Immigrant Entrepreneurs: Finding the Right EB-5 Investment

The Immigrant Investor Program was created back in 1990 to provide targeted stimulation the U.S. economy. What on the surface looks as simple as a standard business investment in return for the EB-5 Visa and status as a conditional permanent resident, is actually a complicated program with a high amount of communication with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) and regional agencies. If you’re looking at the EB-5 program to get your U.S. visa, you should know about the requirements, how to find a business, and how to properly invest in it in this three part series.

Review our last article to learn about the requirements of the EB-5 program, including the requirements of a commercially new enterprise, job creation and preservation, and the amount of capital investment needed. This time, we’ll talk about looking for and finding the right business, and who you should contact to help.

Finding the Right Business

Once you’ve decided to become an EB-5 Investor and started the process with USCIS, it’s time to find the right business for your investment. While tempting to pick first business that meets criteria, it’s important to view this as an investment opportunity with a visa, and not a visa for the cost of your investment. As an entrepreneur it’s important to find a business that you can actually improve and create growth and job employment, in the best spirit of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and your own financial success.

Picking a Location

The first part of finding the right business is picking a location to search. Depending on your focus on business size (small, middle market, or large scale investment), you have different potential prospects for your business. When you start the EB-5 program, it’s important to think of where in the United States you want to move to (and where your business will be located). Below are some questions that can help you start the search for the right location.

  • Do you have family or friends already in the US
  • Do you plan on investing in a Targeted Employment Area?
  • What climate and outdoor activities do you prefer?
  • What are your skills and what industry do you want to enter?

These should provide you with starting points. Once you’ve selected a state and reviewed their policies (Targeted Employment Areas and other restrictions or requirements), it’s time to start searching for a business.

Contacting a Business Owner

Many business owners will post directly to the internet if they are interested in selling their business or searching for investment. These can easily be found on free posting sites such as Craigslist or more specific sites that requirement membership or ad payments. The issue is unless you are willing to travel to the states to inspect the business, it’s hard to verify the business owner’s claims, and you have to take much on faith.

Contacting a Business Broker

Business Brokers work with business seller and buyers to locate their opposites and properly vet and valuate the business’s worth. Since they build their reputation off helping buy and sell businesses, look for long established brokers with a long history of good client testimonials. Even with the most basic inquires, a good business broker can give you detailed information on multiple businesses, and help you with the legwork assessing them for your investment.

Contacting a Regional Center

Designed around the EB-5 program, EB-5 Regional Centers help immigrant investors through a group investment scheme instead of standard individual business growth. Instead of established businesses, Regional Centers instead usually focus on new projects backed by EB-5 program investment. Regional Centers can be public, private, or owned in a public-private partnership. Regional Centers help streamline the investment process, but also carry additional risk due to their start-up nature.

If you’re interested in learning more about how the EB-5 Program works and finding the right business to invest in, contact George & Company. Experts in business brokerage, investments, and mergers and acquisitions, we can help you find the right business in the right place in the New England area. To learn more about how to use your entrepreneurial skill to gain a U.S. Visa, check back soon to learn about investing properly for the Immigrant Investor Program.