About EB-5 visa
The United States EB-5 visa, employment-based fifth preference category or EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program, created in 1990 by the Immigration Act of 1990, provides a method for eligible Immigrant Investors to become lawful permanent residents — informally known as “green card” holders — by investing at least $1,000,000 to finance a business in the United States that will employ at least 10 American workers.
Most immigrant investors who use the EB-5 program invest in a targeted employment area (TEA) — a rural area or area with high unemployment — which lowers the investment threshold to $500,000.
The EB-5 program is intended to encourage both “foreign investments and economic growth”. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is one of five employment-based (EB) preference programs in the United States.
Applicants have the choice of investing individually or they can choose to work through a “larger investor pool via regional centers (RC) which are federally approved third-party intermediaries that “connect foreign investors with developers in need of funding, and take a commission”.
Regional centers are usually private, for-profit businesses that are approved by the U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which is part of the Department of Homeland Security.
By May 1, 2017, there were 883 USCIS-approved regional center and by 2014 the “vast majority” of EB-5 visas were “granted through regional cente”.
By 2015 the EB-5 program had become an “important source of capital for developers” and for the regional centers. If an EB-5 investment is made in a regional center, the jobs may be created indirectly through economic activity, as opposed to a direct investment, where the investment vehicle must directly employ the 10 U.S. workers.[citation needed.
Most investors — about 80 percent — come from four countries: China, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. Others have come from Canada, India, Mexico, Iran, and Japan.
About L-1 visa
An L-1 visa is a visa document used to enter the United States for the purpose of work in L-1 status. It is a non-immigrant visa, and is valid for a relatively short amount of time, from three months (for Iran nationals) to five years (India, Japan, Germany), based on a reciprocity schedule. With extensions,
L-1 visas are available to employees of an international company with offices in both the United States and abroad.
The visa allows such foreign workers to relocate to the corporation’s US office after having worked abroad for the company for at least one continuous year within the previous three prior to admission in the US.
The US and non-US employers must be related in one of four ways: parent and subsidiary; branch and headquarters; sister companies owned by a mutual parent; or “affiliates” owned by the same or people in approximately the same percentages.
Spouses of L-1 visa holders are allowed to work without restriction in the US (using an L-2 visa) once EAD is granted, and the L-1 visa may legally be used as a stepping stone to a green card under the doctrine of dual intent.
In 2010, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved 74,719 L-1 visas, out of 91,086 applications (a refusal rate of 18%).
In contrast, the same document reports a refusal rate of 21% for the H-1B non-immigrant skilled employment visa (117,409 approvals out of 147,937 applicants) and an overall refusal rate of 23% for all non-immigrant visa categories listed (6,275,540 approvals out of 8,142,444 applicants).
The E-2 Investor Visa allows an individual to enter and work inside of the United States based on an investment he or she will be controlling, while inside the United States.
The E2 visa is good for three months to five years (depending on the country of origin) and can be extended indefinitely.
The investment must be “substantial.” Investor visas are available only to citizens of certain countries.
E-2 visas are also available to non-investor employees of the business, as long as the persons are of the same nationality as the investor and are destined for a role in the US business that is either executive/supervisory or requires specialized skills that are essential to the efficient operation of the US enterprise.
For new startups, the investment must be large enough to start and operate the business. The amount of investment varies on the type of business.
The investment will not be considered substantial if it is not large enough to capitalize the venture.
The USCIS will use an “Inverted Sliding Scale” to determine whether the investment is substantial in proportion to the overall cost of the enterprise.
Upon conclusion of the business, investors must return to their countries of origin, or change their status. The United States Department of State does not allow dual intent for this type of visa, although it is possible for E-2 visa holders to adjust their status to immigrant status. The holder of an E-2 visa may leave the United States at any time.