One of the quickest paths to U.S. permanent residency for investors and their families is through the EB-5 visa program.
There are two paths by which an investor and their family can obtain an EB-5 visa, with both having unique requirements.
Investors looking to pursue an EB-5 visa must understand these standards, including meeting the Matter of Ho requirements for business plans.
About EB-5 Visas
The U.S. Congress created the EB-5 visa program in 1990 to utilize investments from foreign investors to create jobs.
The program offers two years' conditional green card residency for foreign investors whose investments create at least ten full-time, permanent, full-time positions. An EB-5 investor may also invest in a troubled business in which jobs will be preserved.
Foreign nationals must invest a minimum of $800,000 for targeted employment areas or $1.05 million for a standard investment to qualify for the EB-5 visa program.
After the conditional residency period, an immigration attorney can petition to make the residency permanent by offering proof that all conditions, including creating the ten permanent full-time jobs, were met, utilizing financial statements, tax returns, and other documentation as proof.
Avenues to EB-5 Visas
When immigration attorneys petition for their clients’ permanent residency, there are two different avenues they can pursue.
Direct EB-5 Investment
Direct EB-5 investment is a relatively straightforward concept. In this case, a foreign national invests directly in a project or business to achieve the requirements for an EB-5 visa.
For instance, an entrepreneur might invest their money directly in starting a restaurant. The investor’s money goes toward opening the restaurant, including hiring employees - managers, cooks, servers, and so forth - that will hopefully satisfy the goal of creating ten full-time, permanent positions.
Only positions created directly by that enterprise - or a subsidiary - count toward the EB-5 regulations.
In short, all of the investment goes directly toward the operation to make it a successful enterprise that meets the requirements for the EB-5 visa.
The regional center program is an alternative route that investors can pursue to achieve the requirements for an EB-5 visa.
Instead of investing directly in a specific enterprise, investors pool their money together in a Regional Center approved by the USCIS.
Unlike the standards for the direct EB-5 route, investors can meet the requirements of creating ten permanent, full-time positions by counting direct, indirect, and induced job creation.
So, using the restaurant example above, investors can count managers, chefs, servers, and other jobs indirectly created from the operation.
For Regional Center EB-5 petitions, the USCIS requires an economic report created using input/output data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. This report, using multipliers, will show the Regional Center’s greater economic impact.
To qualify for an EB-5 visa through the regional centers' program, investors must show that at least ten permanent, full-time jobs were created for each investor.
What is the Matter of Ho?
Regardless of your method of pursuing an EB-5 visa, you will need a solid business plan. And that business plan must comply with the Matter of Ho.
So what is the Matter of Ho?
The Matter of Ho is a precedent decision issued by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) in 1998. It explains the requirements for EB-5 investments to be approved by the USCIS by specifying what the business plan must include to show the project is financially viable, how it will commit the EB-5 investment funds, and how it will lead to the required job creation.
The Matter of Ho is the standard by which an EB-5 business plan can qualify as a comprehensive plan for an actual project or business.
A business plan must be comprehensive and credible, as defined by the USCIS, to fulfill the requirements outlined in the Matter of Ho.
Business Plans that Meet the Matter of Ho Requirements
In order for your business plan to even have a chance at being successful, it must comply with the Matter of Ho requirements. If it doesn’t satisfy those requirements, your EB-5 petition will not be approved.
Here at Visa Business Plans, our experienced professionals have helped thousands of clients successfully obtain their visas. We fully understand the requirements of the Matter of Ho and craft business plans to comply accordingly.
So, if you are looking to start a business in the U.S., call us today to learn more about how our customized business plans for immigration can help you achieve your goals.
Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in 4 different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.
Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.
At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.