The EB-5 visa for Immigrant Investors is a United States visa created by the Immigration Act of 1990. This visa provides a method of obtaining a green card for foreign nationals who invest money in the United States. To obtain the visa, individuals must invest at least $500,000, creating at least 10 jobs.
By investing in certain qualified investments or regional centers with high unemployment rates, the required investment amount is $500,000. The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program was created by Section 610 of Public Law 102-395 on October 6, 1992. This was in accordance to a Congressional mandate aimed at stimulating economic activity and job growth, while allowing eligible aliens the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents. This "Pilot Program" required only $500,000 of investment in exchange for permanent resident status. The investment could only be received by an economic unit defined as a Regional Center.
A Regional Center is defined by any economic unit, public or private, engaged in the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment. Prior law required the investment in the Regional Center to generate an increase in export sales, however statutory amendments in 2000 and 2002 no longer require this increase. The individual receiving the visa is not required to actively manage the business invested in. For investors who wish to invest in a new or existing business, have an active role in the management of the operation (although simply being a Limited partner in the organization that owns the business qualifies as "AN ACTIVE ROLE."), and have at least one million US dollars to invest ($500,000 if the business is located in certain areas deemed as Rural or with very high unemployment), then the traditional EB-5 visa is the best option.
The Startup Visa Act (projected EB-6 visa), introduced in Congress in 2010 and subsequently in 2011, is planning to use unallocated numbers from the EB-5 visa.