The United States offers immigration programs for investors purchasing commercial real estate or starting businesses here. Foreign nationals can seek a green card for permanent residency under specific circumstances. 

Before investing in a U.S. business, it’s a good idea to explore eligibility requirements and other information about the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Changes to this program will take effect on November 21, 2019. 

Qualifying business types 

To enroll in the EB-5 program, you must either purchase a new business, restructure an existing business or fund a 40% expansion of an existing business. Qualifying entities include both publicly and privately-owned corporations, sole proprietorships, holding companies, business trusts and other structures.  

Additional eligibility requirements 

To be eligible for this program, your new U.S. business venture must create at least 10 full-time jobs working directly for the company. You must show the ability to sustain these positions for at least two years and employ U.S. residents or citizens during that period.  

Before November 21, 2019, the minimum investment to qualify for an EB-5 visa is $1 million. Entrepreneurs who file a visa petition after that date must invest at least $1.8 million. The investment can include cash, property, inventory, equipment or other tangible goods. In certain rural and high-unemployment areas, the minimum investment is $500,000 before November 21 and $900,000 after November 21.  

Benefits of EB-5 

If you receive a green card through the immigrant investor program, your spouse and minor children can accompany you to the United States. This program also provides flexible opportunities for qualifying investors. You can start your own business, help grow an existing business or set up a commercial real estate firm. You can also live and work anywhere in the U.S. 

The U.S. government issues approximately 10,000 EB-5 visas each year. To start the application process to get one, you must file a petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.