EB-5 Program

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Green Card

The EB-5 (Employment Based Fifth Preference) immigration investment program was established in 1990, with the goal of attracting overseas investors to invest and create employment opportunities in the United States. According to the Immigration Act of 1990 Section 203(b)(5), an alien who uses his own lawfully gained capital to invest in establishing a commercial enterprise that creates 10 or more jobs may immigrate to the United States under the EB-5 classification. If the alien invests in a "regional center" approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), both indirect as well as direct jobs may be used to satisfy the job creation requirement.


Invest at least $1,000,000 or $500,000 in a regional center affiliated new commercial enterprise or a troubled business located within the area of the USCIS designated Regional Center.

Create at least 10 new full-time jobs either directly through the capital investment.

EB-5 Visa

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The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program ("Pilot Program") was created by Section 610 of Public Law 102-395 (Oct. 6, 1992), and has been extended through Sept. 30, 2012. EB-5 requirements for an investor under the Pilot Program are essentially the same as in the standard EB-5 investor program, except the Pilot Program provides for investments that are affiliated with an economic unit known as a "Regional Center." Investments made through regional centers can take advantage of a more expansive concept of job creation including both "indirect" and "direct" jobs.

Regional Center

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What is an EB-5 green card?

The Immigration Act of 1990 established the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program to create U.S. jobs by attracting foreign capital to the United States. Every year 10,000 EB-5 green cards are available. There is no quota or waiting list for EB-5, unlike H-1B and H-2B non-immigrant visa classifications, and most EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant classifications where the demand far exceeds the supply.

Almost a third of these 10,000 EB-5 green cards (3,000) are set aside for qualifying immigrants who participate in an EB-5 Regional Center program that targets high unemployment areas across the United States.

The EB-5 green card program has three basic requirements:

  • The alien must establish a U.S. business or invest in an existing business that was created or restructured after November 19, 1990
  • The alien must have invested $1 million (or only $500,000 when investing in a targeted employment area) in the business
  • The business must create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers

Who qualifies for an EB-5 green card?

Qualified EB-5 candidates must be able to invest either $1 million or $500,000 in a U.S. business, depending on the program selected. Ideal EB-5 prospects include but are not limited to:

  • Retirees
  • Entrepreneurs, including those who don't qualify for an E-2 visa
  • Investors from non-treaty countries
  • CEO/Managers of a U.S. company who are not an L-1 transferee
  • Doctors who have not passed USMLE 1, 2 and 3
  • F-1 student who wants to start a business
  • Foreign national investors in a U.S. business who do not want to be active in the business
  • Individual owners of a non-U.S. business who want to set up a U.S. business, but who cannot use an L-1 because owner intends to close the foreign business
  • Parents who seek U.S. education for their children, but do not want to be actively involved in business management

What is the "regular" EB-5 program?

In order for an applicant to qualify under the EB-5 regular program, the following three basic requirements must be met:

  • Investment in a new commercial enterprise
  • Investment of at least $1 million (or $500,000 in certain cases) into the business, and
  • Creation of employment for at least 10 full-time U.S. workers

The investment may consist of various forms of capital, such as cash (including a gift or loan), equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents. An investment amount of $1 million is generally the minimum. However, $500,000 is acceptable if the business is situated in a "targeted" employment area, i.e., one that has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate or a rural area.

What are Regional Centers?

Regional Centers are entities, organizations or agencies that focus on a specific geographic area within the United States in order to promote economic growth tere. Most Regional Centers are in targeted employment areas, i.e., areas that have an unemployment rate that is at least 1.5 times higher that the national average. Regional Centers are designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). The Centers do not guarantee profit or the return of an investor's principal investment.

What are the benefits of using Regional Center projects?

Benefits include:

  • Generally less up-front investment capital is needed ($500,000 versus $1 million USD)
  • No day-to-day management required
  • The jobs created from the investment can be direct or indirect
  • The investor can live and work anywhere in the U.S.
  • The investor can be retired
  • There are over 45 Regional Centers available for selection

How long does it take to get an EB-5 green card?

The entire process generally takes about 8-18+ months, depending on where the green card processing occurs. Prior to filing the I-526 petition, time is required for the client to conduct a due diligence, obtain source of funds documentation, and make the investment. I-526 adjudication currently takes about 2 months.

Generally, after the I-526 is approved, if an individual is in lawful status in the U.S., he/she can apply for Adjustment of Status to Conditional Residence which currently takes about 12+ months. If not in the United States, he/she will apply for an Immigrant Visa at a home country Embassy or Consulate, which typically takes about 6 months or longer depending on the country. Times may vary depending on the facts of each case.

How much needs to be invested to get an EB-5 green card?

The minimum investment is $1 million for the "regular" EB-5 program. Alternatively, $500,000 is acceptable if the business is situated in a specially designated high employment area. The money can be the investor's own funds or in the form of a loan or gift, which would allow a parent to gift funds to a son or daughter. The investment may consist of various forms of capital, including cash, equipment, inventory, property, and other tangible equivalents.

What are the steps to getting an EB-5 green card?

  • Confirm the source and availability of funds available for your EB-5 business investment.
  • Conduct due diligence on your preferred business investment.
  • Once you approve the selected business, we will advise you regarding your capital investment.
  • Now you are ready to file your petition as an alien entrepreneur with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS). We help you petition the CIS to certify your eligibility for EB-5 status.
  • Once you are approved, we help you file for an Adjustment of Status or Immigrant Visa.
  • When you are granted conditional resident status, a wait period of 21-24 months commences to verify that the full investment has been made and 10 jobs created.
  • We help you file an application (Form I-829) to remove conditional resident status at the specified time.
  • A full green card is granted for indefinite permanent resident status and work permission in the U.S. United States once conditional resident status is removed.
  • Your immigration attorney will assist you throughout the entire EB-5 application process.