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EB-5 visa gives business investors permission to live in the U.S.

Besides having a job waiting for you in the U.S., there is another way to gain permission to live in this country through benefiting the economy. Significant investment in a company or business venture in the U.S. can also lead to permanent residence status.

This visa is called EB-5, or Fifth Preference. To qualify, the applicant must invest at least $1 million in a new commercial enterprise, creating employment for at least 10 full-time U.S. workers. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services allows a minimum investment of $500,000 if the business is in a “targeted” employment area.

A targeted investment area must be experiencing unemployment at 150 percent of the national average, or a rule area specially designated by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

In addition, USCIS has a Regional Center program that may be ideal for a retiree or inactive investor. Under the Regional Center program, the creation of 10 full-time jobs is waived. Instead, the applicant’s investment must involve “indirect employment creation.” Thus, the 10 workers may be direct or indirect hires.

Because USCIS give priority to petitions going through the Regional Center program, it may be especially attractive to foreign investors looking to live in this country.

Obviously, the EB-5 visa mostly is for wealthy foreign nationals. But other options exist for those of more modest means, such as the H-1B and L-1 visas. A consultation with an immigration attorney can help clarify which type of visa is best for your particular needs and job prospects.

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