center, the applicant’s investment can create the required full-time positions directly or indirectly.  

Accordingly, up to 90% of the jobs created by the EB-5 investment can be indirect jobs, which are positions held outside of the new commercial enterprise but created as a result of the applicant’s investment.  

Do You Want to Start a New US Business as an EB-5 Investor? – Immediately Contact a Well-Versed Immigration Attorney 

With years of experience in US business immigration law, Attorney Romy B. Jurado willingly wants to help you succeed. Waste no time – contact us today by calling (305) 921-0976 or emailing to schedule a consultation.