The United States Congress created the opportunity for foreign nationals to obtain a green card through qualified investments that create jobs. This “fifth employment-based preference” (EB-5) immigrant visa category allows qualified foreign investors to invest in a business that benefits the U.S. economy by creating or preserving at least 10 full-time jobs.
The initial amount required of foreign nationals to invest was set at US$1 million. That number is reduced to US$500,000 if the investment is made in an area designated as rural or facing high unemployment. Approximately 10,000 green cards are available through the EB-5 program each year.
Under EB-5, the Regional Center Pilot Program was created to promote immigration and foreign investment in the United States. The Regional Center Pilot Program allows for a portion of allowable annual EB-5 Visas to be set aside for foreign nationals who apply through a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved regional center.
A regional center is a private enterprise, corporation or regional governmental agency with a targeted investment program within a defined geographic region. An investor seeking an EB-5 immigrant visa through a designated regional center must make a qualifying investment.
Education Fund of America partners with USCIS designated regional centers. We focus on qualified public charter school projects in targeted employment areas.
Using USCIS-approved job creation methodology, Education Fund of America develops and maintains economic reports to measure and verify direct and indirect job creation for qualified projects.
Before participating in an EB-5 investment program, each investor independently petitions USCIS for an EB-5 visa. Qualified investors investing through a regional center receive a conditional green card valid for two years. Upon receipt of conditional permanent resident status, the investor and immediate family are entitled to the same benefits as other lawful permanent residents. Once the conditions are removed at the end of the 24-month period, the investor and his immediate family become permanent green card holders and can later apply to become U.S. citizens. The investor, spouse and unmarried children (under age 21 at the time of petition) can then apply for permanent residency based on the investment.
The EB-5 visa is one of the most flexible paths to obtaining a green card. The immigrant investor is not required to manage the business’ day-to-day operations, can invest in an existing business or a new business, and the investor is not required to live in the region where the investment is made. Additionally, funds may come from any legal foreign or US source; including gifts, loans, and divorce settlements. Borrowed investment funds qualify as long as the assets of the target US business do not secure the loan.
Education Fund of America, capitalizing on our extensive investment and public charter school building experience and success, has become the first EB-5 project center to focus solely on this safe, secure and predicable investment area. Since state governments pay for the schools, they are economically viable immediately when they open, creating jobs immediately, too – reducing any concern with that program requirement.
Our collective experience developing and funding billions of dollars in quality projects has resulted in a return on investor equity with an average of 2-1/2 years, or less than half the time of most other EB-5 projects. Recent changes in the U.S. EB-5 program may not ensure this fast of a return moving forward, although we still expect the payback to be in the 3 to 4 year time frame. Read more on our projects here.
Education Fund of America is committed to support each qualified foreign investor in the immigration process. Contact us for more information on the benefits and process for securing an EB-5 visa.