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How Does An EB-5 Visa Work?

The EB 5 visa (Employment Based, 5th preference visa) program is a federal immigration program. It was created by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to encourage foreign investment in American businesses. The program enables foreign nationals to acquire a green card so long as they meet set investment requirements. Through investing in a U.S. business and creating jobs for American workers, the investor is granted temporary residency in America and may eventually be granted permanent residency.

EB 5 Visa Program: How It Works

Investment Requirements

To be eligible for an EB 5 visa, the foreign stakeholder should invest at least $800,000 in a new commercial enterprise located in a TEA (Targeted Employment Area) or $1,050,000 in a non-TEA. The investment must result in the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for Americans.

Regional Center

A regional center is an organization designated by USCIS to receive investments from EB 5 visa applicants. The investors should carefully research and evaluate the track record and investment opportunities of any regional center they are considering investing in.


Foreign investors must file an I-526 petition with the USCIS with approved documentation demonstrating that the investment meets the requirements. The investor can apply for an EB 5 visa if the petition is approved.

Conditional Residence

Upon arrival in America, the non-citizen will receive a two-year green card, known as a conditional. green card. The investor and their dependents are then authorized to live and work in the U.S. for a temporary period of time.

Removal of Conditions

After two years, the investor must file a petition to have the conditions removed from their green card. It requires demonstrating that the investment has been sustained and the necessary jobs have been created.

Permanent Residency

If the I-829 petition is approved, the EB 5 investor and their qualifying family members will be granted permanent residency in the United States. They will be able to live and work without further conditions.

EB 5 Eligibility Requirements

i) Investment

The investor must make the required investment in the regional center. The investment must be made in full and cannot be borrowed.

ii) Job Creation

At least 10 new, permanent American jobs must be made or saved for this investment to be successful. There is a time limit starting from the investor’s admission as a conditional permanent residence to create these jobs.

iii) Source of Funds

Non-citizens must demonstrate that the funds used for the investment were legally obtained and aren’t connected to any illegal activity. Investors must provide evidence showing the source of funds. Some sources of EB 5 investment funds include:

  • Personal savings: Some EB 5 investors use their savings to invest. The savings can include cash, stocks, or other assets that can be liquidated to invest.
  • Business income: Some EB 5 investors use income generated by their existing businesses to make the investment. This can include profits from a business, rental income from real estate, or other sources of income.
  • Gifts: EB 5 investors may receive gifts from family members or other individuals to make the investment. The gift must be documented, and the source of the gift must be verified.
  • Loans: EB 5 investors may also use loans to make the investment, as long as the loan is secured by personal assets and is not guaranteed by the U.S. business in which the investment is being made. The investor must show that they are personally liable for the loan.

iv) Background Check

Non-citizens must undergo a background check verifying that they will not threaten national security or public safety. The USCIS will review the petition and decide whether to approve or deny the application. If the petition is approved, the foreign national will be eligible to apply for a green card.

Contact an Expert To Learn More

The EB 5 visa application process can take lots of time and effort. Consultation with an immigration attorney, a financial advisor, and an EB 5 specialist can all be helpful. Reaching out to these various people can help you simplify the process and all the necessary steps. If approved, the foreign investor and their dependents may receive a permanent green card and can live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.

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