The Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5) was created to stimulate the economy. Individuals seeking to live in the United States through an EB-5 visa must create jobs for United States workers and provide capital investments. This is a popular visa for foreign investors, especially among investors from China who account for over 80 percent of the visas issued. If you are one of the many foreign investors interested in living in the United States by stimulating the United States economy, you will need help from a Los Angeles immigration attorney.

All EB-5 Investors must:

  • Invest in a new commercial enterprise. New enterprises include businesses that were established after November 29, 1990 or established before that but have been recently restructured or reorganized.
  • Create or preserve jobs. Investors are required to create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for workers within two years of investment. The jobs may directly result from the investment or indirectly result collaterally as a result of the capital invested.
  • Invest at least $1,000,000 or $500,000. One of the requirements of the EB-5 program is capital investment. The minimum qualifying investment is $1,000,000, but applicants who invest in a targeted employment area (TEA’s) only have to invest $500,000. Targeted areas are either rural or have high-unemployment rates. Rural areas that qualify are outside the boundary of any city with a population of 20,000 or more. High unemployment areas that qualify have an unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the national average. There are TEA’s even in areas like West Los Angeles, Culver City and Santa Monica.

There are 10,000 visas that are available through the EB-5 investor program each year. In 2014, there were 7,000 applications for those limited visas as early as March. The number of applicants is expected to go up considerably now that Canada has ended their investor visa program earlier this year. Therefore, these visas are going to be hard to come by in the coming year.

The standard processing time for the EB-5 program is typically between 10 and 18 months, from filing the initial investor petition with the United States Citizen and Immigration Services until the time when the visa is issued. This timetable varies case by case, but applicants should expect to wait at least a year.

Applicants are not advised to make their investments without first speaking with a Los Angeles EB-5 lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney will ensure that the investments create jobs and that they help the applicant secure a visa.