EB5 Visa

The EB-5 Visa program was introduced in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy by facilitating foreign investment and domestic job creation.

The EB-5 visa is a green card, giving lawful permanent U.S. residency to the holder and their immediate family members. Up to 10,000 EB-5 Visas are awarded each year.

It is awarded to foreign investors who invest a significant amount of money in a business in the United States that provides goods or services in the domestic economy. The business may be newly formed, or could be formed by restructuring an existing enterprise.

EB-5 Visa Requirements

In certain areas called "targeted employment areas", the minimum investment is $800k. In all other areas, the minimum required investment is $1,050,000. The funds must also be shown to come from lawful sources.

You must be able to show that the investment will – directly or indirectly – create at least ten new full-time jobs in the U.S. economy for people qualified to work in the U.S., i.e. citizens, permanent residents, or other immigrants authorized to work in the United States. Note that the EB-5 investor does not count towards this total, even if they work full-time in the business.

The investor may be actively involved in the business, either as a manager or limited partner, but is not prevented from doing other work or from studying in the United States.

There must be an element of "risk of loss" of capital in the investment, i.e. the investor must stand both to gain from the investment and also possibly to lose the entire sum. That means it is illegal for any party to guarantee the EB-5 investor a return on their investment. (However, it is permitted for a Job Creation Enterprise to guarantee the return of a loan to a New Commercial Enterprise.)

There are two options for EB5 Investors: Direct Investment, or Regional Center investment.

Regional Centers

300+ EB5 Visa Regional Centers

EB-5 visa applications may be sponsored by one of over 300 Regional Centers. These are public or private approved organizations that are involved with economic growth.

Regional Center investments generally follow a loan-based model with no ownership of the project or everyday control and management (unless a direct equity investment wherein an investor applicant ‘buys’ a share in the project). Regional Centers tend to be most useful for investors who do not intend to invest direct and take a day-to-day role in the business.

Another benefit of using a Regional Center is that it allows the project to count indirect job creation alongside direct jobs, to help meet the job creation criteria. Also, the burden to create 10 full-time US jobs is on developer/borrower

Going through a Regional Center is also advisable for investors who may wish to move anywhere in the country and so do not wish to be located close to the business.

The performance and suitability of different Regional Centers can vary widely, so it is crucial to get all relevant background information before deciding to invest this way.

Benefits of the EB-5 Investor Visa

  • The EB-5 approval process tends to be quicker than other green cards, as it has current priority dates for concurrent filng of adjustment of
    status cases.
  • USCIS has relaxed the requirements and are granting more EB-5 applications than in recent years.
  • Freedom for Investor and family to live, work, and retire anywhere in the United States.
  • You may apply for U.S. citizenship after holding permanent residency for at least five years.
  • Unlike other visa types, you do not have to have a job offer prior to applying.
  • You do not have to disclose all your financial details, but you do have to prove your or your lender’s source of funds for the
  • The beneficiary does not have to be heavily involved in the petition process.

Application Sequence

  1. The initial USCIS form for an EB-5 petition is form I-526.
  2. If you are in US, you can file for
    adjustment of status and obtain work and travel authorization.
  3. Permanent residence may be applied for by filing form I-829 during the final 90-day period of conditional residency.

EB-5 Visa Questions

Q: What defines a "failing"?

Q: Can I leave the United States and return?

Q: Can my spouse and children get permanent residency?

Q: Under what conditions may I and my family get U.S. citizenship?

Q: Can I apply for an EB-5 Green Card without an immigration attorney?

Q: What is a "Targeted Employment Area"?

Q: How soon do the 10 positions need to be created?

Q: What other requirements are there on those 10 positions?

Q: What is an "at risk" investment?