History of the EB-5 Program

The Immigrant Investor Program, commonly known as the EB-5 Program, was introduced through the United States Congress’ Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT90). This act, which included modifications to non-immigrant visa categories, deportation regulations, and amplified the legal immigration limits, among other key revisions, also gave rise to the EB-5 Program. The objective of the program was to encourage foreign entrepreneurs to invest in an American commercial enterprise and in turn, stimulate the U.S. economy. The program offers foreign investors the opportunity to permanently reside and work in the United States by providing them with a means to obtain a green card and potentially citizenship. In 1993, the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program was created to promote the EB-5 visa program. The pilot program authorized the establishment of EB-5 Regional Centers, which are business entities that have been granted special designation from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to administer EB-5 investments and create jobs.

Subsequently, in the late 1990s, a series of significant reforms were made to the EB-5 program. These reforms were prompted by the discovery of lenient regulation enforcement and fraudulent EB-5 investment schemes. The fraudulent schemes were uncovered in the U.S. District Court case of U.S. v. O’Connor. Following the case, the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), the appeals unit of USCIS, amended the EB-5 requirements in 1998 to require investors to furnish proof that EB-5 investments originate from lawful sources and that investors are personally involved with their EB-5 project, and they prohibited investment return guarantees. USCIS attempted to apply these new regulations retroactively to previous EB-5 cases, but the ruling in Chang v. U.S. made this practice illegal. The number of EB-5 applicants declined significantly after the new regulations were enacted.

During the 1990s, the AAO made several precedent decisions on program requirements, including the type of commercial entity that can take EB-5 investment, the qualifications for legal source of funding, and how the investment can be administered. The four important decisions made by the AAO in the 1990s, Matter of Ho, Matter of Hsiung, Matter of Izummi, and Matter of Soffici, are still binding on current EB-5 applications.

In 2003, Congress passed the Basic Pilot Program Extension and Expansion Act to revitalize the EB-5 program. This act compelled the Government Accounting Office (GAO) to undertake a thorough investigation into the EB-5 visa program. The investigation found that only a fraction of the 10,000 visas allocated to the EB-5 program were being granted each year. This discovery prompted additional program reforms. One of the reforms was the establishment of the Investor and Regional Center Unit (IRCU) in 2005 to oversee the EB-5 program.

In 2009, USCIS issued revised EB-5 policy guidance, centralizing EB-5 processing at the California Service Center and making other changes. In July 2019, USCIS published a rule of EB-5 modernization changes, which included increasing investment amounts and other changes that took effect on Nov. 21, 2019. In March 2022, Congress reauthorized the EB-5 Regional Center program through the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. This act reauthorized the program through September 30, 2027, and set investment requirements at $1,050,000 or $800,000 in high unemployment areas.

Read about EB5 Processing guidance in 2023 here

Choosing an Eb-5 Project

Choosing an investment project can be an extensive process for EB-5 investors. However, there are steps to take to make this monumental decision efficiently and effectively. Due to the market’s consistency and transparency, investors must strongly prefer commercial real estate projects.

Surrounding with legal and financial advisors is imperative when selecting an eb5 investor program, as immigration law compliance issues and financial risks are involved with the process. The following points focus on regional center project-related factors to consider when making this critical decision.

Here are some important aspects of a regional center project to keep in mind when making your decision:

  • First, ensure you understand the eb-5 visa requirements and the different types of investment to new commercial enterprise options available. There are two main categories of EB-5 projects: direct investments and investments through an eb5 regional center. Each has its own set of benefits and risks.
  • Next, consult with legal and financial advisors to get expert opinions on the project you’re considering. There are many compliance issues to be aware of, and you want to ensure your investment is as safe as possible.
  • The Investor Subscription Agreement and Private Placement Memorandum shall comply with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the USCIS.
  • Finally, do your research on the project and the company behind it. Request information about their business plan, financial projections, and past performance. Carefully review all materials before making your final decision.

By taking the time to understand the EB-5 program and consult with an investor company in River Oak to choose an investment project that meets your needs and gives you the best chance of success.

Regional Centers

A public or private economic organization in the United States that fosters economic growth and economic development is known as EB 5 regional center. Although EB-5 investors can establish their own New Commercial Enterprises, most EB-5 visa applicants typically invest through a Regional Center.

A project must accompany every application to the USCIS for regional center approval. USCIS chooses regional centers to take part in the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program.

Direct Investments

Any investment not made through a regional center program is considered an EB5 direct investment. Direct investments include things like creating your own company, buying an existing company, and making investments in an existing company.


Direct investments usually require a higher minimum investment amount than indirect investments and more hands-on involvement from the investor.

What Is the Future of Eb-5 Projects in the United States?

EB-5 remains an attractive financing option for commercial real estate developers in the United States. However, it has been challenging for the various EB-5 sector participants and the U.S. government to come to an agreement on how to improve the EB-5 program. This is why passing EB-5 legislation in Congress can be challenging, particularly the reauthorization of the own regional center designation.

According to industry analysts, a clause reauthorizing regional center investment is anticipated to be included by Congress in a February 2022 appropriations package initially expected in December 2021. These forecasts are speculative, of course, and prospective regional center investors could need to hold off on starting the EB-5 procedure for many more months.

For the direct EB 5 visa investments, the situation is very different. Government renewal is not a requirement for direct EB-5 investors. Many investors have learned to value the many benefits direct EB-5 development projects offer, including the possibility for higher returns and more influence over corporate operations.

Direct investors can still participate in the EB-5 program for as little as $500,000 even if USCIS appealed the court decision that reduced the investment requirement. In 2022, direct EB-5 projects are projected to continue to be popular.

EB-5 Visa Requirements-U.S. Citizenship by Investment

1.Qualifying Investment

The first requirement that must be met is the investment amount requirement, which states that applicants must invest at least $900,000 USD into a new commercial enterprise located within the United States or its territories.

The required minimum investment can be reducing to $500,000 if the investment is made into an area that has been designated as a “Targeted Employment Area” (TEA) or a “Regional Center” (RC).

A TEA is defined as an area with high unemployment rates or rural areas without adequate employment opportunities while RCs are entities that have been approved by USCIS and designated as such due to their ability to create jobs, attract investments from foreign countries, and stimulate economic growth within their region through job creation and capital investments.

Individuals looking for United States citizenship must submit Form I-485 and a fee of $1140, plus an additional cost for biometric services totaling $85. With these funds, applicants are one step closer to their goal of becoming United States citizens!

2. Job Creation Requirement

In addition to meeting the investment requirements outlined above, applicants must also demonstrate that their investments will fulfill atleast 10 full-time job creation requirements for U.S.-based employees within two years of receiving conditional green card status on their EB-5 application approval date.

These jobs must meet certain criteria such as being direct (jobs created directly by the applicant’s business venture), indirect (jobs created indirectly by increased demand due to the applicant’s business venture), and induced (jobs created indirectly due to increased spending resulting from direct and indirect employees).

Additionally, these jobs must remain in existence for at least two years after the initial two-year period has passed in order for applicants to maintain their conditional permanent resident status and eventually gain full permanent residence status in the United States upon fulfillment of all other applicable requirements under this program.

If you have any questions about whether you meet these qualifications then it is best practice always consult with financial advisors familiar with immigration law prior making any decisions regarding your eligibility for this type of visa application process.

EB-5 Green Card Process for Qualified Investors

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is a US immigration program that allows foreign investors to become permanent US residents by investing in job-creating projects in the United States. For many, it’s a great way to gain access to the US and its benefits.

But how does the process work? Let’s explore the steps needed to invest in an EB-5 Green Card.

Step 1 – Qualifying for an EB-5 Visa

The first step is determining if you meet the requirements for an EB-5 visa. To qualify, you must have invested or be in the process of investing at least $1 million into a new commercial enterprise in the US (or $500,000 if investing in certain targeted employment areas). Additionally, you must demonstrate that your investment will create full-time jobs for at least 10 American workers.

Step 2 – Selecting an Investment Project

Once you’ve determined that you are eligible for an EB-5 visa, the next step is selecting an investment project. There are many options available, from real estate development projects to manufacturing plants or even service businesses such as restaurants and hotels. It’s important to choose a project that meets your needs and fits within your budget.

Step 3 – Making Your Investment 

Once you’ve selected your project, it’s time to make your investment. This can be done through either direct investment or regional center investment. With direct investment, you must manage all aspects of your business yourself; with regional center investment, you can invest in pre-approved projects managed by experienced professionals who will handle all of the details on your behalf.

 Step 4 – Filing Your Immigrant Petition 

The final step is filing Form I-526 with USCIS and submitting all necessary supporting documents (including evidence of job creation). Once filed, USCIS will review your application and determine whether or not you meet their requirements for approval. If approved, you will receive conditional permanent residency status based on your investments and job creation activities.

 Step 5 – Removing Conditions 

After two years of receiving conditional permanent residency status, investors must file Form I-829 with USCIS to remove their conditions and receive full permanent residency status in the United States—a critical step that should not be overlooked!

After these five steps are complete, eb-5 investors will have received their green card and can enjoy all of the benefits that come along with being a lawful resident of the United States!

Benefits of the EB5 Visa Program for the US and Its Citizens

The EB-5 Visa Program proved to be a great benefit for the US and its citizens. This program allows foreign investors to live and work in the country, investing in new businesses and creating jobs for the local communities.

In short;

  • Economic expansion.
  • Creation of jobs.
  • Developing in less-served regions.

By doing so, these entrepreneurs help stimulate local economies, boost revenues, and strengthen industries. As their investments expand, they bring experienced workers to their projects while helping existing American workers increase their wages and benefits.

Furthermore, the EB-5 visa holders have the freedom to engage in any investment activity of their choice as long as it adheres to the laws lay down by the US government.

In that way, EB-5 visas provide many of invaluable economic opportunities for both foreign investors and US citizens alike.

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program- Free EB-5 Visa Consultation

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program provides a unique avenue for individuals and families to receive their permanent residency in the United States.

It allows qualified foreign investors to obtain a Green Card by investing $900,000 in an approved project that creates jobs in the U.S., such as regional centers.

As this program is highly specialized, it is important to consult with an EB-5 migration specialist who can help you navigate the process smoothly.

At EB 5 River Oak, we provide free EB-5 visa consultation, which makes it easier and more accessible for those interested in joining this program. Our experienced team of experts helps guide you through the documentation process quickly and efficiently so you can enter the country sooner.

Interested in speaking with us?