EB5 investor visa is for wealthy foreign individuals wanting to relocate to the US.  Citizens from any country can qualify to apply for an EB5 investor visa. EB5 investor visas allow the EB5 investor and his family members to legally work or open their own business in the US. EB5 investor visas allow the children of the investor to access US public schools and to receive in-state tuition at US universities. Same sex marriage is now legal in the US and thus the EB5 investor visa program has become more open for same sex couples.

Approved EB5 investor visa applicants will receive a two year US permanent residence. After two years, the EB5 investor visa applicant must apply to remove the conditions on their permanent residence so that it will become a ten year permanent residence. The EB5 investor visa applicant and their immediate family members (ie husband, wife and children) are eligible to apply for US citizenship after permanently residing in the US for six months or more per year for five straight years.

There are several different investment options that can qualify for EB5 investor visa status as follows:

  1. Invest $800,000 in an EB5 regional investment center in a targeted employment area.
  2. Invest $800,000 in a commercial enterprise in a targeted employment area that will benefit the US economy and create at least 5 full-time US jobs; OR
  3. Invest $1,050,000 in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy and create at least 10 full-time US jobs.

The most simple and common EB5 investor visa application involves investing $800,000 in an EB5 regional investment center.  The EB5 investor is not required to be active in the business if investing $800,000 in an EB5 regional investment center.  Thus, the EB5 investor is a passive investor and is simply buying a green card for themselves and their immediate family.

EB5 regional investment centers generally are large private businesses that have fixed term projects or intend to sell the business by private sale or public offering within 5 years or less.  Thus, EB5 investors are required to maintain their $800,000 investment in the regional investment center for a minimum of five years and then such money is usually returned with interest or a share of the profits.

The most important point to note is that EB5 investor visa applicants must evidence that the $800,000 came from lawful sources.  Examples of lawful sources would be from employment, a business, inheritance, gift, loan, etc.  However, please note that the original source of such money must be lawful as well.  For example, a notorious drug dealer could not gift such money obtained from trafficking drugs to his son and then have such son use such money to invest.

EB5 regional investment centers cannot guarantee your money back because all investments have risk.  All EB5 regional investment centers must go through scrutiny and thorough review of their business plan by USCIS before they can be approved as an official EB5 regional investment center

  • It is always recommended that you do thorough due diligence prior to committing your funds to any EB5 regional center investment.

The USCIS maintains a list of numerous “approved” EB5 regional investment centers that can be found on their website.  Please be aware there is an annual quota of only 10,000 EB5 investor visas per year made available worldwide to foreign nationals.

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US State Department - EB5 Investor Visa

Foreign Affairs Manual – EB5 Investor Visa

USCIS - EB5 Investor Visa