The U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has gained significant popularity among Canadian investors seeking to explore business opportunities and secure permanent residency in the United States. This unique immigration program offers a pathway to U.S. Green Cards through qualifying investments that stimulate the U.S. economy and create jobs for American workers.
The basic requirements for the EB-5 Investor Program are: -
- Invest a minimum of USD 800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (or USD 1,050,000 outside TEA) in a commercial enterprise in the U.S.; and
- Create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
The program has become even more popular since 2022 due to a policy change which allows anyone in the U.S. with a valid visa to file for Adjustment of Status immediately and concurrently with their EB-5 Green Card application. Further, since the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, investors applying for the EB-5 program will only need to hold their capital at risk in the U.S. for 2 years after initial investment, rather than hold it until the end of their conditional permanent residency.
In this article, we will delve into the key attractions of the EB-5 program for Canadians, shedding light on why it has become an appealing option for many Canadian investors.
Expedited Path to Permanent Residency
Compared to other programs, the immigrant visa processing under EB-5 does not have substantial backlogs. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS")'s Visa Bulletin as of September 2023, the "Final Action Date" of EB-5 category is current (except for Mainland China and India), which means that once the EB-5 petition is approved, investors and their dependent family members can process with their immigrant visa applications or adjustment of status.
Dependent family members include spouse and unmarried children under 21. Successful applicants and their dependents can obtain conditional Green Cards, valid for two years. After fulfilling the program's requirements, including job creation, investors can apply to have the conditions removed and obtain full-fledged permanent residency by filing the I-829 petition. To remove the conditions, the investors will have to prove that their EB-5 investment has allowed the creation of 10 full-time jobs in the EB-5 project.
After 5 years of residence in the U.S., investors and their families can apply for U.S. citizenship and enjoy the full benefits of being a U.S. citizen, including a U.S. passport and the right to sponsor their parents, siblings and married adult children to immigrate to the United States.
Education Benefits for Families
Canada and the United States share cultural ties and a close proximity, making the U.S. an attractive destination for Canadian families seeking quality education and diverse lifestyle opportunities. Canadian investors who participate in the EB-5 program can secure permanent residency for themselves and their eligible family members, including children under the age of 21. This allows access to an extensive range of educational options, from renowned universities to specialized institutions, thereby providing a unique advantage for children's academic and professional growth.
Flexibility in Investment Options
The United States boasts one of the world's largest and most dynamic economies, offering a wide array of investment opportunities across various sectors. The EB-5 program offers Canadian investors a range of investment options, allowing them to choose between direct investments and regional center investments. Direct investments entail establishing or actively participating in a new commercial enterprise, providing investors with greater control over their business ventures. On the other hand, regional center investments allow investors to pool their funds into USCIS-approved projects, relieving them of the burden of active management. This flexibility enables foreign investors to align their investment choices with their business expertise and risk preferences.
Through the EB-5 program, Canadian investors gain access to a diverse range of investment projects across multiple industries, including real estate development, infrastructure projects, hospitality ventures, and more. The availability of pre-approved regional center projects further expands the investment opportunities, as investors can choose projects that align with their interests, expertise, and long-term objectives.
Potential Capital Appreciation
Investing through the EB-5 program can offer Canadian investors the potential for capital appreciation over time. While the primary objective of the program is to create jobs and stimulate economic growth, investors may also benefit from the success of their chosen investment projects. Successful ventures can yield returns on investment, enhancing the overall financial gains for participants in the EB-5 program.
1. Select an EB-5 Investment Project
As the first step, investors must identify and invest either USD800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or USD 1,050,000 in a non-TEA project. Selecting an EB-5 project requires a strict due diligence phase to carefully assess a range of factors, such as the project's costs and expenses, project's financial forecasts and economic analysis, job creation calculation and cushion, investment holding period and exit strategy (repayment of the EB-5 investment and interests).
2. Submit the I-526 Petition and Required Documents
Investors must prove that the investment funds were legally obtained. Proving the source of funds of the EB-5 investment is a key part of the I-526 petition. Evidencing the investor's source of funds will require a full review and understanding of the investor's assets. In submitting the I-526 petition, investors should also provide documentation to demonstrate the investment's viability and job creation potential.
3. Applying for a Conditional Green Card
Upon approval, investors can either adjust their status if they are in the U.S. or apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate if they are abroad.
4. Applying to Remove the Conditions by Filing I-829 Petition
Before the 2nd anniversary of the Conditional Green Card's issuance date, investors have to file the I-829 petition to remove the conditions on their permanent resident status. To remove the conditions, the investors will have to prove that their EB-5 investment has allowed the creation of 10 full-time jobs in the EB-5 project.
The U.S. EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program offers an array of attractions to Canadian investors seeking to expand their business horizons and secure permanent residency in the United States. From an expedited pathway to Green Card and flexibility in investment options to education benefits for families, the program provides an enticing proposition for Canadian entrepreneurs and investors. Nevertheless, it is crucial for prospective EB-5 investors to seek the guidance of experienced immigration and investment professionals to make informed decisions for their future ventures in the United States.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.