Permanent Residence for Foreign Investors
The EB-5 Investor Visa
Wealthy individuals may qualify for permanent residence through the immigrant investor, or EB-5 program. Since there is no quota waiting list in this preference category, it enables a foreign national to obtain permanent residence status more quickly than most other options. The EB-5 category requires an investment of $1 million (or $500,000 in a high-unemployment or rural area) in a commercial enterprise that will employ 10 full-time U.S. workers.
The Regional Center Program Option for EB-5 Candidates
Investors may also choose to invest in a "Regional Center" which are "preapproved" investment opportiunities in geographical areas for which USCIS has determined that investments will create the necessary 10 jobs per investor, whether directly or indirectly, in the geographical area. The required amount of investment in a regional center is generally $500,000, although many programs are structured to allow recapture of significant portions of those funds after a predefined timeframe. Most of the regional centers are structured as limited partnership investments, and the rights of a limited partner are considered sufficient to make the investor not completely passive. The EB-5 regional center approach allows a foreign national, and his/her spouse and children, to obtain employment authorization relatively promptly. Children of a successful EB-5 regional center candidate can also go to school in the U.S. and are allowed to pay in-state tuition.