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Can an online business qualify as a new commercial enterprise (NCE) under the EB-5 program?

An online business can potentially qualify as a new commercial enterprise (NCE) under the EB-5 program, but its eligibility depends on the nature of the business. An NCE is defined as a for-profit organization that was created or restructured after November 29, 1990. To be eligible, a business must create at least 10 jobs in a particular U.S. geographical area. Therefore, an online business that creates jobs only for workers outside the United States would not qualify for the EB-5 program.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sets out many other requirements governing job creation. For instance, each created job must last for two years and be filled by a worker with legal authorization for employment in the United States. Each position must be full-time (at least 35 hours per week). Numerous part-time jobs cannot be counted together as a full-time position, but project developers are allowed to use job-sharing agreements.

Job creation is one of the most important aspects that investors must assess before subscribing to a project; their immigration risk will be significantly lowered if the project in question plans on creating much more than 10 jobs per investor and is aware of the EB-5 program’s criteria regarding employment.

Since the EB-5 program’s numerous regulations can be complex, it would be prudent to retain an immigration attorney with EB-5 experience to help identify projects that comply with the program’s criteria. An immigration attorney’s services will be invaluable throughout the EB-5 visa process—these professionals can help investors identify the most trustworthy projects, file Forms I-526 and I-829, and help them gather the necessary documentation regarding the sources of their funds.

The best immigration attorneys will have filed numerous successful I-526 and I-829 visa petitions. When choosing an immigration attorney, EB-5 investors should favor those with high visa petition approval rates.