Direct EB-5 (“Direct EB-5”) is a direct investment-based case by an investor, requiring either $1 million USD, or, $500,000.00 USD, depending on whether the geographic area is a target employment area ("TEA"). A foreign investor whose goals are to obtain lawful permanent residency through his investment, as well as having the ability to establish a successful business in the United States, through his own past experience and stable financial ability, can have the option of Direct EB-5.
The most distinct advantage points of Direct EB-5 are:
Traditionally, regional center investments have been of more interest to developers and businesses because far more investment capital can be raised based upon the increased employment numbers that come from indirect and induced jobs. However, it has become far more difficult to create a new regional center and even then only at great expense and great delays. From the investor’s point of view, fewer and fewer ideal regional center investment options are available in the market due to severe delay in new project approval, thus leading project developers and businesses seeking capital from a pooled investors of Direct EB-5.
Aside from creating direct W-2 jobs from the investment, the Direct EB-5 allows the business or developer to market the project to investors immediately without having to obtain any preapproval from USCIS. Moreover, the need for an economic report to project indirect and induced jobs is eliminated. Direct EB-5 does not need to overcome adjudication issues such as tenancy occupancy jobs, guest expenditure jobs, NAICS codes, bridge financing, etc., associated with regional center applications and regional center projects.
Although there may be less problems with Direct EB-5, it is worth noting here that the conditional removal process may be more difficult. Direct EB-5 requires proof of “full-time employment” as direct, salaried employees of ten U.S. workers. 8 C.F.R. § 204.6 (j)(4). Although full-time employment need not be created at the time of I-526 petition approval, past adjudication statistics have shown great strain in getting Direct EB-5 petitions approved based upon a business plan with projected job creation over a two-year period. In order for the investor to have conditions removed after the end of the two year conditional period, USCIS will have to be satisfied that the direct employment creation has actually taken place or will occur in a “reasonable time”. 8 C.F.R. §204.6 (a)(4).
Most I-526 petitions are adjudicated within 18 months after filing. Since the quota is current for this category of immigrants, within three to six months of filing of the I-526, the investor and his or her family who are in the U.S. are able to file applications for permanent residence, employment authorization and advance parole travel documents. For investors and families outside of the U.S., the procedure for issuance of immigrant visas generally averages 5 to 9 months. A general timeline is as follows:
You will have to do your own due diligence. An experienced EB-5 attorney may help you with the options available to you. Risk, return and investment strategies must be closely scrutinized in light of preferences, attitude towards risk and certain types of investment opportunities.
We will help you determine whether you are a qualified investor, and what investment scenario is best suited for you, and help you navigate the various available Direct EB-5 projects.