EB-5 Program


EB-5 is an investment immigration program created by the United States government and administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The EB-5 program allows qualified foreign investors to earn a green card by making an investment that is responsible for the creation for at least 10 new U.S. jobs.”

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) require an investment of either $800,000 into a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or an investment of $1,050,000 into a project that is not located in a TEA.

There are two types of Targeted Employment Areas. A project may be located in a TEA if it is in a high unemployment area, which is defined as an area with an unemployment rate that is at least 150% of the national unemployment rate.  The designated area can be a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), a county that is within an MSA, a county in which in a city of more than 20,000 is located, or a city of more than 20,000 outside of an MSA.”

“A project may also be located in a TEA if it is located in a designated rural area.  A rural area is any area that has less than 20,000 residents that is not located within an MSA.

Yes, there are a number of other expenses that an EB-5 applicant can expect to incur. First, the applicant will need to hire an immigration attorney to handle the applicant’s I-526E filing.  The attorney’s fee can vary depending on the experience of the attorney and the complexity of each investor’s I-526 petition.

USCIS charges a filing fee of $3,675 for the I-526E filing and a $3,750 fee for filing the I-829, which is used to move from a conditional to a permanent green card. It should be noted that both fees are expected to increase significantly in the coming months.  Additionally, regional centers typically charge an administrative fee for each investor.

An EB-5 investor can receive their original capital contribution back two-years after the funds have been made available to the job creating entity as long as the required job creation has occurred.  In practice, investors receive the return of their original investment at the end of the loan term between the new commercial enterprise and the job creating entity. Typically, these loan terms are three to five years and have optional 0ne-year extensions for the job creating entity.

The answer depends on what type of an investment the EB-5 applicant is making. If the applicant is making a direct EB-5 investment, then they must maintain control over the job creating entity. However, by investing through an approved EB-5 regional center the applicant is not required to have any control or involvement with the project or job crating enterprise.

USCIS defines a regional center as ‘an economic unit, public or private, in the United States involved with promoting economic growth.’  All regional centers must be approved by USCIS. In practice, the function of an EB-5 regional center is to facilitate investment between EB-5 investors and larger projects that are suitable for EB-5 investment. Regional centers can aggregate multiple investors into one project and are able to create significantly more jobs than a direct investment.

There are multiple advantages to investing in a regional center project. First, investing in a regional center project makes it easier for an investor to meet the job creation requirements. Job creation for a regional center project is measured through an economic formula and not only credits the investor with direct jobs, but also indirect and induced jobs. Indirect and induced jobs take into account jobs that are created in the project’s supply chain as well as the economic impact the project has on the surrounding community.

Second, a regional center can aggregate multiple investors into larger projects, which typically have more financial resources than smaller projects.  A regional center also has a fiduciary duty to its EB-5 investors and must act in the best interests of its investors.

Third, an EB-5 investor is not required to have any direct involvement or control in an EB-5 project. This allows an investor to focus on moving their family to the United States and being able to start their own career or business without the pressure of that project having to meet the EB-5 job requirements.

Along with the petitioner, the EB-5 application may include the petitioner’s spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21. Parents, grandparents, children over the age of 21, and other relatives would require their own EB-5 petition.

The only difference between a conditional and unconditional visa is that the visa holder is still waiting to prove the conditions required to transition from a conditional green card to a permanent or unconditional green card. In the case of EB-5, the green card holder must prove that their investment resulted in the creation of 10 U.S. jobs. However, a conditional green carder holder has all the same rights and privileges of a permanent or unconditional green card holder, including the right to work or start their own business.

No, the ability to speak English is not a requirement to receive a green card through the EB-5 program. It is, however, recommended that a potential EB-5 applicant review all project and legal documents in a language that they are best equipped to understand in order to make an informed decision on whether to proceed with pursuing a green card through EB-5 and to determine which project is most suitable in their mind for meeting all of the EB-5 requirements.

Yes, a person that obtained a green card through the EB-5 program may apply for citizenship after they have established permanent residency for a period of five years. There, is no requirement, however, to apply for citizenship and the green card holder may choose to remain in the U.S. as a permanent resident.