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If you are considering investing significant amount of capital in a new enterprise or buying an existing one or buying just a share in an enterprise, EB-5 might be an option for you.

Under Section 8 CFR § 204.6 an Entrepreneur investing $1.8 million or more in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. that will each create at least 10 jobs is eligible for permanent residency.

Low Employment Areas 

The investment amount of $1.8 million is reduced to $900,000 if the investor is creating jobs in an area outside of metropolitan statistical areas, where unemployment is 150% of the National Rate. Such areas are called “Employment Targeted Areas” (“TEA”) since entrepreneurs are encouraged to invest in these areas and create jobs.  Generally speaking if you are investing in a rural area, most likely your investment could be $900,000, but in a city setting under the new rules that came into effect in 2019, you have to invest $1,800,000.

Investment through a Regional Center is a rather popular option as they are the ones who start and run the project, qualify it under the TEA rules, hire the necessary workers and deal with all administrative and business issues developing the project.  The amount of investment into a Regional Center is $900,000 and is discussed below.

Additional Eligibility Requirement: 

If the business being purchased is not really new, but an established business, then an existing business must be proved to being expanded by 40%;

The investor has to be involved in the management of the enterprise either by policy formulation or day to day management. Participation as the board member of a corporation suffices, as does limited partnership under the Uniform Limited Partnership Act. This means that the investor himself must be in control of his enterprise, although he might be spending significant time outside of the U.S., if he prefers.

Investment in the enterprise need not be limited to an alien entrepreneur. One or more entrepreneurs may invest in the enterprise, including alien entrepreneurs seeking the benefit of this provision, provided that at least 10 jobs are created for each alien seeking benefits. The jobs created must be full-time jobs for U.S. employees as defined in the regulations; a full-time job counts as a single job even though it may be shared part-time by more than one U.S. worker.

Capital needs not be in cash, but can be equipment, inventory or other tangible property. A bank loan can serve as an investment if such loan is secured by Investor’s assets.

Steps to obtain EB-5 through Regional Centers:

First, the immigrant investor expresses an interest in the EB-5 program, and selects one of EB-5 Affiliate Network USCIS approved Regional Centers and a specific investment project sponsored by that Regional Center. A complete investment offering memorandum and related materials are provided by EB-5 Affiliate Network to interested immigrant investors who qualify for the EB-5 program as accredited investors.

Once an investor decides to proceed, the investor will be required to complete and execute all subscription and Escrow documents and to submit therewith the required capital contribution of $900,000 or $1.8 million, depending on the location of the investment project, together with an additional administrative fee amount. The source of these funds must be documented to establish that they are lawful funds. The investor or his/her legal counsel will file a petition requesting to approve the immigrant investor applicant and his/her intended investment for conditional permanent residency (i.e. temporary Green Card). Typically, once the petition is approved by USCIS, the Escrow Agent will release the capital to the appropriate investment entity. In the rare case that an investor’s petition is denied (following appeal, if applicable), the Escrow Agent will return the immigrant investor’s capital to the investor. Between 21 and 24 months following conditional permanent resident status being granted, the investor will be able to file an application with the USCIS to remove the conditions on his/her residence in the U.S.

Dependents: EB-5 visa applicants, their spouse, and their children under 21 will obtain their permanent residence (green card) once all requirements have been successfully met and approved by the USCIS.

The amount of documentation to file for this category is quite voluminous and the process itself is very complex.