Getting a green card in the US through the long-established and widely used EB5 scheme is an efficient option for all sorts of investors.
While traditionally it has been focused on stimulating investment in rural and deprived urban areas of America, it’s also possible for founders looking to expand the reach of their web startup in the States to achieve eligibility under EB5 rules as well.
This is a golden opportunity for entrepreneurs in the tech sector, so here’s a look at what you need to do in order to qualify.
Understanding the rules & restrictions
The first thing to know about EB5 investments is that they need to conform to particular requirements so that the person who makes them can be granted a green card.
If your investment will be made in a targeted employment area, or TEA, then the smallest amount you can splash out is $500,000.
If you’ll be investing in more prosperous parts of the country, then the minimum is increased to $1 million.
If you don’t want to start your own business from scratch on US soil, then you could join forces with others at EB5 Affiliate Network. There are plenty of projects ready for foreign investment by those seeking green cards permitting permanent residence in America.
Of course if you’ve already got a web startup that has gained traction in your home country, and you’ve got the capital to invest in opening an office in the US, then striking out solo with the EB5 program to assist you makes sense.
Getting to grips with employment requirements
Another important element of EB5 investment eligibility is the number of full time jobs that you create by launching your startup.
In a TEA, you only need to have at least five people hired to fill roles in your fledgling organization. Elsewhere, at least 10 jobs must be set up when you break ground on your latest venture.
The idea behind this is simple; if overseas investors want to get a foothold in the US, they need to do so by employing citizens, and in turn by bolstering the economy.
Ensuring that your web startup is viable
If you like the sound of what you’ve read so far, and you’re ready to invest, there’s an important caveat to keep in mind. This isn’t just a way of buying a green card if you’ve got between $500,000 and $1 million to spare, because the program also emphasizes the creation of companies that are viable in the long term.
This is achieved through the requirement that your investment be left on the table for a minimum of 24 months, during which period you won’t be able to pull it out or make any other unauthorized maneuvers.
Thus having a solid business plan, a good amount of market research, a reliable recruitment strategy and the staying power to stick it out with your startup in a new country will be necessary.
Considering the types of companies which benefit most from EB5 investment
More good news for investors from the tech sector is that this is an area which already sees a lot of EB5-based investment by overseas parties.
Aside from the obvious appeal of the EB5 program itself, one of the reasons for this is that the American workforce is well positioned to fill roles involved with all aspects of building, launching and maintaining a website.
Whether you’re looking to set up an ecommerce store to sell to US citizens, or you want to launch a web app or other service which will be hosted in and aimed at Americans, there will be the right people ready and waiting for you to hire them.
So long as the scale of your company is sufficient to hit the 10 employee minimum needed for direct investment outside of a TEA, you’re good to go.
Emigrating to the US is not something to handle with anything less than precision and attention to detail. While the EB5 program is a great opportunity, don’t be hasty about applying. Instead, get expert advice and immerse yourself in the rules it imposes to get what you want out of it.