Businesses seeking funding for real estate projects often consider foreign investors participating in the EB-5 visa program. This program allows foreign nationals to gain permanent residency by investing a minimum of $500,000 to US development projects that create jobs for US workers.
But before you begin seeking foreign investors, there are a number of important questions your business should consider.
Do You Have the Patience to Deal with the EB-5 Process?
The EB-5 visa program is administered by the USCIS, which is a bureaucracy. That means things like paperwork and filings aren’t always going to move according to the fastest possible schedule.
The process can take a lot of patience both on the part of the applicant and on the part of the business in which they are investing. It also requires a lot of due diligence and research by both parties.
The best plan is to get in touch with the USCIS through the approved EB-5 Regional Center in your area. These regional centers are designed to connect businesses with investors on project that will work best for both parties.
Does the Business Qualify?
EB-5 has two minimal investments for qualified applicants. If foreign investors invest a minimum of $1 million, they can invest in a project anywhere within the US. But if they invest only $500,000, they are restricted to investing in projects within geographic areas defined by the program’s guidelines.
The smaller investment must be made in areas that have been designated as requiring economic stimulation. These include areas within an area of a urban community with at an unemployment rate at least 1.5 times higher than the national average, or outside a city or town with a population of no larger than 20,000 people.
Businesses also will need to provide that they have a viable business plan and that that the foreign investment was directly responsible for the minimum number of new jobs.
Understanding the rules of the program will better prepare businesses for dealing with foreign investors under the EB-5 visa program.