mygoldenvisa logo
USA
April 1, 2024
5 min

How to Get US EB‑5 Visa for Investors

Brittany Collins

In a world where global mobility is increasingly important, the US Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB‑5) Visa offers an opportunity to diversify your investment portfolio and secure a future for you and your family in the land of opportunities.

The main requirement for the EB‑5 visa is the following — invest at least $800,000 in a US enterprise and create at least 10 jobs for qualified Americans.

Whether you’re a seasoned investor seeking new horizons or an ambitious entrepreneur eyeing the robust US market, our comprehensive guide provides all the essential information about the EB‑5 visa process.

How to Get US EB-5 Visa for Investors

How to Get US EB-5 Visa for Investors

Understanding the EB‑5 Visa Program

The EB‑5 visa program is like a golden ticket to the US for wealthy individuals. With it, they can get a residence permit in the country and move there for the whole visa validity period. The EB‑5 visa is an immigration one. That means you can apply for a Green Card and eventually US citizenship several years after obtaining it.

Congress created the EB‑5 visa program in 1990 to motivate overseas investment into US endeavors that generate employment for American employees. The main requirement is a significant investment into a new commercial enterprise that creates or preserves at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying US workers.

In 2022, changes were made to modernize the EB‑5 visa program rules, including increasing minimum investment amounts from $500,000 to $800,000 and giving USCIS more oversight over project designations.

The EB‑5 visa is about more than just having money. It’s about using that wealth strategically to contribute to job creation and economic growth within the US.

Minimum Investment Requirements

A company in the Targeted Employment Area

$800,000

A company outside the Targeted Employment Area

$1,050,000

There are other expenses besides investment. They include:

  • an administrative fee — $70,000+;

  • a registration fee — $1,000 per family;

  • a state fee for the I‑526E petition for the EB‑5 visa — $3,675 per family;

  • a state fee for the I‑485 petition for a Conditional Green Card — $1,225 per person and $750+ per applicant under 14;

  • a state fee for the I‑829 petition — $3,750 + $85 for collection of biometrics;

  • health insurance — $560+.

Why Invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)?

A Targeted Employment Area (TEA) in the United States is an area that, at the time of investment, is classified as:

  • high unemployment — an area which has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate;

  • or rural area — any area not within a metropolitan statistical area or the outer boundary of any city or town with a population of 20,000 or more, according to the most recent decennial census.

The purpose of the TEA designation is to incentivize investment in economically struggling places.

The main benefit of investing in a TEA is the reduced capital requirement. Typically, the standard EB‑5 investment amount is $1,050,000. However, if you choose to invest in a project located within a TEA, this requirement drops to $800,000.

Other benefits of TEA are:

  • economic stimulation — investing in TEAs significantly improves local economies by providing much-needed jobs and boosting overall growth;

  • faster processing times — projects within TEAs generally receive priority during processing times due to their potential positive impact on struggling communities.

Eligibility Requirements for Investors and Their Families

Not everyone can apply for an EB‑5 visa. The investor must meet several criteria:

  • be over 18;

  • have a legal income and be able to prove it;

  • have no criminal record.

The investor can also add their close family members to the application. That includes a spouse over 18 with no criminal record and unmarried children under 21.

Documents for an Employment-Based Fifth Preference Visa in the US

To participate in the EB‑5 visa program, you must provide a document package. It usually includes:

  • copies of passports;

  • birth certificates;

  • a marriage certificate if applicable;

  • proof of investment transfer;

  • a no criminal records certificate;

  • tax returns and bank statements;

  • proof of the legality of the investment sources.

Keep in mind that depending on your situation, you might be asked to provide additional papers.

The investor submits all the documents to a chosen Regional Center.

1

2 weeks

Determine eligibility

Determine if you meet the eligibility requirements for the EB‑5 visa program. You must be willing to invest at least $800,000 in a commercial enterprise that will create 10 full-time jobs for qualifying US workers. Your money must come from legal sources.

2

4 weeks

Investment and business plan

You need to make the required investment in a company in the US. It can be a new business, an existing business purchased after November 1990, or an existing business restructured or reorganized to form a new enterprise.

A comprehensive business plan must be prepared detailing the proposed project, job creation, and economic impact.

3

1 day

File form I-526E

After making the investment, you must file Form I‑526E, an EB‑5 visa application.

The form provides evidence about the source of your investment funds, the business plan for the enterprise you are investing in, and the plans for job creation.

4

3+ years

Wait for I-526E petition approval

After submitting the I‑526E petition, you must wait for USCIS to process and hopefully approve it. The processing time often takes 3—4 years.

5

6+ months

Apply for an immigrant visa

Once your I‑526E petition is approved, you must travel to the US and file an I‑485 petition for a Conditional Green Card.

You also need to go through a biometrics collection and sometimes an interview.

Your application is reviewed within at least 6 months. Then you obtain Conditional Green Cards for all family members. Documents are valid for two years.

Moving towards Unconditional Permanent Residency

You can become an unconditional permanent resident two years after obtaining a conditional Green Card. For that, you’ll need to file an I‑829 application. It involves providing solid documentation proving you’ve met all the requirements. If your I‑829 petition is approved, the conditions will be removed from your Green Card.

You can apply for US citizenship after five years of becoming a permanent resident. Remember, the I‑829 application must be filed within 90 days before your second anniversary of admission as a conditional resident.

While USCIS processes your I‑829 petition, you continue being treated as having lawful status until a decision is made. If your case is pending for over six months, you may request temporary proof of status by making an InfoPass appointment at your local office.

EB-5 US visa for investors

A Green Card is issued for life — you can live and work in the US permanently. However, you need to renew the card itself every 10 years

US EB‑5 Visa Benefits and Drawbacks

The US EB‑5 visa offers many benefits.

1. Moving to the US. Investors and their families can move to the US after their petition for a visa is approved. To do it, they don’t need to wait for the issuance of conditional Green Cards.

2. Path to US citizenship. The EB‑5 visa is an immigrant one. It is valid for two years, and after they pass, the investor can apply for an ordinary Green Card, equivalent to permanent residency. Five years later, Green Card holders can apply for US citizenship.

3. Access to education and healthcare. Investor’s children have the same rights as US citizens. They study schools for free and pay less money than international students for universities. They are also eligible to obtain scholarships. American diplomas are recognized worldwide.

4. Access to healthcare. The USA is one of the centers of medical tourism as the American healthcare system is one of the best in the world. US clinics are well-equipped, and doctors are highly educated.

5. Opening bank accounts. EB‑5 visa holders can open accounts in US banks in any currency. It allows them to keep their savings and make international transactions.

6. Investment return. Investors can get their money back when the investment cycle is completed. It usually takes 5—7 years.

However, there are some drawbacks to the EB‑5 visa that the investor must take into account. They are:

  • a risk of losing money if the company doesn’t do well;

  • high investment — from $800,000 to 1,050,000, depending on the region;

  • a long process of obtaining — it usually takes at least 5 years.

Conclusion

An EB‑5 visa is your golden ticket to becoming a US resident, but it requires significant investment.

You must invest at least $800,000 in an American company and create at least 10 jobs for qualified US workers.

The EB‑5 visa is also an immigrant visa that allows applying for a Green Card and US citizenship several years later. However, acquiring this type of visa can take more than 5 years.

Frequently Asked Questions