EB-5 projects are most often sponsored by regional centers. Even though EB-5 investors can form their own new commercial enterprises, over 90 percent of all EB-5 visa applicants invest in a company that is sponsored by a regional center. EB-5 investors must direct their required capital investment to a specific commercial enterprise which is funding a specific investment project (an EB-5 Project). EB-5 investments must be made in an EB-5 project that is considered to be a new commercial enterprise and that will lead to the creation of 10 fulltime jobs for U.S. workers.
New commercial enterprises are defined as lawful, for profit businesses that were created after November 29, 1990. Older enterprises may qualify if the EB-5 investment leads to significant business restructuring or increases the number of employees or net worth of an existing business by 40 percent.
The enterprises can be structured in any number of ways, such as a sole proprietorship, limited or general partnership, corporation, business trust, or as other publicly or privately owned business structures.
EB-5 projects assume many different business models and operate within many different industries.
Types of EB-5 projects include:
Choosing an EB-5 Regional Center and project to invest in can be daunting. Yet, choosing a regional center and EB-5 project that meets the required legal criteria and is viable as a business is perhaps the most important step of the EB-5 process, since the investor’s permanent residency is dependent on the ability of the project to create jobs and adhere to the required legal criteria. Investors may initially be interested in a particular project because they are familiar with the industry or project location. However, there are certain due diligence questions that EB-5 visa applicants should ask before deciding on where to invest.