Investor green cards, also known as the EB-5 or 5th preference employment-based immigrant visas, are granted to individuals who invest at least $1 million in a new commercial enterprise that was created or restructured after November 19, 1990. This investment must be shown to have created 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. In some cases, if the business is located in a targeted employment area, only $500,000 needs to be invested but 10 full-time jobs would still have to be created. A targeted employment area or TEA is an area that has an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average rate or a rural area designated by OMB.

It is not enough to just invest money. The investor also has to prove that he or she obtained the funds through a lawful source. For some investors, this will be fairly easy if they can show personal or business tax returns and bank statements going back long enough to prove the funds came from a lawful source. For investors from countries where tax returns are not filed or where financial institutions are not well-documented, this may pose a problem. Therefore, it is important to discuss your case, especially your ability to prove your source of funds with your EB-5 immigration attorney.

The EB-5 can be approved through individual investment in a project, for example, one investor opening up a restaurant or hotel. However, the vast majority of EB-5 applications are approved through regional centers that pool larger resources of many investors together, in which the investors play a back role in managing the business. We will explain this distinction in more detail below.


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