Angel investors are individuals who provide financial support for business startups in exchange for ownership equity or shares in the company stock. Business angels are known for giving new companies an opportunity to expand and succeed. A successful angel investment will not only result in business growth for the company, but also in financial gain for the investor. If the investment is of the right amount and it directly or indirectly results in the creation of full-time positions at the company, the investor may be able to file for a visa to live and work in the United States.
The EB-5 visa program was created not only for angel investors but also for all foreign investors who wish to stimulate the U.S. economy. In order to qualify as an EB-5 investor, the visa applicant must:
- Make a capital investment of $1 million or an investment of $500,000 in a targeted employment area with high unemployment.
- Invest in a company that is new or that has recently restructured. Angel investors often meet this criterion because they typically invest in startup businesses.
- Create 10 full-time jobs directly or indirectly (if the money is invested in a USCIS approved regional center). Direct jobs are full-time positions that resulted from the capital investment. Indirect jobs are employment opportunities that were created collaterally as a result of the investment.
Not every angel investor will qualify as an EB-5 investor. It is important to seek legal guidance before making an investment if the ultimate goal is to secure a visa. The government carefully reviews where the money went, what jobs were created and where the business is located. If an investment is made without careful consideration, it may not qualify for the EB-5 program.
There are a limited number of EB-5 visas available and the number of applicants is growing every year. For the first time, the government has reached the limit for Eb-5 visas during August 2014 and thus no new Eb-5 visas will be available until October 1, 2014. Now that this has happened, even qualified angel investors who helped create 10 full-time jobs by investing $1 million in a startup company may have their visas delayed. A Los Angeles immigration attorney will fight to ensure that this does not happen.