The developer of a $150 million hotel and marina project along Jupiter Florida’s waterfront has turned to the federal government’s EB-5 financing program as a source of funding. The tough economy has made venture capital and bank loans difficult for many development projects. The Jupiter “Harbourside” development received approval from the Department of Homeland Security in September to proceed as an EB-5 Regional Center.
Florida immigration attorneys know that the EB-5 program was created after the recession in 1990 to 1991. The EB-5 program began in 1992 to attract foreign investment in the United States to create jobs. Foreign nationals, their spouses and children under the age of 21 can gain U.S. citizenship through the EB-5 program through investing at least $500,000 in U.S. projects that create ten jobs, directly or indirectly, within two years.
Currently 16 EB-5 projects in Florida have been approved by Homeland Security. Three of the approved projects can operate throughout the state of Florida. Most projects that have gained approval in the state can operate only in specific locations.
Like the Harbourside project in Jupiter, many developers have turned to the EB-5 program as a potential source of revenue. In 2008, roughly 1,400 applications for green cards under the EB-5 visa program were submitted by foreign investors. That number jumped to 4,200 applications in 2009.
Foreign nationals are subject to criminal and financial background checks under the EB-5 program. Those that pass the background checks are given a provisional green card. Once the investor receives a provisional green card, the $500,000 investment is released from an escrow account to the developer.
After two years, if ten jobs have been created through the investment, the foreign national can apply for permanent U.S. citizenship. If the jobs have not been created the provisional green card is revoked and the applicant loses the investment in the project.
Source: Palm Beach Post, “Jupiter project lures investor with promises of citizenship,” Bill DiPaolo 2 Jan 2011