According to a Russian-speaking EB 5 attorney at the AmLaw Group, “individuals who are interested in moving to the U.S. as a foreign investor to invest in U.S. jobs and business, there is a better, faster option available known as the Immigrant Investor Program, or EB-5. Individuals pursing an EB-5 are often able to avoid many of the time delays and strict visa requirements that other hopeful immigrants face in their journey to the U.S.”
There are also “numerous benefits that set the EB-5 visa apart from other visa options that individuals might pursue. By investing $500,000 to $1 million, individuals taking advantage of the Immigrant Investor Program can secure a green card and enjoy the following benefits:
- No language, age, professional experience, or education requirements
- No need for direct family members in the United States
- No residency requirements in the U.S.
- No workplace requirements in the U.S.
- For individuals investing in Regional Center projects, no daily management / running of a business.”
The EB-5 visa is an investment visa. To qualify for a green card, a foreign investor is required to invest from 500,000 to $1,000,000 into a U.S. business that would preserve or create at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs – this is an investor’s visa commitment. Fulfilling this may be done either through Direct Investment or Regional Center Investment:
In direct investment, a foreign national investor must invest a minimum of $1,000,000 for the creation of a new enterprise, purchase an existing business, or reorganization of a former business into a new entity.
Investing in a EB-5 Regional Center, on the other hand, requires a $500,000 capital investment. This is to finance an existing business in a Targeted Employment Area, an area identified by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as having very low unemployment rate – 150 percent of the national unemployment rate.
An EB-5 Regional Center is a service agent organization that is designated by the USCIS for the purpose of helping EB-5 investors complete a project and meet the “10 job” requirement. There are 1,203 EB-5 Regional Centers all across the U.S.; this includes the 851 regional centers approved by the USCIS on August 1, 2016.
The USCIS grants 10,000 visas through the EB-5 program every hear and, for the first time since 2007, when only 700 EB-5 visas were issued, the 10,000 annual quota was reached both in 2014 and 2015; more than 90% of those granted the visa were from China.
Besides China, Russia is another country where a steady flow of immigrants come from. In fact, the 265,086 Russian applications for the U.S. green-card in 2014 was the highest ever. This resulted to 245,638 Russians being granted visas that allowed them to work or study temporarily in the U.S. In addition to this, there were 3,622 Russians who were allowed to settle permanently in the U.S., including 56 who were granted EB-5 visas after making a $500,000 investment for a job-creating business.
Wealthy Russians immigrating to the U.S. (many of them settling in cities like Miami, New York, Denver, Los Angeles and Baltimore) began to increase in the early 1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and after realizing that their country will not be able to provide a suitable investment environment where they can protect their wealth.