For a project to be eligible for the EB-5 program, it must fit the program’s definition of a new commercial enterprise (NCE). An NCE is a for-profit entity that was created or restructured after November 29, 1990. Furthermore, eligible projects must have a reasonable need for investment capital so that at least one EB-5 investor can make an investment of $1,8000,000 (or $900,000 if the project is in a targeted employment area [TEA]). Finally, EB-5 projects must generate at least 10 jobs per EB-5 investor. These are the basic requirements for EB-5 project developers, but creating a project that complies with all the regulations set out by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires careful planning, professional execution, and the guidance of an immigration attorney
The way an EB-5 project is structured largely depends on whether it is direct or sponsored by a regional center. In direct investment projects, the NCE and the job-creating entity (JCE) are the same. EB-5 capital is injected directly into the NCE, which will be responsible for creating at least 10 jobs per investor. Direct EB-5 investors are typically expected to participate in the business’s daily operations.
In contrast, the NCE and the JCE of a regional center project are separate. The EB-5 investment is made through the intermediation of the regional center, and the JCE is responsible for using the capital to create the necessary jobs. Usually, regional centers are responsible for providing much of the documentation an investor needs to complete Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor. Moreover, regional center investors typically sign on as limited partners and are not expected to participate in day-to-day managerial decisions.
EB-5 project developers must compile numerous documents to present to USCIS before becoming eligible to receive EB-5 capital. These include numerous legal documents and a detailed, USCIS-compliant business plan.