The percentage itself does not matter—any level of ownership is acceptable as long as (i) the investor makes the necessary investment of $900,000 or $1,800,000, (ii) the investment results in the creation of 10 or more jobs, and (iii) the investor participates in the daily operations or policy formation of the new commercial enterprise (NCE). Foreign nationals interested in making an EB-5 investment should keep in mind that the structure of direct and regional center projects is significantly different.
The way EB-5 projects are structured has a bearing on the investors’ level of involvement. In the direct EB-5 investment model, the EB-5 funds are provided directly to the NCE without the intermediation of a regional center. Since the NCE and the job-creating entity (JCE) are the same in direct projects, the NCE will be responsible for creating the needed jobs. Direct investors typically take a hands-on approach to managing their projects and can have more control over how their investment capital is used. This investment option may be appealing for investors who have managerial experience and are available to oversee their business’s day-to-day operations. Additionally, direct investors are typically responsible for gathering the documentation needed to submit their I-526 and I-829 petitions.
In contrast, the structure of regional center projects allows EB-5 investors to take on much lighter managerial responsibilities. In most regional center projects, investors sign on as limited partners. As such, they must participate in important business and policymaking decisions but are not required to be involved in day-to-day operations. Moreover, the regional center typically provides the project documentation needed to file Forms I-526 and I-829. Investors who have little managerial experience or are simply not available to oversee daily business operations may find it more convenient to choose a regional center-sponsored project. Potential EB-5 investors should consult an immigration attorney to help them decide which investment option suits them best.