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EB-5 Visa & How A Foreigner Can Start A Business In The US

It seems like it’s the American dream to open a business, allowing citizens to do what they love while answering to no one. Many Americans might dream about it but never get around to starting a business, perhaps due to lack of time, funds, or information. However, there are plenty of individuals in other countries who have spent their lives planning their perfect business, but never get the chance to do so in their home country. America’s reputation as the Land of Opportunity could make it the best place to open a new company, benefiting both citizens and the business owner. Now this scenario could be possible.

Many people are against immigrants coming to America only to take jobs, working for less than most Americans would. But what about those who come here to create jobs for Americans? The Immigration Act of 1990 has made this a likely situation. It created the EB-5 visa, which is a way for immigrants to obtain a green card and live here legally. But there is a catch. Each immigrant that is offered the EB-5 visa has to invest $1 million in a new business in the U.S., and must employ at least ten Americans full-time.

The EB-5 visa ensures that not only is the new U.S. resident contributing to society with a company, but is also helping other citizens by employing them. Immigrants interested in taking part in this program should note that there is a way to get around the $1 million investment minimum. If they open a business in an area that has a particularly high rate of unemployment, the minimum investment is lowered to $500,000.

If you doubt you could get access to $1 million, either through a loan or gift, there is another option. Opening a new business in a targeted area requires only $500,000 in capital. A targeted area is one that has very high unemployment rates, typically one and a half times higher than the country’s average rate. Targeted areas often have Regional Centers, which are agencies that study and strive to improve economic expansion in those areas.

The government gives out about 10,000 EB-5 visas annually. The process is not immediate, as it usually takes a year or more, but compared to the waiting lists of other visa types, this is a much quicker way to establish permanent residency. The investment is also very little compared to the consequences of coming to America illegally, and at the end of the process, each immigrant can have his or her own business. That is a dream many current American citizens will not realize.

The supply exceeds the demand most years. This means if you want to open a business in America, you have a high chance of being able to do so once you get the necessary funding to fulfill the EB5 requirements. Of the 10,000 available each year, about 3,000 are reserved for those opening companies in targeted areas with Regional Centers. This fact, combined with the smaller investment needed, makes opening a business and becoming a U.S. permanent resident even more possible when you do so in a targeted area.

With the EB-5 visa, the U.S. has created a way to benefit foreigners that want to come here, unemployed Americans who need jobs, and the economy. The extra incentive given to immigrants who open businesses and employ residents in areas that are particularly struggling is also helpful. Many people have no idea about this program’s existence, and it benefits everyone to promote it.

Immigrants interested in this type of program should contact a lawyer who specializes in immigration law. Many American citizens have never heard of this program because they assume it doesn’t affect them, and the same goes for many lawyers, who might know just the basics about it. Contacting an attorney who knows all the regulations and requirements for the EB-5 visa program is the best first step to take to ensure the process runs as smoothly and quickly as possible.


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