EB-5 Foreign Investor Program
The EB-5 immigrant investor category is a way for an individual and his or her immediate family members to obtain a green card (i.e. live permanently in the United States). Each investor must invest a certain amount of money in the U.S. economy that creates or saves 10 U.S. jobs. The minimum investment amount is $500,000 if you invest in a rural or high unemployment area. Otherwise the minimum investment amount is $1,000,000.
Congress created a separate EB-5 program in 1993 for EB-5 regional centers to encourage more immigration through the EB-5 category. 3,000 green cards are set aside each year for immigrant investors who invest in regional centers designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The main advantage of the EB-5 regional center program is that it does not require the company in which the investor puts his or her money to itself employ 10 US workers directly. Both jobs created directly and indirectly from the investment can be counted towards the job creation requirement. By contrast, EB-5 investments in non-regional center projects can only count direct job creation. Because of the indirect job creation element, many foreign investors prefer investing in a regional center rather than creating their own company.