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Learn the basics of the EB-5 program

There is much debate in Arizona about illegal immigration, but there are many ways to legally enter the United States. One of them is through the EB-5 Program administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

This program allows entrepreneurs and their immediate family members to apply for permanent residency under certain conditions. They include:

-- The entrepreneur must invest in a U.S.-based commercial enterprise.

-- He or she must agree to preserve or create at least 10 full-time positions for qualified employees in the U.S.

-- The commercial enterprise must have been either established on or after Nov. 30, 1990, or if it was established prior to that date, it has to meet specific standards of expansion, reorganization or restructuring.

These commercial enterprises have to be for profit and conduct lawful business. They can take the form of business trusts, sole proprietorship, holding companies, general and limited partnerships, corporations or joint ventures.

The program provisions don't cover noncommercial activities like owning and operating personal residences.

Both direct and indirect positions can apply. Direct positions are identifiable positions filled by qualified workers in a specific area; indirect positions must be created by a capital investment in an enterprise in a specific area or be collaterally created.

There are many more guidelines and restrictions on the types of businesses and the areas that qualify, and it can be quite confusing to someone trying to jump through all of the immigration hoops without inadvertently breaking a law he or she didn't even know existed. Seeking the counsel of those with experience in this type of law can be enormously beneficial.

Source: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program," accessed March 25, 2016

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