To encourage economic development in South Florida, the city of Miami will begin offering green cards to foreign investors. The hope is to further cement Miami’s status as the global business hub. For Miami immigration attorneys, this is welcome news, as the establishment of a new EB-5 Visa Regional Center may well speed up processing delays.
The visa center — the first to be run by a city — will act as an intermediary between local businesses and foreign investors. Applicants ranging from charter schools to developers can submit their business plans to the city. If the project meets muster, it is placed in a portfolio marketed to investors seeking U.S. visas.
EB-5 Visa Requirements
There are numerous requirements for persons seeking adjustment via the E-B5 Visa. Below are some of the requirements, including but not limited to:
Job Creation Requirements
- Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.
- Create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs:
- Direct jobs are actual identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital.
- Indirect jobs are those jobs shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor. A foreign investor may only use the indirect job calculation if affiliated with a regional center.
Note: Investors may only be credited with preserving jobs in a troubled business.
Capital Investment Requirements
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur, provided that the alien entrepreneur is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All capital shall be valued at fair-market value in United States dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) shall not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act.
Note: Investment capital cannot be borrowed.Required minimum investments are:
- General. The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.
- Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.
Under the EB-5 program, investors are required to put up at least at least $1 million, or $500,000 for projects in areas of high unemployment, into a special fund outside the city’s control. At least some of their capital must be “at risk.” In return, they receive a two-year green card for themselves and their immediate family. If the project succeeds, and at least 10 U.S. jobs are created, the investors gain permanent residency plus dividends on their investment. If it fails, they’re out their green cards — and in some cases their money.
The city, meanwhile, stands to earn application fees and a cut of the secured financing. Much of that money is expected to be set aside in a special public safety fund. Mayor Regalado has indicated that the city expects to begin adding to its portfolio next month, and will then begin marketing projects to investors. The operation of the center can cost the city up to $1 million annually, to be funded through grants.