The United States Congress introduced the EB-5 visa program in 1990 to stimulate the economy by encouraging investments from foreign nationals. There are strict eligibility requirements that an entrepreneur must meet to obtain an EB-5 visa.


One of these requirements is that the foreign national invests at least $1 million in a new commercial enterprise. Alternatively, he or she could invest $500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area.

If you are interested in petitioning for an EB-5 visa, contact the O’Brien Law Group. Rusty O’Brien is an employment visa lawyer in Louisville who will explain the visa eligibility requirements, answer your questions, and help you avoid mistakes during the petitioning process.

Rusty O’Brien is the past MidSouth region chapter chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AIM). Call 502-400-7890 today to schedule a consultation.

What Is a New Commercial Enterprise?

According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a business must meet the following criteria to be considered a new commercial enterprise:

  • It was established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
  • It was established before or on Nov. 29, 1990, and:
    • The foreign entrepreneur restructures or reorganizes the enterprise to create a new commercial enterprise, or
    • The foreign entrepreneur’s investment increases the enterprise’s net worth or number of employees by 40 percent.

What Is a Targeted Employment Area?

As previously mentioned, the minimum investment requirement reduces to $500,000 if the foreign national invests in a Targeted Employment Area. This is a rural area or a region with a high unemployment rate.

In order for a region to qualify as a “rural area,” it must be located outside of what the Office of Management and Budget considers a metropolitan area. Alternatively, a region may qualify as a rural area if it is outside the boundary of a town or city with a population of 20,000 or more based on the decennial census.

In order for a region to qualify as a “high unemployment area,” the unemployment rate must be at least 150 percent the national average rate.

What Is Considered a “Capital Investment” According to the EB-5 Visa Program?

USCIS considers capital to be inventory, equipment, cash, cash equivalents, tangible property and indebtedness secured by assets that the foreign investor owns, as long as the foreign investor is primarily and personally liable and the assets of the new commercial enterprise are not used to secure the indebtedness.

The fair-market value will be used to determine the value of all invested capital. The foreign investor must show evidence to prove that he or she acquired the assets by lawful means. Any assets that were acquired unlawfully – either indirectly or directly – will not be considered capital. Also, borrowed money and assets will not be considered capital.

If you are planning to petition for an EB-5 visa, it is highly advisable that you seek the help of an employment visa attorney. Your petition may be delayed or denied if you do not provide the necessary documentation to prove your eligibility or if you make mistakes on the application.

Rusty O’Brien is an immigration attorney in Louisville who will guide you through the EB-5 petition process. Schedule a consultation today by calling 502-400-7890.




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