Understanding EB-5 Visas: What is a ‘New Commercial Enterprise’?

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Understanding EB-5 Visas: What is a ‘New Commercial Enterprise’?

Through the EB-5 visa program, foreign nationals can get a green card by making a qualified investment into the United States. Under current regulations, investors must put at least $500,000 into a targeted employment area (most rural area) or $1,000,000 into a non-targeted area (most urban areas). For the investment to meet the requirements of the EB-5 program, there are several other standards that must be met.

Most notably, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that an EB-5 investment must be made into a ‘new commercial enterprise’. In this post, our top-rated Chicago EB-5 visa attorneys explain how the term ‘new commercial enterprise’ is defined under American immigration law.

The Two Required Elements of a New Commercial Enterprise

  • A ‘New’ Entity

To start, foreign nationals seeking an EB-5 visa must invest into a ‘new’ entity. However, this can be confusing. Under U.S. immigration law, the term ‘new’ is defined somewhat more broadly than most people realize. There are actually three separate ways to invest in a ‘new’ enterprise. The applicant can form a new business. Alternatively, the applicant can purchase and reorganize an existing business. Finally, the applicant can invest in and expand an existing business.

If you are forming a wholly new commercial entity, then you will have little trouble satisfying this requirement. Though, things can get far more complicated for immigrant investors who are seeking to reorganize or expand an existing company. In these cases, there must be a substantial change in the business. If you are considering this type of investment, you should consult with an immigration lawyer who will make sure that your investment will qualify you for the EB-5 program.

  • A Lawful For Profit Commercial Enterprise

USCIS also requires that the investment be made into a lawful, for-profit business. Here, too, the definition of a ‘commercial enterprise’ is broad. In fact, an investment into any of the following types of businesses could potentially qualify a person for a green card under the EB-5 program:

  • Sole proprietorships;
  • General or limited partnerships;
  • Corporations;
  • Joint ventures;
  • Holding companies;
  • Business trusts; and
  • Other complex commercial entities.

If you are making an investment into a complex business, you need to consult with an immigration lawyer who can ensure that your proposed investment actually qualifies as a valid ‘commercial entity’ under U.S. immigration regulations.

Contact Our Chicago Immigration Lawyers Today

At Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC, our skilled Illinois immigration law attorneys have extensive experience handling all aspects of EB-5 visa applications. If you are considering applying for an EB-5 visa, please do not hesitate to contact us today for a confidential case evaluation. With offices in Chicago, Waukegan, and Northbrook, we serve communities throughout the region.