What is an EB-5 Visa?

The EB-5 visa is a program designed to offer foreigners an opportunity to gain permanent residency in the United States by making an investment in a U.S. business. Administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), this eb5 program was created by the U.S. Congress in 1990 to encourage and support increased investment in the U.S. economy.

The EB-5 investor visa program provides a pathway for eligible foreign investors to obtain a green card, which allows them to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis along with their spouse and children who are under the age of 21 and unmarried. Subsequently, the visa holder and their dependents can become eligible and apply to become U.S. citizens.

To qualify for the EB-5 visa program, foreign investors must make a capital investment that carries a certain degree of risk in a U.S. business entity that operates for profit. The minimum required investment amount is either $800,000 or $1,050,000, depending on the location of the project where the investment is made. The investment requirement is lower if it is made in a targeted employment area (TEA), which refers to areas that are in need of economic development. The capital investment made by the EB-5 investor must lead to the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs in the U.S. that should exist for a minimum of two years. Other than minimum investment, there are certain other requirements for getting EB-5 visa. 

Overall, the EB-5 investor visa program is an opportunity for foreign investors to invest in a U.S. business and at the same time gain a permanent residency status, with the potential to eventually become a U.S. citizen.

How Many EB-5 Visas Are Issued Each Year?

The EB-5 visa program, which grants permanent residency in the United States to foreign investors, has a limited annual allocation of approximately 10,000 visas. However, due to a significant increase in the number of applicants since 2011, individuals from certain countries may experience a prolonged waiting period before obtaining their EB-5 visas. This upward trend in program participation can be attributed to several factors, including the heightened transparency of USCIS, more efficient application procedures, and the growth of regional centers across the country. To provide a better understanding of the processing of EB-5 visa petitions, USCIS annually publishes statistics on the number of filed and adjudicated I-526 petitions, as well as the number of pending petitions awaiting processing. These figures provide valuable insights into the demand for EB-5 visas and the challenges faced by applicants seeking permanent residency in the United States through investment.

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.

EB-5 Regional Center Investments

The EB-5 investor visa program offers two main investment options to applicants, including direct investment and investment sponsored by an EB-5 Regional Center. Direct investment requires investors to find their own investment project and forego the indirect job count advantage. This option is best suited for those who want more control over their investment and the project they invested in.

On the other hand, the investment sponsored by an EB-5 Regional Center may be the best choice for investors who prioritize their immigration goals over obtaining maximum returns on their investment. It is also ideal for investors who prefer not to have day-to-day involvement in managing their investment. Regional centers are designated by USCIS to sponsor EB-5 investment projects and are responsible for complying with USCIS EB-5 program regulations. By investing through a regional center, investors can ease the burden of meeting program requirements and focus on their immigration goals, allowing them to take a more hands-off approach to their investment.

In fact, statistics show that over 95 percent of all EB-5 visas issued in 2019 were based on investments made through a regional center. This growth in popularity can be attributed to various factors such as increased confidence in the program due to USCIS transparency, streamlined application processes, and a surge in the number of regional centers established throughout the United States. 

EB-5 Job Creation Requirements

According to USCIS, an EB-5 investment must preserve or create a minimum of 10 full-time positions for workers in the United States who qualify. This creation, or preservation, of jobs generally must occur within two years of the investor’s conditional permanent residency and entrance into the United States. Jobs created in EB-5 projects are defined as direct, indirect or induced. In the direct investment context, the EB-5 visa applicant must prove that the EB-5 capital resulted in the actualization of direct jobs of employees working directly in the business in which the investment was made (i.e. full-time, W-2 employees). In the regional center context, the applicant can count direct, indirect, and induced jobs toward the job creation requirement. Indirect and induced jobs are demonstrated by mathematical formulas which measure the economic impact of the EB-5 investment.

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.

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