The article discusses requirements, eligibility and benefits for EB-5 visa for Canadians.
For many years, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has been a challenging path to U.S. permanent residency for Canadian investors due to confusion, uncertainty, and long green card processing times. However, the passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA) has changed the landscape, making the EB-5 visa a more accessible path to green card for Canadian citizens.
The RIA, implemented by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO), aims to provide clarity and predictability for EB-5 applicants by revising certain eligibility requirements, reforming the regional center program, and creating advantages for investments in rural areas and infrastructure among others.
Before we discuss in details of EB-5 for Canadians, we answer some important questions about the EB-5 investor visa program in general.
What is EB-5 visa?
The EB-5 investor visa program is a mutually beneficial arrangement in which foreign investors invest in the United States in exchange for the opportunity to obtain a green card and permanently reside in the country and contribute to its economic growth.
The EB-5 is an immigrant visa for investors, entrepreneurs and individuals who want to make the United States their permanent home and ultimately become a U.S. citizen. To qualify for an EB-5 visa, individuals must invest $800,000 or $1,050,000, depending on location, in a US business or Regional Center and create 10 full-time jobs.
The EB-5 visa allows the investor and their spouse and unmarried children under 21 to immigrate to the United States and obtain a green card.
This program can be an excellent opportunity for Canadian citizens who wish to obtain permanent residency in the United States for themselves and their immediate family members.
Who is eligible for EB-5 for Canadians?
Canadian citizens, permanent residents of Canada regardless of their citizenship or immigration status is eligible to apply for EB-5 visa program as long as they meet the EB-5 requirements.
Type of EB-5 for Canadians
There are two main types of EB-5 visa that as a Canadian you can choose to invest in:
- Direct EB-5: You make the required minimum investment in a business you own and directly create 10 full-time jobs.
- EB-5 Regional Center: You make the required investment in a project associated with a Regional Center. The Regional Center deploys the capital, develops the project and creates the 10 full-time with no involvement on your side.
What are the requirements for EB-5 visa for Canadians?
To qualify for EB-5 visa, Canadians must meet the following EB-5 visa requirements:
- Invest the required minimum amount of capital
- Invest in a new US commercial enterprise or Regional Center
- Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers
- Investment amount is “at risk”
- Source of investment capital is lawful
- Manage the new commercial enterprise
What is the investment amount for EB-5 for Canadians?
The required investment amount for EB-5 visa applicants from Canada is $800,000 in a U.S. business or Regional Center located in a targeted employment area (TEA), which is a high unemployment or rural area. The investment amount is $1,050,000 for businesses or regional centers located in low unemployment areas.
How long does it take to get my EB-5 investment back?
Under the October 2023 USCIS guidance, Canadian EB-5 investors can expect to receive their investment back within two years of the date the full investment amount is made to the new commercial enterprise (NCE) and placed at risk.
For investments in EB-5 Regional Centers, the two-year period begins when the investor’s capital has been spent on the project, which is typically around the time the project development is completed or when funds are placed in an escrow. However, some EB-5 regional centers may have arrangements in place to accelerate the start date of the two-year investment period, resulting in a shorter timeline for EB-5 investors to receive their investment return.
Similarly, for EB-5 Direct investors who are creating their own U.S. business, the two-year investment period starts when the investor’s capital is spent on the project provided that the required jobs are created. If the required jobs are not created, the investor’s capital must remain invested until the jobs are created, even if this exceeds 2 years.
EB-5 investors who invested in an EB-5 Regional Center or Direct EB-5 project more than two years before filing their visa petition, the investment must be maintained at the time of filing the EB-5 visa.
In other words, it takes at least 2 years from the date the full amount of investment is made to get your EB-5 investment back provided that the 10 full-time jobs have been created. Otherwise, you may need to keep your EB-5 capital invested beyond two years up until the necessary jobs are created.
If you are a prospective investor interested in investing in an EB-5 Regional Center, you should contact an EB-5 visa attorney to review offering documents and help you determine the likely and possible timeframes.
Do EB-5 investors get their money back?
EB-5 investors can get their money back if the EB-5 project is successful, but this is not a guarantee. This is a risk that all EB-5 investors must undertake, whether they invest in Regional Centers or through a Direct EB-5 investment, when deciding to pursue the EB-5 visa as a path to permanent residency in the United States. This is because the EB-5 visa program requires that investors place their capital at risk.
If the EB-5 investment is successful and profitable, EB-5 investors receive their money back two years or more of the initial investment date, along with a green card for themselves, their spouse, and their children.
However, concerns over getting the money back are more common among EB-5 investors who invest in Regional Centers than among those who make direct EB-5 investments. This is because Regional Centers are private entities that manage EB-5 investor funds on behalf of investors. As such, investors have less control over the deployment and management of their funds when they invest in Regional Centers.
In other words, EB-5 investors who invest in Regional Centers are essentially putting their faith in the hands of the regional center management team. This can be a concern for some investors, as there is always the possibility that the Regional Center could mismanage the funds or that the project could fail.
EB-5 investors who make Direct EB-5 investments, on the other hand, have more control over their funds. They can choose the project in which they want to invest, and they can have more input into the management of the project. This can reduce the risk of losing their investment.
However, all EB-5 investments are at risk and all EB-5 investors must accept the risk of losing their investment, regardless of whether they invest in a regional center or through a direct EB-5 project. There is no guarantee that any EB-5 project will be successful. However, EB-5 investors who make direct EB-5 investments can take steps to reduce the risk of losing their investment.
What is the EB-5 visa processing time for Canadians?
EB-5 visa processing time for Canadians investing in rural area projects is 6 to 12 months. The U.S. government sets aside 20% of EB-5 visas each fiscal year for rural area projects, giving investors an advantage in obtaining their green cards. The shorter timeline to obtain a conditional green card makes EB-5 projects in rural areas highly attractive to Canadian EB-5 visa applicants.
In addition to rural area projects, infrastructure EB-5 projects and other EB-5 projects located in targeted employment areas (TEAs) also receive faster processing times.
The overall EB-5 visa processing time for Canadians is 30 to 50 months.
How can Canadian investors convert the E-2 visa to EB-5?
- Invest more capital in their E-2 businesses. Investors can choose to invest more capital in their existing E-2 businesses, until the total investment meets the minimum requirement for an EB-5 visa. This option can be attractive for investors who are already running successful businesses in the United States and who want to continue to operate those businesses.
- Invest in an EB-5 Regional Center or create another US business. Investors can also choose to invest in an EB-5 Regional Center or to create another U.S. business, separate from their E-2 businesses. This option can be attractive for investors who want to diversify their investments.
Regardless of the path that an investor chooses to convert an E-2 visa to an EB-5 visa, it is important to note that there are specific requirements that must be met in order to convert an E-2 visa to an EB-5 visa.
If you are interested in converting E-2 visa to EB-5, you should consult with our experienced investor immigration lawyer in Miami, Florida USA early in the process to discuss your individual circumstances and to ensure that you meet all the requirements.
What is the cost for EB-5 for Canadians?
The total cost of an EB-5 visa for Canadians ranges from $3,675 to $4,675, excluding the investment and other professional fees, such as attorney’s fees and regional center administrative fees. The cost depends on whether the investment is a direct EB-5 investment or an EB-5 regional center investment
The USCIS filing fee for the EB-5 visa petition is $4,675 for EB-5 regional center investments and $3,675 for direct EB-5 investments. Investors should expect to pay approximately $100,000 in other fees, including legal fees, accountants, regional center administrative fees and fees associated with documents translation, tax, relocation, and travel expenses.
Our EB-5 visa lawyers assist investors
Our EB-5 visa lawyers in Miami, Florida USA assists EB5 Regional Center investors and individuals who invest in their own business. Contact us or book a consultation with our experienced immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida USA to get the process started. We serve investors, businesses and entrepreneurs across all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Malescu Law P.A. – Business & Immigration Lawyers