After initial application and approval, Investors receive a green card that is conditional for two years at which time a post-audit of the enterprise and the investment is made to see if the requirements of the regulations have been met. If the audit is approved, a permanent green card is issued.
If the business will be in a high unemployment area or in a rural area (population under 20,000), the investment can be $500,000. Certain other areas in the U.S. have also been designated for $500,000 investments. (New York City as an example, is a $500,000 investment area). If the business is not located in one of these designated or rural areas, then the investment must be at least $1 million.
The investor must manage day-to-day or at a policy making level. A passive role is not permitted.
The capital investment can be in cash or indebtedness. The investment can be equipment, inventory, or other tangible property obtained by lawful means. None of the assets of the new enterprise can be used to secure any of the debt. The investor must be personally and primarily liable for the investment debt. The BCIS and the Consul will look closely at the source of the funds to make sure they are not the result of crime or other improper activities.
The capital is considered "invested" when the capital is at risk in the enterprise. Mere plans or intent to invest are not sufficient.
The investment must create full time jobs for at least 10 legal U.S. workers within two years of the initial investment unless it is a Troubled Business. The investment can be in a new business or in a failing existing enterprise: a "Troubled Business". Takeover of a "Troubled Business" is permitted. The business to be taken over must be at least 2 years old and must have had a net loss of at least 20% of its net worth during the previous one or two years. The investment must increase the net worth by 40% or the number of employees by 40%. With a Troubled Business, no new jobs must be created but the business plan must show that the number of existing employees will be maintained for at least two years.
Because of the amount of the required investment and the complexity of the immigration laws in this area, professional help is recommended.
© Richard Madison 2003