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Can being an entrepreneur help me get a green card?

You’ve always dreamed of being an entrepreneur in the United States. You’ve got money ready to invest and an idea that is going to take the world by storm. There’s just one more thing you want before you finally start your business: green cards for you and your loved ones.

Whether your family already lives in the United States with you or you are hoping to help them immigrate, you want everyone to be a permanent resident before you start spending potentially millions of dollars on your business. Luckily, there is a special government process just for this situation called the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

The EB-5 program allows wealthy investors like you to apply for green cards for you, your spouse and your unmarried children under 21. There are two requirements to qualify for this program: you have to create—or help create—a business, and you have to create a certain number of jobs with it.

Starting or investing in a business

There are two ways you can invest your money to be eligible for the EB-5 program. You can start your own business or invest your money into one that is struggling. The minimum amount you need to start with is one million dollars—or half that if you are investing in a high-unemployment area.

If you choose to invest in a struggling business, the requirement is to increase either the net worth or employee count by 40 percent. With these different options, it’s important to have a plan in place for how you will invest your money once you and your family receive green cards.

Creating or preserving jobs

On top of wanting your money to stimulate the economy, the U.S. government also requires that you maintain jobs for qualified workers. If you are starting a new commercial enterprise, the number must be 10 permanent full-time positions. The number is the same for a struggling business—but you can just keep 10 jobs instead of creating 10 new positions.

You want to create a better life for your loved ones here in the United States. Your investment could lead not only to more money for you, but a brighter future for your family.

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