EB-5 Essentials:

Your Comprehensive
FAQ Guide

Project Selection and Monitoring

We provide detailed information on financial stability, track records, risk mitigation strategies and transparent insights into the project’s management team.

Our projects showcase exceptional job creation potential while ensuring strict USCIS compliance.

Gain insights into project refinancing, sale opportunities, or capital recoupment.

We work with well-regulated projects with a track record of integrity and reputable affiliations.

Get regular project updates on finances, job creation, and potential risks to stay well-informed throughout your investment journey.

Program and Process

Navigating the EB-5 program can be complex. We simplify complexities and ensure a smooth EB-5 process, including document preparation and submission.

We provide clarity on investment costs and associated fees, enabling you to make well-informed financial decisions.

Our network includes experienced immigration attorneys well-versed in EB-5 regulations to support you throughout the process.

Discover the advantages of investing through a USCIS-approved regional center, which facilitates job creation and simplifies the process for EB-5 investors.

Learn about the EB-5 visa program, which offers a pathway to obtain permanent residency through investment in the United States.

Understand the eligibility criteria for the EB-5 program and determine if you qualify to embark on this exciting immigration and investment journey.

Learn about how to invest your commitment amount over a longer period of time.

A General Introduction
What is EB-5?
Which businesses are suitable for EB-5 investments?
When do EB-5 investors get their invested capital back?
What is an EB-5 Regional Center?
How does EB-5 work when investing through a Regional Center?
What are the advantages of an EB-5 Investment through a Regional Center?
What are the management responsibilities of an EB-5 investor in a project affiliated with a regional center?
Is it necessary for an EB-5 investor to be the sole owner of the new commercial enterprise (NCE)?
How secure are EB-5 investments?
How often can an EB-5 investor travel abroad after gaining permanent residency?
How might multiple EB-5 investors pool their funds?
How does investing through the EB-5 program contribute to job creation?
How do you document and track the EB-5 investment source of funds?
How do jobs qualify for projects that are already under construction?
How can EB-5 investors make sure that a project is a good investment?
Do the jobs for my EB-5 investment need to be created within the conditional green card period?
Can you be on other family-based visas while waiting for EB-5?
Can I stay in the U.S. while waiting for my green card through EB-5? What happens if my EB-2 status is revoked during the wait for EB-5?
Do I Meet the Accredited Investor Status Requirement?
Can an EB-5 Investor Make Multiple Investments in Separate Projects?
Is EB-5 a Passive Investment?
How Are Jobs Created through EB-5 Investment?
What is a Targeted Employment Area?
What is a New Commercial Enterprise?
Can I Include My Family Members on My EB-5 Visa Petition?
Are there any nationality restrictions for EB-5 applicants?
Can I apply if I’ve been rejected or terminated in the past by USCIS for a different visa application?
Can a foreign national travel to the United States with a pending I-526 petition?
When is an EB-5 investor able to legally work in the United States?
How Long Does It Take To Get a Green Card With Eb-5?
When Do EB-5 Investors Get Their Invested Capital Back?
B Program Requirements
What is the first step to obtaining an EB-5 visa?
What documents are needed to begin the EB-5 process?
What is a I-485 Petition?
What is an I-829 Petition?
What is the I-526 Petition in the EB-5 Visa Program?
What Are Visa Requirements?
C EB5 Cost
What are the EB-5 Costs?
Can I partially pay my $800,000 investment to get started?
Can I apply if I’ve been denied or had an application terminated by USCIS for a different visa?
Can an individual without a work history use gifted money to apply for an EB-5 visa?
Are your regional center fees considered registered capital?
How much of the EB-5 process can an immigration attorney advise on?
What is the Source of Funds Report?
What can I do if I don’t have $800,000 in cash for an EB-5 investment?
What is the minimum investment for EB-5?
D EB5 Risks
What is the risk of my child aging out?
How does retrogression impact my children at risk of aging out?
How does retrogression impact my investment timeline?
What happens if the I-829 is denied? What is the appeal process?
What can cause an I-829 denial?
What is Visa Retrogression?
What is the USCIS background check, and what factors might disqualify an investor from participating in the EB-5 Program?
A General Introduction

What is EB-5?

The EB-5 program is a pathway for foreign investors to gain permanent residency, or a “Green Card,” in the United States by investing in its economy and creating jobs for American workers.

At its core, the EB-5 program enables immigrant investors to achieve permanent residency for themselves and their eligible family members by investing either $1.05 million or a reduced amount of $800,000 in designated Target Employment Areas. This investment must create at least 10 jobs for American workers and carry a certain degree of risk to qualify.

The program includes criteria and details, including job creation metrics, required documentation, and investment methods. Investors have two primary avenues: a direct investment in a job-creating enterprise or investment through a Regional Center endorsed by the federal government. Direct investment involves putting capital directly into a business that will create jobs.

Regional Centers represent a streamlined approach to the EB-5 investment, having undergone a pre-approval process with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These centers aim to simplify the investment process, expedite USCIS approvals, and enhance economic growth in the U.S. They allow investors to delegate management and job creation obligations, functioning similarly to a fund by pooling investments and generating employment directly and indirectly.

Many EB-5 investments are channeled through Regional Centers located in Target Employment Areas, benefiting from the lower investment threshold. Presently, most EB-5 investments are made via these centers, illustrating their vital role in fostering economic development and job creation in the United States.

Which businesses are suitable for EB-5 investments?

Eligible businesses for EB-5 investments include any for-profit entities engaged in legal activities, capable of creating a minimum of 10 full-time positions for qualifying U.S. employees. These enterprises must be defined as new commercial enterprises (NCEs), generally established or restructured on or after November 29, 1990.

While a broad range of businesses across various sectors might meet these fundamental requirements, those with the capacity to easily generate or save the requisite job numbers are particularly apt for the EB-5 scheme. Typically, new construction ventures that generate permanent operational jobs and positively affect local employment levels are the most favorable for EB-5 investments.

Why do construction projects stand out for EB-5 investments?

  • The challenge of investing in a struggling business to save jobs is significant. Demonstrating to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that a business is genuinely in distress and verifying the preservation of the necessary jobs are daunting tasks. Conversely, job creation through new construction projects is more direct and measurable.
  • Construction initiatives create construction-related jobs and operational positions post-completion, facilitating the fulfillment of EB-5 employment creation criteria.
  • The cornerstone of the EB-5 program is job creation, necessitating projects that lead to a net job gain in their vicinity. USCIS requires evidence, typically through an economic report, that the EB-5 project will retain existing jobs in the area. For example, while a new shopping center may introduce new jobs, if it adversely affects an older mall, causing job losses there, the overall job growth might need to meet the EB-5 requirements due to the lack of a net job increase.

When do EB-5 investors get their invested capital back?

The EB-5 program’s core objective is to boost the U.S. economy and generate new employment opportunities. For EB-5 investments to align with this goal, investors must commit their funds in a manner that involves genuine financial risk throughout their project’s lifespan. Essentially, those aiming for permanent residency via the EB-5 route must be prepared for potential financial gains and losses, as a guaranteed return on investment is incompatible with the program’s “at risk” criteria. The possibility of recovering the invested capital, including the timing of such a return, hinges on the project’s performance and the terms detailed in the offering documents.

Before submitting the I-526 petition, investors must have their capital at risk. Nevertheless, the prospect of the petition being denied exists, and the conditions under which invested funds are returned can differ significantly across projects. Some may offer a return of capital within one to two years post-denial, while others might ensure a full refund within 60 to 90 days following a denial. Investors must scrutinize a project’s offering documents to understand the fate of their investment should their I-526 petition be rejected.

As investors conclude their two-year conditional residency, during which their investment must remain at risk, they can file Form I-829 for permanent residency. While EB-5 guidelines do not mandate that the capital stay at risk beyond the conditional residency, repayment timelines can vary, especially if regional centers delay refunds until the I-829 petition is approved. The mechanism for returning funds is detailed in each project’s exit strategy, as outlined in the offering documents.

Conducting comprehensive due diligence on potential projects is advisable for EB-5 investors. The return of investment capital is influenced by numerous factors, notably the project’s success and adherence to EB-5 regulations. Thorough due diligence can offer insights into these aspects, aiding investors in selecting a project that offers the best prospects for immigration success and financial restitution.

What is an EB-5 Regional Center?

An EB-5 Regional Center is a designated entity, sanctioned and overseen by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), tasked with aggregating foreign investment under the EB-5 program to fund projects within a specific geographic area. These projects aim to foster economic growth and generate employment. The Regional Center is critical in ensuring adherence to the EB-5 program’s guidelines, thereby facilitating investors’ eligibility for U.S. permanent residency based on their investment contributions.

Key responsibilities of a Regional Center include:

  • Structuring EB-5 projects to align with USCIS regulations, thereby maximizing the probability of investment success, U.S. green card acquisition for investors, and the return on their investment.
  • Creating investment-related documents such as the Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) and various legal agreements relevant to the investment.
  • Developing a detailed business plan by the Matter of Ho case requirements.
  • Preparing an economic report to determine the number of indirectly created jobs using accepted methodologies.
  • Submitting Forms I-924 and I-924a to USCIS for project pre-approval and annual updates on job creation and project development.
  • Supplying EB-5 investors and their legal representatives with all necessary documentation for the I-526 petition, which includes evidence of job creation for the I-829 petition.
  • Monitor the project’s construction and employment generation and provide regular updates to investors about the project’s progress.
  • Managing the EB-5 investment funds and ensuring the return of capital to investors after fulfilling the conditions of their residency period and investment term.

The EB-5 Regional Center Program was initiated by Congress in 1992, allowing foreign nationals to obtain U.S. residency by investing in new commercial enterprises that create full-time jobs for American workers. For an organization to be recognized as an EB-5 Regional Center, it must submit Form I-924 for USCIS approval, which authorizes it to raise and invest capital in specific projects within designated sectors and regions.

Regional Centers can seek pre-approval from USCIS for specific projects by submitting an I-526 exemplar, demonstrating the project’s readiness and potential for job creation. Approval of an I-924 / I-526 exemplar indicates USCIS’s preliminary endorsement of the project’s job creation estimates, which is considered in subsequent I-526 petitions by EB-5 investors.

How does EB-5 work when investing through a Regional Center?

The investment in an EB-5 project by a Regional Center involves the EB-5 petitioner, usually the investor, to transfer money into a particular limited partnership fund. This fund is adapted for a particular EB-5 project which they support. Essentially, the general partner here is a financial intermediary, granting the project’s developer credit.

Consider this process like a private bank’s practice when it issues a construction loan. The project promoter, in turn, gives some form of security to the limited partnership fund—this could be an equity pledge or a corporate guarantee, guaranteeing the loan will be repaid. This scenario is comparable to how home mortgages work: if a homeowner fails to stay current with his/her mortgage payments, the bank that lent the money has the right to seize the property to get back the money.

The loan extended to the project developer is essential for showing job creation, a key requirement of the EB-5 program, using all related costs incurred by the project.

For EB-5 projects linked to real estate, the end of construction starts the project’s operational phase. The developer controls the project until it attains the specific occupancy level. At this point, the project may be refinanced or sold. The income from either undertaking is set aside for the repayment of the EB-5 investors at the end of their investment timeline. Sometimes, EB-5 Limited Partnerships also choose to gather equity ownership in real estate investment funds.

What are the advantages of an EB-5 Investment through a Regional Center?

Investing in an EB-5 Regional Center presents several advantages for those seeking U.S. permanent residency through investment, including:

  1. Accountability: Regional Centers are approved and regulated by USCIS, providing oversight and ethical operation assurance. They must provide regular reporting and undergo annual audits or employ third-party administrators to ensure funds are used for eligible EB-5 expenditures.
  2. Simplified Job Creation Requirements: Unlike direct investments, which require creating or maintaining ten full-time W-2 employees, Regional Centers can count direct and indirect/induced jobs towards this requirement. This often results in a surplus of job creation, providing a safer immigration pathway for investors.
  3. Collaboration and Access to Larger Projects: Regional Centers allow for the pooling of funds from multiple investors, enabling participation in more significant, potentially more lucrative projects. Some centers, like Houston EB5, also take on the developer’s role, sharing risks and demonstrating commitment to project success.
  4. Convenience and Passive Investment: Investing through a Regional Center is generally more passive, requiring less day-to-day involvement from the investor than direct investment projects. This allows investors to focus on other interests or obligations.
  5. Speed to Residency: The EB-5 program through Regional Centers can offer one of the fastest paths to obtaining conditional and permanent U.S. residency, with the possibility of living, working, and studying in the U.S. while the investment project progresses.

When choosing a Regional Center, important factors include the center’s track record of success, transparency and communication, experienced management team, and an investment strategy that aligns with the investor’s goals and risk tolerance. Centers like Houston EB5 exemplify these qualities, offering potential investors confidence in their choice to pursue residency through the EB-5 program.

What are the management responsibilities of an EB-5 investor in a project affiliated with a regional center?

The USCIS Policy Manual specifies that EB-5 investors must manage the new commercial enterprise (NCE), whether by handling daily managerial tasks or contributing to policy-making. However, investors in projects sponsored by regional centers usually have lighter management loads, focusing more on shaping policies than managing everyday operations. Direct investors, in contrast, are expected to take on significant management roles and actively participate in the daily running of the NCE.

Regional center investments are particularly appealing for those EB-5 investors who prefer to be more distant from their investment project or those with limited experience in business management. The popularity of these investments historically stems from these conveniences. Regional centers are often organized as limited liability companies or partnerships, offering investors a chance to engage in management minimally, primarily through policy development and making key business decisions, thus avoiding day-to-day operational involvement.

While the allure of minimal managerial duties draws investors to regional centers, direct investment in the EB-5 program caters to those seeking greater control over their investments and those with substantial business acumen aiming at potentially higher financial returns.

For EB-5 investors and project developers, careful project structuring is essential to meet the program’s management involvement criteria. Consulting with seasoned EB-5 professionals and immigration lawyers can help mitigate financial and immigration risks, ensuring compliance with EB-5 requirements and facilitating a smoother investment process.

Is it necessary for an EB-5 investor to be the sole owner of the new commercial enterprise (NCE)?

No, EB-5 investors are not required to be the sole or even the primary owners of the NCE. The EB-5 program does not prescribe a minimum ownership percentage. However, investors are expected to manage their investment projects, with their level of involvement generally reflecting their ownership stake.

The rules of the EB-5 program mandate active management participation by the investor, which can range from operational involvement to policy formulation, depending on the investor’s preference and the nature of the investment. Some investors may choose a hands-on role in the enterprise, while others, possibly less experienced in business, may opt for a more passive role, relying on managing partners for significant decisions.

The investment structure significantly affects the investor’s responsibilities, whether directly or through a regional center. A regional center investment typically requires less day-to-day involvement, focusing instead on overseeing the use of EB-5 capital. Conversely, a direct investment allows, and sometimes requires, the investor to be deeply involved in management and policy decisions.

Regarding the number of EB-5 investors in a single project, there’s no upper limit, provided that the project can generate enough jobs to meet the requirements for each investor under the EB-5 guidelines. It’s important to note that job creation metrics apply only to EB-5 investors, not to non-EB-5 investors.

While non-EB-5 investors are not obligated to prove the lawful source of their funds, USCIS has the authority to request such information. Since 2019, USCIS has occasionally asked for documentation from non-EB-5 investors to verify the legitimacy of their capital.

How secure are EB-5 investments?

The safety of an EB-5 investment hinges on the specifics of the project and the regional center involved when opting for an indirect investment. Due to the EB-5 program’s regulations, all investments must be “at risk,” introducing inherent uncertainties.

This “at risk” requirement ensures investments genuinely contribute to the US economy by funding new commercial enterprises. Investments must carry a genuine risk of loss, balancing the potential for gain and loss. Investors face two primary risks: financial and immigration.

Financial risk refers to the chance that investors may not see a return on their investment, with no guarantees of profit. EB-5 rules forbid any arrangement guaranteeing investment return, as this would invalidate the path to a US green card.

Immigration risk involves not securing US permanent residency, even after investing. The USCIS reviews the I-526 petition to confirm the investment meets all program criteria, including the “at risk” mandate and creating at least 10 full-time jobs. Meeting these requirements leads to conditional residency for two years, after which the I-829 form must be filed for permanent residency evaluation.

These risks are often deemed acceptable for those moving to the US. However, thorough due diligence can reduce these risks. Investigating its track record and USCIS petition outcomes is crucial when investing via a regional center.

How often can an EB-5 investor travel abroad after gaining permanent residency?

Upon adhering to all requirements set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), EB-5 investors and their families can achieve permanent residency, allowing them to live and work indefinitely in the U.S. With a green card, these residents have the liberty to travel internationally, provided they can demonstrate a clear intention to return to the U.S. The emphasis is less on how often they travel and more on the cumulative duration spent outside the U.S.

To prove their intention to return, permanent residents may be assessed by USCIS through various indicators, including business engagements, driving license status, financial transactions, familial ties, past travels, and property ownership in the U.S. These factors help confirm the resident’s commitment to residing in the U.S. rather than abroad.

Certain situations may lead USCIS to believe a permanent resident has relinquished their status, such as:

  • Spending over a year outside the U.S. without securing a re-entry permit, necessary for absences exceeding one year.
  • Failing to file U.S. tax returns while overseas.
  • Relocating with the apparent intention to reside permanently in another country.

Even absences shorter than a year could prompt USCIS to question a resident’s commitment to maintaining their U.S. residence, especially if the absence exceeds six months.

To safeguard their residency status, EB-5 investors are advised to limit extended trips abroad (six months or more within a year) and maintain substantial ties to the U.S., underscoring their intent to reside permanently in the country.

How might multiple EB-5 investors pool their funds?

EB-5 investors have two main paths for their investment: direct and regional center models. Previously, investors could pool their resources in both models, but as of March 2022, only projects sponsored by regional centers can accommodate multiple investors.

The preference for regional center investments over direct ones is notable, mainly because these centers facilitate the pooling of investments. This feature is particularly advantageous for investors with limited capital, allowing them easier access to the EB-5 program and a path to permanent residency. Additionally, many projects under regional centers are in targeted employment areas (TEAs), reducing the minimum investment requirement from $1,050,000 to $800,000.

Investors often form a limited partnership to pool funds, taking on roles as limited partners. This setup permits a passive investment stance, requiring their input only for significant policy decisions. It also provides the flexibility to reside anywhere in the U.S., irrespective of the project’s location.

In regional center investments, rather than investing directly into a new commercial enterprise (NCE), investors buy equity in the center’s investment fund, which invests in the job-creating entity (JCE). Regional centers thus act as a bridge between investors and projects, managing fund allocation, ensuring USCIS compliance, and aiding in visa application documentation (Forms I-526 and I-829).

Before committing, potential investors must consult an EB-5 immigration attorney and rigorously evaluate the regional center’s track record, job creation forecasts, and financial stability to safeguard their investment and immigration objectives.

How does investing through the EB-5 program contribute to job creation?

EB-5 investment helps to create jobs in the United States economy by encouraging foreign investment into U.S. enterprises, generating at least 10 permanent, full-time jobs for U.S. workers per investment. These jobs are classified into direct, indirect, and induced categories, highlighting the multifaceted impact of such investments on the local economy.

Direct jobs are created within the new commercial enterprise receiving the investment, covering operational roles and possibly construction jobs if the construction period extends over two years. These jobs are a direct result of the business activities of the invested enterprise.

Indirect jobs emerge from the EB-5 project, procuring goods and services from local businesses. This includes many purchases, from construction materials and equipment to professional services, fostering job creation in local companies that supply these goods and services.

Induced jobs are created through the employees’ spending once they have been employed by the new business. As employees spend their earnings on housing, food, entertainment, and other items, they would instead provide job opportunities in these sectors.

For projects linked to the regional center, all types of jobs (direct, indirect, and induced) can be counted in the EB-5 program job creation requirement. This inclusion results in an extensive impact of investment through acknowledging the secondary economic amenities beyond the initial business operations. This entire process is catalyzed by regional offices that calculate indirect and induced jobs, usually higher than direct jobs.

The specific number of jobs generated from an EB-5 investment is determined through extensive economic analysis, generally by an economist employing RIMS II or IMPLAN methodologies. These assessments assist in the estimation of the overall economic effects of the project on the region as far as job creation is concerned through an expenditure multiplier which determines the number of backward or final demand linkages.

In conclusion, the EB-5 program is a vehicle that channels foreign capital into the U.S. economy not just in terms of business creation and support but also of job creation across various sectors through a chain of economic action. This process highlights the role of this program in boosting the competitiveness of the U.S. labor market through a problem-oriented and structured approach.

How do you document and track the EB-5 investment source of funds?

Tracking and documenting the source of EB-5 investment funds is fundamental in preparing the Form I-526 petition to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The meaning behind this step is to show the fluidity of the investor’s capital throughout legal processes. Through this process, it is essential that the exact documents to be received, collated, reviewed, and submitted govern the legal collection of the Investment resources. The complexity of this mission resumes the kind of background a particular investor has, the nature of their capital sources, and other factors and motives that guide their actions.

Understanding the Importance of Source-of-Funds Documentation

EB-5 program makes investors allot a substantial amount of money for a qualifying U.S. project and shows that they fairly acquired it. This specification guarantees the authenticity of the EB-5 program by the conventional legislative measures whose mission is to control laundering and other financial fraud. The I-526 petition establishes a channel for investors to convince USCIS to believe they have a legitimate record of how their capital got to the regional center and explains the legal basis for the investment.

The Dual Nature of the I-526 Petition

The I-526 petition encompasses two critical components: financial dependability plans for the project and proof of the investor’s wealth. First, this includes examples of showcasing the legitimacy of the investment funds, including details on how the capital was acquired, matching or exceeding USCIS standards. An immigrant can either be requested for their evidence, or the case can be put aside entirely because of the inadequate documentation of the source of funds.

Meeting the “Preponderance of the Evidence” Standard

USCIS requires that investors demonstrate the lawful source of their investment capital by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard, which is less stringent than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” requires showing that it is more likely than not (>50% chance) that the funds were obtained legally. Investors must navigate this requirement without a specific list of acceptable documents from USCIS due to the vast array of potential sources of funds and individual circumstances.

Key Documents and Evidence

While USCIS does not provide a definitive list of documents for source-of-funds evidence, several types of documentation are commonly used to meet the evidentiary standard:

Bank Statements and Financial Records: These documents can demonstrate the accumulation of funds over time, whether through savings, salary, or business profits.

Property Sales Contracts and Deeds: When investment funds come from the sale of property, contracts and deeds establish ownership, sale terms, and the transfer of funds.

Business Ownership and Sale Documents: For investors who derive their capital from business ventures, documentation should include evidence of ownership, sale contracts, and financial statements.

Loan Agreements: If the investment capital is sourced from a loan, the agreement should indicate the terms, the security provided, and the funds transferred to the investor’s account.

Documenting the Path of Funds

Beyond proving the source of funds, investors must also document the path from their origin to the new commercial enterprise (NCE) investment. This includes tracing the movement of money from the investor’s account to the escrow or business account of the NCE. For example, if the investment is funded through savings, documentation should show the salary deposit into a current account, subsequent transfers to a savings account, and finally, the investment into the NCE.

How do jobs qualify for projects that are already under construction?

Only permanent, full-time jobs are considered to qualify for the EB-5 job-creation requirement. Projects extending beyond two years can count indirect jobs from construction spending and induced jobs from the project’s economic impact on the community towards this requirement.

Investing through a USCIS-approved regional center offers a significant perk: it allows for the inclusion of both indirect and induced jobs in meeting the green card criteria.

Among the methods to demonstrate job creation for EB-5 eligibility, utilizing construction expenses to show indirect job creation is the most straightforward and dependable, according to USCIS-endorsed economic models.

For EB-5 investors, the timing of their investment is crucial. If their funds are invested in the project while it’s still being constructed, they can qualify for job creation before and after their I-526 petition submission. This approach ensures that investors can contribute to and benefit from the job creation aspect of EB-5 projects from the get-go, making it a viable pathway to meeting immigration requirements through investment.

How can EB-5 investors make sure that a project is a good investment?

Ensuring a project is a viable investment demands careful scrutiny from EB-5 investors, given the inherent risks associated with any investment. Critical to this process is conducting thorough research on the project and its associated regional center to assess risk levels and ascertain its suitability. Beyond financial returns, investors prioritize the project’s ability to facilitate their permanent residency in the U.S., making due diligence an indispensable part of the EB-5 investment journey.

When evaluating a project within the EB-5 program’s regional center model, investors should consider several key questions:

  1. USCIS Approval: Is the project sanctioned by USCIS? Choosing projects vetted and approved by USCIS is crucial, ensuring they meet necessary legal standards and possess the requisite licenses and permits. The managing regional center should verify the project’s compliance status.
  2. Employment Creation: Does the project fulfill the job creation requirement? To qualify for permanent residency, investors must demonstrate that their investment has resulted in at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Seeking projects that aim to exceed this minimum job creation threshold offers a buffer against unforeseen challenges, with the regional center needing to manage job creation timelines effectively.
  3. Track Record of the Regional Center: What is the success rate of the regional center’s facilitated visa petitions? A history of successful petitions indicates a reliable center, while a record of denials warrants caution, barring satisfactory explanations for such outcomes.
  4. Experience and Redeployment Plan: How experienced is the regional center, and do they have a plan for redeploying funds? A regional center with a proven history in the EB-5 program and a clear strategy for maintaining investment at risk is preferable.

Due to the complexity of vetting EB-5 investments, many investors find value in consulting with EB-5 program specialists. These advisors can offer critical insights, helping investors navigate potential risks and avoid fraud or misrepresentation.

Do the jobs for my EB-5 investment need to be created within the conditional green card period?

A frequently asked question regarding the EB-5 visa pertains to the timing of job creation requirements. Let’s break down the EB-5 visa process into its two critical phases to clarify this:

Phase 1: I-526 Submission

The journey starts with filing FORM I-526 with USCIS. On average, it takes about 2 years to process this form. The approval of your I-526 form lays the foundation for you to either adjust your status if you are already in the U.S. or apply for an immigrant visa to enter the U.S.

When you enter the U.S. as an immigrant holding an immigrant visa or complete the process of readjustment of status, you begin the journey of your temporary residence that usually lasts for two years, during which you are a conditional permanent resident. This temporary, irrevocable nature gives you the privileges granted to an unconditional permanent resident but with the distinguishing fact that its validity is only for two years.

During these 2 years, the most important thing is the creation of 10 full-time jobs. The investment is required to generate or maintain a minimum of 10 full-time positions for U.S. workers within two years following the investor’s entry into the United States as a permanent resident through the EB-5 visa program. This means that the clock for job creation starts ticking around four years from when you first file your Form I-526.

Phase 2: I-829 Submission

When your conditional residency is almost over, i.e., three months before it expires, you can apply for your green card to remove the conditional status. The step here will be to file Form I-829 with the USCIS.

To obtain approval for your Form I-829, you must show that your investment was in the EB-5 project through the conditional period and that you successfully created at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

In summary, the EB-5 visa process revolves around these two pivotal stages, and the job creation requirement comes into play only during the two-year conditional residency period. This timeline gives EB-5 investors a straightforward way to go about their business regarding planning and achieving the quota to get the eternal residence card as a recompense.

Can you be on other family-based visas while waiting for EB-5?

Yes, you can simultaneously be on other family-based visas while awaiting the approval of your EB-5 visa application. This means if you are being sponsored by a family member, such as a parent or sibling, through a family-based visa category (often referred to as an FB visa), this process can run concurrently with your EB-5 visa application without conflict.

For instance, if you have an I-130 petition filed by a family member on your behalf indicating that you are being sponsored for permanent residency through a family-based visa pathway, this does not interfere with your EB-5 visa application. The I-130 petition is part of the family-based immigration process, while the I-526 petition is specific to the EB-5 investor visa program.

These two processes, the family-based visa application (FB) and the EB-5 investor visa application (EP) operate independently within the U.S. immigration system. This independence means that having an active I-130 petition (or being in the process of obtaining a family-based visa) will not impact your eligibility to apply for an EB-5 visa, nor will it affect the processing of your I-526 petition for the EB-5 program.

In summary, you can pursue an EB-5 visa while involved in a family-based visa process. This dual-path approach can provide flexibility in your immigration strategy, allowing you to explore multiple avenues for obtaining permanent residency in the United States.

Can I stay in the U.S. while waiting for my green card through EB-5? What happens if my EB-2 status is revoked during the wait for EB-5?

The EB-5 visa program offers a pathway to obtaining a green card through investment in the U.S. economy, but it does not automatically grant the right to stay in the country while waiting for the green card approval. Your ability to remain in the U.S. during this period depends on your current visa status rather than directly on the EB-5 application itself.

Suppose you are in the U.S. on an EB-2 visa (a different employment-based visa category focused on professionals holding advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability), and you decide to apply for an EB-5 visa. In that case, you must maintain a valid immigration status while your EB-5 application is processed. The EB-5 application process can be lengthy, often taking several years, and needs to provide interim legal status to applicants.

Staying in the U.S. While Waiting for EB-5 Approval:

Maintaining Status: You must maintain a valid visa status to legally stay in the U.S. while your EB-5 application is pending. If you are in the U.S. on an EB-2 visa, you must ensure that your EB-2 status remains valid and is not revoked.

Change of Status: If your EB-2 status is at risk of being revoked or is revoked, it’s crucial to explore other visa options or adjustments to maintain your legal status in the U.S. This might involve switching to another visa category for which you are eligible or leaving the U.S. and waiting for your EB-5 visa processing abroad.

If EB-2 Status is Revoked:

Leaving the U.S.: If your EB-2 status is revoked and you cannot adjust to another visa category, you may have to leave the U.S. to avoid accruing unlawful presence, which could impact your ability to return to the U.S. in the future.

Impact on EB-5 Application: The revocation of your EB-2 status does not directly affect the processing of your EB-5 application. However, maintaining lawful status is crucial if you adjust your status to a conditional permanent resident from within the U.S. once your EB-5 application is approved.

Do I Meet the Accredited Investor Status Requirement?

One may inquire as to whether they have status as an accredited investor, particularly regarding certain foreign investment opportunities such as those found within the EB-5 visa program. A clarification of the qualifying standards follows.

Understanding Accredited Investor Status

The term “accredited investor” refers to people or companies that meet monetary standards set forth by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Satisfying such criteria allows participation in privately held investments that have fewer safeguards. To achieve accredited status, one must possess significant assets or yearly earnings over the outlined quantities. 

Alternatively, one could operate as a bank, broker, or insurer. Such qualifications afford wealthier and more knowledgeable parties earlier entrance to sequestered financial dealings, signifying comprehension of inherent risks. Clarification of qualifying prerequisites helps establish eligibility for otherwise inaccessible prospects.

Ascertaining Eligibility for Accredited Investor Status

There are two tests for attaining designation as an accredited investor under SEC guidelines. 

  1. Net Worth Test: Evaluations of both net worth and yearly earnings are employed. With the net worth consideration, surpassing one million dollars excluding the value of one’s primary residence qualifies an individual. Stocks, bonds, cash holdings, and additional properties comprise admissible assets. 
  2. Income Test: Alternatively, generating a minimum of $200,000 in income as an individual or $300,000 jointly with a spouse during the past two years satisfies the earnings test, assuming continuation at such levels going forward. Consistently high annual remuneration throughout recent years has served as the determinant for accredited designation via this pathway.

Example Scenarios

The following hypothetical scenarios illustrate how the accredited investor standards operate in practice. 

Example 1: An individual’s remuneration exceeded $200,000 in each of the past two years and is anticipated to persist, rendering them eligible regardless of a net worth under one million dollars. 

Example 2: Ownership of assets totaling over the net worth benchmark qualifies an investor even if current income is less than the earnings threshold. Stocks, property, and additional holdings aggregating to more than one million dollars in value substantiate accredited status via wealth measurement rather than income specification. 

Example 3: If your income is below $200,000 and your net worth is under $1 million, 

Understanding whether you meet the accredited investor status is key for specific investment opportunities. Always consider your financial situation carefully and seek professional advice if needed.

Can an EB-5 Investor Make Multiple Investments in Separate Projects?

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program provides a pathway for foreign nationals to obtain U.S. residency through investment. Potential investors often ask whether they can invest in multiple projects under this program and how such an approach might impact their immigration process and financial return. This article explores the various aspects of investing under the EB-5 program.


While an EB-5 investor can make multiple investments in separate projects, each investment must independently fulfill the EB-5 program’s requirements. This approach requires a significant financial commitment and careful consideration of the job creation and immigration timelines for each project. Diversifying investments across multiple EB-5 projects can spread financial risk and offer varied ROI, but it also involves complex legal and administrative processes. As such, potential investors should seek expert advice from immigration lawyers and financial advisors to navigate this path effectively. When managed well, this strategy can provide not just a pathway to U.S. residency but also a diversified investment portfolio within the unique landscape of the EB-5 program.

Can EB-5 Investors Fund Multiple Projects?

 Yes, an EB-5 investor can invest in more than one project. This opportunity allows investors to diversify their portfolios within the EB-5 program. While the EB-5 visa typically focuses on a single investment, the program does not explicitly prohibit multiple investments.


Do Multiple EB-5 Projects Require Separate Investments? 

For each EB-5 project, a separate investment is required. This means if an investor chooses to fund multiple projects, each must meet the minimum investment requirement, which is either $1,050,000 or $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). This separate funding ensures that each project independently qualifies under the EB-5 program guidelines.


How Do Multiple Investments Affect Job Creation Rules?

One of the key requirements of the EB-5 program is creating or preserving at least ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers for two years. When an investor funds multiple projects, this job creation requirement applies individually to each project. Hence, if an investor is part of two separate EB-5 projects, each project must generate at least ten jobs, totaling at least twenty jobs.


What is the Impact on Green Card Timeline with Several EB-5 Investments?

Investing in multiple projects does not necessarily expedite the process of obtaining a Green Card. Each investment is treated independently in terms of the immigration process. Therefore, the timeline for each project’s completion and fulfillment of the EB-5 criteria (including job creation) determines the progress toward residency. This can sometimes complicate or lengthen the overall timeline, as each project will have its own variables and potential challenges.


How is ROI Managed for Multiple EB-5 Investments?

Return on Investment (ROI) in EB-5 projects can vary significantly based on the project’s success. When diversifying their investment across multiple projects, investors diversify their financial risk and potential return. The ROI for each project is independent and depends on the specific terms set by each project. Investors should conduct thorough due diligence and consult with financial advisors to understand the potential ROI of each investment.


What is USCIS Stance on Multiple EB-5 Investments by One Investor?

 The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows investors to participate in multiple EB-5 projects. However, each investment must independently meet all the program requirements, including the minimum investment amount and job creation. The USCIS evaluates each investment separately regarding its eligibility and compliance with EB-5 regulations.

Is EB-5 a Passive Investment?

The EB-5 visa program offers two principal investment avenues. Direct participation within an enterprise represents one alternative. The other option proceeds through a regional center. Both routes have varying expectations of involvement for contributors respective to each course.

Direct Investment: Hands-On Management

With direct investing, people play an active role in managing the company. Day-to-day decisions are part of this responsibility. This direct participation aligns with EB-5 goals. The program aims to help the economy by having foreigners engaged in business operations within the United States.

Regional Center Investment: A More Passive Approach

In contrast, the regional center path allows for less direct involvement. Investors typically do not oversee daily tasks. Their role may simply be as limited partners or shareholders. This fulfills EB-5 rules without demanding active management.

Job Creation in Both Paths

Regardless of investment type, the key goal of job creation stays the same. Direct investors have more control over employment numbers. Regional center investors rely on the center’s leadership to ensure job targets are achieved.

Factors Investors Consider

Individuals select from the alternatives by their respective proclivities for active engagement in operations as opposed to passive fiscal sponsorship. The EB-5 program accommodates divergent degrees of involvement to suit the various priorities and aims of participating monetary stakeholders.

Tailoring EB-5 to Each Person

Through direct enterprise investment or indirect regional center capital, EB-5 caters to individual needs. Active roles in new companies can interest some. Others prefer less direct exposure via regional center investments. Both choices achieve legal residency while respecting diverse investor perspectives.


Tailoring EB-5 to Diverse Investors

The EB-5 visa program provides valuable opportunities for foreign investors seeking U.S. residency. By allowing direct business involvement or indirect regional center participation, the program is accessible to a wide range of individuals. Both pathways work to stimulate the American economy through job creation.

How Are Jobs Created through EB-5 Investment?

Introduction to EB-5 Job Creation Requirement

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, established by the United States government, provides a pathway for foreign investors to gain U.S. residency by investing in the American economy. A central tenet of this program is the job creation requirement. Under the EB-5, investors must create or preserve at least ten full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers. This requirement is crucial as it ensures the program contributes significantly to the U.S. labor market and economy.

What are Qualifying Employees?

Qualifying employees are the cornerstone of the EB-5 program’s job creation mandate. These employees must be U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other authorized workers in the United States. Importantly, non-immigrant workers, such as those on H1-B visas and the investor’s immediate family members, do not count as qualifying employees. This criterion ensures that the benefits of the investment extend to the broader U.S. labor force.

What is Considered a Full-Time Position?

For a position to be counted under the EB-5 program, it must be a full-time job, requiring a minimum of 35 working hours per week. These positions can be either newly created or preserved in the case of a troubled business. The program emphasizes the creation of sustainable and permanent jobs, fostering long-term economic benefits.

When do the Jobs Need to be Created?

Timing is a critical factor in the EB-5 job creation process. Generally, the required jobs must be created within two years of the investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident. This timeframe ensures a direct link between investment and job creation, reinforcing the program’s goal of stimulating economic growth.

Do the Employees Need to Be Hired Directly by the EB-5 Project?

In addressing whether employees need to be hired directly by the EB-5 project, it’s essential to understand the two distinct EB-5 investment models: direct investment and investing through a regional center.

Regional Center Investment

This model involves investing in projects sponsored by USCIS-approved regional centers. These centers often manage large-scale projects like hotels or apartment complexes. Multiple investors can pool their capital in these projects. EB-5 investors usually have limited roles in this setup, acting as limited partners without significant management responsibilities. The project developer oversees operations and provides the investors with the necessary documentation for their immigration petitions, including job creation projections and evidence.

Direct Investment

This model involves an investor directly funding a New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) without a regional center intermediary. Each direct investment project typically accommodates only one EB-5 investor. This model is more hands-on compared to the regional center investment, as the investor is directly involved in the enterprise.

Therefore, in the context of job creation, direct investment projects often require the investor to be more actively involved in hiring, whereas regional center projects might count indirect and induced jobs, not necessarily requiring direct hiring by the investor.

How Does an Investor Prove Enough Jobs Were Created?

Proving job creation is a crucial step in the EB-5 process. Investors must provide comprehensive documentation demonstrating that the required number of jobs has been created or will be created in a reasonable time. This documentation can include payroll records, tax documents, and detailed business plans. For Regional Center investments, economic models and forecasts are often used to demonstrate job creation.

Do Existing Jobs Count?

Existing jobs primarily come into play when an investor invests in a troubled business, defined as a business that has experienced a net loss for one to two years before the investment. In such cases, preserving existing jobs is as valuable as creating new ones. However, the focus is strictly on generating new employment opportunities for new businesses or those not in trouble.


The EB-5 program represents a unique intersection of immigration and economic policy, where foreign investment leads to job creation in the U.S. economy. By adhering to the specific requirements regarding qualifying employees, full-time positions, and the timing and nature of job creation, EB-5 investors play a pivotal role in fueling economic growth. As the program evolves, it remains a vital mechanism for channeling foreign capital into the U.S. economy while providing investors a path to residency and contributing to the nation’s employment landscape. The success of this program illustrates how structured investment can lead to tangible benefits for both investors and the American workforce.

What is a Targeted Employment Area?

The Targeted Employment Area (TEA) designation constitutes an imperative facet of the EB-5 visa program. This initiative enables overseas individuals to obtain permanent residency authorization by investing in US companies that will create new jobs. 

TEAs refer to locales recognized as warranting the reduced minimum funding requisite, channeled towards zones prioritizing economic support through job growth. Within a TEA classification, contributors bear a mitigated commitment, with standard EB-5 investment fixed at $1,050,000 versus $800,000 necessitated for said areas. TEAs thus serve to direct investment towards territories potentially benefiting from an economic boost.

Qualifying for TEA Status

To receive the reduced investment amount of a TEA, an EB-5 project must be located in a specific type of area. It must be situated in either a rural region or a place that is experiencing high unemployment.

Rural areas encompass zones outside of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) or towns with populations under 20,000. For the high unemployment option, the jobless rate in that location must be at least 150% greater than the national average.

To prove an investment qualifies for the lower TEA amount, evidence must be provided. This shows where the project is located and that it meets the TEA rules. Data on employment comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and state governments.

Why Targeted Employment Areas Matter

TEAs signify value by prioritizing monetary distribution into territories requiring additional support. Job creation and economic expansion represent principal aims. Reducing expected participation in these areas lends impetus, attracting augmented consideration of regional projects. Locales risk lost opportunities deprived of TEA classification and the decreased fulfillment threshold. This benefits flagging regional and municipal economies. 

Significant sums have been contributed throughout the EB-5 program via TEAs nationwide, along with holdings. Collectively, this designation optimizes gains for both contributors and places favorably impacted by foreign capital infusion under EB-5 prerequisites.

What is a New Commercial Enterprise?

A New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) is a for-profit entity formed after 1990 to generate employment in the United States. This is part of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, involving investments from foreign nationals. These enterprises can adopt legal forms such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, holding companies, joint ventures, or business trusts, whether public or private entities.

NCE’s Function in EB-5 Investments

Central to the EB-5 program, NCEs handle the operation of businesses financed by EB-5 investors. Their responsibilities include ensuring legal compliance, managing investor funds, and fulfilling job creation mandates per the EB-5 criteria. They must also provide USCIS with evidence of meeting these job creation obligations. Efficient management of NCEs is vital for the success of EB-5 projects and for investors seeking U.S. permanent residency.

Utilization of Investor Funds by NCE

In the Regional Center Program, the funds from EB-5 investors must be transferred from the NCE to the Job Creating Entity (JCE). These funds are not meant to cover NCE’s operational costs like legal or accounting fees. However, returns earned by the NCE from the JCE, such as interest from loans or equity, can be allocated for such expenses.

Investor’s Role in Managing NCE

The USCIS mandates investor involvement in NCE management, ranging from direct, day-to-day management to indirect involvement like policy-making and voting. This flexibility is especially favored by regional center investors who prefer to avoid managing businesses actively. Regardless of the investment type (Regional Center or direct), USCIS imposes identical management requirements on all EB-5 investors.

NCE Obligation

NCEs must provide EB-5 investors with essential documentation for the I-526E petition, access to financial records, mailing of Schedule K-1s, voting rights on dissolution matters, and guidance on using EB-5 capital. The establishment date of an NCE must be post-November 29, 1990, and it can function independently or as the same entity as the JCE.

Can I Include My Family Members on My EB-5 Visa Petition?

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, a popular route for obtaining a U.S. Green Card through investment, benefits the primary investor and offers opportunities for their family members. Understanding who qualifies for inclusion in the EB-5 visa application is essential for applicants planning for their family’s future.

Who Can Be Included in an EB-5 Visa Application?

The EB-5 program allows the primary investor to include their immediate family members in the application. This typically consists of the investor’s spouse and unmarried children under 21. Including these family members is a significant advantage, as it provides a pathway for the entire immediate family to obtain permanent residency in the United States.

How Many Family Members Can I Bring On The American EB-5 Investment Visa?

There is no specific limit to the number of immediate family members who can be included. They are eligible as long as they fall under the category of a spouse or unmarried children under 21. This inclusive aspect of the program makes it an attractive option for investors looking to secure a future in the U.S. for their families.

What is the Age Limit for Children in EB-5 Visa Petitions?

 The critical age limit for children in EB-5 visa petitions is 21 years. Children must be unmarried and under 21 at the time of the application to qualify as dependents. This age limit is strictly adhered to, and investors must plan accordingly.

Do Stepchildren Qualify?

 Yes, stepchildren qualify under the EB-5 program, provided they are unmarried and under the age of 21 when filing the petition. This inclusion demonstrates the program’s recognition of diverse family structures.

What is the Effect of Marriage or Divorce on EB-5 Visa?

 Marriage or divorce can significantly impact an EB-5 application. If the investor gets married after applying, their new spouse can be added to the application. In contrast, a divorce during the application process can lead to the spouse’s removal from the petition. It’s important for investors to update their application status in case of such life changes.

What Happens if a Child Turns 21 During EB-5 Process?

 A significant concern for many investors is the ‘age-out’ issue, where a child turns 21 during the application process, potentially losing their dependent status. The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) may offer some relief by freezing the age of children when the application is filed, but this depends on specific circumstances and timing.

Do My Parents, Brothers, and Sisters Qualify Under the EB-5 Program?

Unfortunately, the primary investor’s parents, brothers, and sisters do not qualify as dependents under the EB-5 program. The program is designed only to include spouses and unmarried children under 21. However, once the primary investor becomes a U.S. citizen, they can sponsor these relatives for visas through different family-based immigration categories.

Are there any nationality restrictions for EB-5 applicants?

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program does not impose any nationality restrictions on applicants. This program is open to individuals from any country, provided they meet the investment requirements and other criteria set forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

However, it’s important to note that while there are no specific nationality restrictions, applicants must comply with all U.S. immigration laws and regulations, and they must not have any disqualifying factors such as a criminal background or involvement in activities that would make them inadmissible to the United States.

Additionally, processing times and the availability of visas may vary by the applicant’s country of origin due to caps on the number of visas issued per country each year. This could affect the timeline for individuals from countries with many applicants.

Individuals from all nations can apply for an EB-5 visa, assuming they fulfill the necessary criteria as EB-5 investors. This inclusivity is reinforced by President Biden’s Proclamation 10141, which revoked the immigration restrictions previously imposed by former President Trump.

Investors originating from countries under the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) should seek advice from their immigration attorney regarding any unique stipulations. This is particularly important for verifying their investment funds’ legal origin and transferring them to the designated EB-5 project.

Can I apply if I’ve been rejected or terminated in the past by USCIS for a different visa application?

For those who have previously submitted a visa petition that was denied or rejected, one may reasonably wonder about pursuing an EB-5 investor visa alternative. It is positive to note that a sole rejection does not outright preclude EB-5 acceptance potential. That said, there are important considerations surrounding previous application attempt outcomes and program requisites that merit due examination.

The reasons behind any past denial or rejection of entry are of notable importance. If refusal resulted from immigration dishonesty, serious unlawful acts, or other substantive problems, this could damage future opportunities. Such evident issues frequently cast subsequent petitions in an unsympathetic light, as they may signify consistent tendencies or public security concerns arising from prior events or conduct.

It is crucial to be completely forthright concerning one’s prior immigration background upon the EB-5 petition. Before submission, disclose any criminal histories, health conditions, or past difficulties with U.S. entry rules to both legal counsel and the associated regional center for review. 

Transparency upfront allows for careful evaluation of each case to investigate potential qualifications and advisory paths. This is because past actions that have rendered an applicant ineligible may occasionally be corrected with special permission.

Though a single denial of entry does not outright preclude the potential for EB-5 acceptance, an individual’s distinct personal and application details considerably impact decisions. Thus, consultation with an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney is strongly advised. They can ably assess case-specific factors and adeptly guide the nuanced petition process in a manner seeking to optimize approval chances. 

Full disclosure and lawful guidance are also vital recommendations for any applicant with past immigration complexities wishing to pursue this program.

Can a foreign national travel to the United States with a pending I-526 petition?

Investors waiting for their Form I-526 petition to be approved through the EB-5 program may wonder if they can visit the United States before getting approval. The good news is that it is possible to travel despite a pending I-526 case. However, proving you only want to visit temporarily becomes extremely important.

B1 and B2 visitor visas require showing you plan to return home by the visa expiration date. Since these are meant for short non-immigrant trips, having an investment petition pending could signal that your real goal is to immigrate. This makes getting approved for the visitor visa much harder.

When applying, applicants must be fully honest and disclose their EB-5 case status on the forms. They will also need to convince the consular officer during an interview that their visit is not to take advantage of their pending immigrant petition. Solid evidence, such as strong financial and family ties abroad, can help prove temporary intent.

Even with disclosure, getting denied a B1/B2 visa will not negatively impact the I-526 case itself. As long as the traveller was truthful in the visa process, it should not affect the investment approval. However, being stuck abroad until the I-526 is complete can cause costly delays and missed business chances.

The best approach is to be abundantly clear about travel plans upfront with both the regional center and consular officials. Following their advice closely maximizes the chance of I-526 approval and future lawful entry to the United States on a non-immigrant visa while the petition remains pending. Proper preparation is key to travelling successfully during this critical wait period.

When is an EB-5 investor able to legally work in the United States?

Upon committing funds through the EB-5 program and gaining permission on Form I-526, one may assume approval permits immediate work in the U.S. However, several additional phases remain. EB-5 financiers become work-eligible following receipt of a provisional permanent resident card. Further progress is thus still required.

If living abroad, the process involves an interview at a US embassy or consulate through consular processing, which can result in a conditional green card permitting entry. For applicants in America, Form I-485 can be filed to adjust immigration status without consular processing.

Even before getting the conditional green card, there is a way for EB-5 investors to request work authorization. You can submit Form I-765 to apply for an employment authorization document (EAD). You can file this concurrently with Form I-485, or on its own if it is already in adjustment status. The whole EAD process usually takes 5-7 months.

Some choose nonimmigrant visas like H-1B or L-1, which allow work while the EB-5 petition is pending. However, these visas require demonstrating your intent to leave the US when the visa expires. As with nonimmigrant visas, the holder must maintain the intent to work and live in the United States only temporarily under the terms of the specific visa category. 

This “immigrant intent” requirement could potentially conflict with an individual’s true long-term goal of obtaining permanent resident status and citizenship through the EB-5 program. 

Depending on the location, EB-5 investors must go through either consular processing or an adjustment of status following I-526 approval to work in the US legally. iling for interim EAD work permission is also an option. Consulting an immigration lawyer ensures a full understanding of this process.

How Long Does It Take To Get a Green Card With Eb-5?

The duration of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program process in obtaining a green card may depend on several different factors.

I-526 Petition Processing Time: 

The first stage of EB-5 is filling out the I-526 petition which proves that your investment meets the program’s conditions. I-526 process times can fluctuate anywhere between 18 and 24 months. Nevertheless, it should be stated that the processing times may fluctuate over time and the variation of significantly could depend on many factors including the volume of applications or USCIS workloads.

Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: 

After the I-526 petition is approved, you will have to adjust your status if you are in the United States on a valid visa or go through consular processing when outside of the U.S., which can take between several months and a long time. Consular processing usually is much faster than the adjustment of status process.

Waiting for Visa Availability: 

Waiting time for a visa number is an very important factor. The EB-5 program is capped on an annual basis and the visa numbers are allocated according to the priority dates, the date when I-526 petition was filed. The processing times can differ greatly based on the country of chargeability and the demand for EB-5 visas from that specific country. There are many countries with shorter waiting periods, while some others may have longer ones.

I-829 Petition Processing Time: 

In order to remove the conditions and obtain permanent status, once you receive conditional permanent residency, it is very necessary to file an I-829 petition. Even the processing time of the I-829 petition can vary widely between 18 and 24 months.

Overall Timing: 

All in all, from the filing of the first I-526 petition up to the receipt of the unconditional green card it may take quite a few years. It will vary depending on the facts of your case as well as the USCIS processing times when your application is filed.

When Do EB-5 Investors Get Their Invested Capital Back?

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is a unique pathway that combines immigration opportunities with financial investment. One of the key questions for investors in this program is when and how they can expect to get their invested capital back. This article explores various aspects of capital return in the EB-5 program.

How Much Money Do Investors Require for the EB-5 Program?

To participate in the EB-5 program, investors are required to make a substantial financial commitment. As of the latest guidelines, the minimum investment amount is $1,050,000. However, for projects located in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), which are either rural or high-unemployment areas, the minimum investment drops to $800,000. As a result of this substantial investment, a project can create at least 10 jobs for US citizens. 

How Long Must EB-5 Investors Keep Their Funds Invested?

A critical aspect of the EB-5 investment is the duration for which the capital must be “at risk.” Investors are generally required to keep their investment in place until they achieve conditional permanent residency, which typically lasts about two years from receiving their conditional green card. The investment should remain in place until the approval of the I-829 petition, which is filed to remove the conditions of permanent residency. This petition demonstrates that the investor has fulfilled all requirements, including job creation, and is eligible for unconditional permanent residence.

Are Capital Return Timelines Different in Direct vs. Regional Center Investments?

The structure of the EB-5 investment significantly influences the timeline for capital return. In direct investments, where investors invest funds directly into a new commercial enterprise, capital returns depend on the business’s performance and profitability. On the other hand, regional center investments, which pool funds from multiple investors for larger projects, often come with more structured exit strategies and timelines, reflecting the complexities of managing large-scale investments.

How Does the Project’s Success Influence Capital Return?

The success of the EB-5 project is a major determinant in the return of capital. A successful project meets the job creation requirement and achieves financial profitability, facilitating the return of investors’ capital as per the terms agreed. Conversely, if a project struggles or fails, investors face the risk of delayed returns or, in worst-case scenarios, partial or total capital loss.

What Are Typical Conditions for Returning Capital in EB-5 Agreements?

The conditions for returning capital in EB-5 investments vary by project. Typically, these conditions include fulfilling the job creation requirement, maintaining the investment for the required period, and achieving certain financial milestones or profitability levels. The terms outlined in the investment agreement can differ significantly from one project to another.

Can EB-5 Investors Expect ROI Along with Their Principal?

While the EB-5 program’s primary goal is to provide a path to U.S. residency, some projects offer a return on investment (ROI). The rate of return, however, is often modest compared to more traditional investment avenues, reflecting the program’s emphasis on immigration benefits rather than financial gains.

What Are Average I-829 Processing Times and Their Effect on Capital Return?

The processing time for the I-829 petition, which is critical for investors to transition from conditional to unconditional permanent residency, has historically varied. Currently, it can take several years. Delays in this process can prolong the period during which the investment must be maintained, affecting the timeline for the return of capital.

What Can Investors Do to Secure a Timely Capital Return?

Investors should conduct comprehensive due diligence before committing to a project to enhance the prospects of a timely capital return. It is crucial to choose projects with clear, realistic exit strategies and stay informed about their progress. Additionally, engaging with experienced EB-5 attorneys and financial advisors can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the investment period.


In conclusion, the return of capital in the EB-5 program is a multifaceted process influenced by the type of investment, project success, legal compliance, and policy environment. While the primary lure of the program is U.S. residency, understanding the financial aspects and preparing accordingly is key for investors to manage their expectations and achieve their investment goals.

B Program Requirements

What is the first step to obtaining an EB-5 visa?

  • Consult with an Immigration Attorney: The first thing intending investors in the EB-5 visa pathway is to consult with an immigration attorney. The evaluation of the viability of an EB-5 project for the investor is highly critical for the qualification in the program as it also determines the investor’s desired immigration and investment plans.
  • Determine Eligibility and Program Suitability: An immigration lawyer will be in charge of an analysis of a foreign national’s qualification to meet the terms of the EB-5 program and conduct a decision on whether this provision would be the best suited for their circumstances.
  • Choose the Right Investment Model: Lawyer’s advice is next on our agenda; we aim to determine the correct legal way to do this, either through investing in a New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) or using a Regional Center. The statement proves multifaceted since each alternative has perks and difficulties.
  • Direct Investment: Suitable for investors wanting to own and manage their U.S. business. It focuses on investing in the active management of the project and generating at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S.-qualified workers in the factor directly.
  • Regional Center Investment: Usually, while satisfying the job creation demand, achieving it indirectly through economic activity is much easier than directly creating jobs. Many of these Regional Centers are getting investor visa approvals and can take a more passive investment stance.
  • Conduct Thorough Due Diligence: The research must be done thoroughly, irrespective of the investment path – the path of due diligence. This is studying the duration of the job amid the presentation of the project, financial resilience, and the overall migration and financial risk.
  • Evaluate Project Compliance and Risks: Through the consultation of an immigration advisor, the investor should consider what the prescribed venture is allowed by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services and assess the risks attached to the investment. This step is the most important at this stage for ensuring that the investment fulfills all the EB-5 targeted employment area requirements and that residents are eligible to get permanent residency in the USA.

What documents are needed to begin the EB-5 process?

Initial Investment Evidence:

  • Bank statements showing the transfer of funds.
  • Promissory notes, if applicable, to demonstrate a commitment of funds.
  • Loan certificates and security agreements to evidence borrowed funds used for investment.

Project Documentation:

  • Detailed business plan outlining the project’s viability and job creation potential.
  • Hiring schedule to demonstrate the timeline for job creation.
  • Market analysis supporting the project’s success and sustainability.
  • Licenses, certifications, or permits are required for the project operation.
  • Documentation proving the project’s eligibility for the EB-5 program, such as state business certificates, articles of incorporation, and partnership agreements.

Targeted Employment Area (TEA) Documentation (if applicable):

  • Official designation letters or certifications proving the project is within a TEA.
  • Population data or unemployment statistics supporting the TEA designation.

Regional Center Documentation (if investing through a Regional Center):

  • Information about the chosen EB-5 Regional Center.
  • Agreements or contracts with the Regional Center detailing the investment terms.

Source-of-Funds Documentation:

  • Bank account statements tracing the origin of the investment funds.
  • Tax returns to demonstrate income and lawful accumulation of wealth.
  • Employment records, including pay stubs and employment contracts.
  • Investment records showing earnings from investments.
  • Property deeds and sale documents if funds come from property sales.
  • Loan documentation for funds borrowed for the EB-5 investment.
  • Gift records, if any portion of the investment was gifted.
  • Accounting records to detail the financial history and source of funds.

Investor Involvement Documentation:

  • Corporate documents outlining the investor’s role and ownership in the enterprise.
  • Descriptions or contracts detailing the investor’s responsibilities and managerial duties are especially relevant for direct investors.
  • For Regional Center investors, partnership agreements show the investor’s limited partner status and the extent of their involvement.

What is a I-485 Petition?

The I-485 petition is crucial for EB-5 immigrant investors seeking to adjust their status to become conditional permanent residents in the United States. Here’s an overview of what the I-485 application entails and its significance for EB-5 program participants.

What is the I-485 Application?

The I-485 form, officially titled the Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is a critical step for EB-5 immigrant investors already present in the United States. Following the approval of their I-526 petitions, these investors and their dependents are required to file the I-485 petition. This process is exclusive to those in the U.S.; those outside must undergo a different process involving the DS-230 form at a U.S. consulate or embassy.

The I-485 form requires comprehensive biographical information from applicants, allowing the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to assess their eligibility for permanent residency. It’s a common practice for immigration attorneys to handle the filing of this form on behalf of applicants.

Key Elements of the I-485 Application

The successful filing of Form I-485 hinges on meeting several USCIS requirements, often navigated with the assistance of an immigration attorney. These requirements include:

  1. Applicant’s Criminal History: Providing official documents such as law enforcement statements, court orders, and probation records.
  2. Vital Records: Submission of valid birth, marriage, and divorce certificates.
  3. Passport and Visa Details: Photocopies of the passport and non-immigrant visa, evidencing U.S. status maintenance.
  4. Recent Photographs: Two identical, recent color photographs of the applicant.
  5. Biometric Services: Required for applicants aged 14 to 79, including fingerprinting, photographs, and signatures.
  6. Medical Examination: Submission of a medical examination report and vaccination records.
  7. Biographic Information: Form G-325A for those aged 14 to 79.
  8. Evidence of Eligibility: A copy of the I-797C form received upon the approval of the I-526 petition.

Filing and Processing the I-485

Typically managed by immigration attorneys, the I-485 application can be filed immediately after I-526 petition approval. 

The application filing fees total (w/ Biometrics fee): 

  • Below 14 filing with the Form I-485
  • application of at least 1 parent: $750
  • Below  14 and not filing with the Form I-485 application of at least one parent: $1,140
  • Age 14–78: $1,225
  • Age 79 or older: $1,140 (biometrics fee waived)

Depending on the applicant’s location, the form is mailed to the USCIS Lockbox facility in Texas or Arizona.

Processing times vary between 6 and 12 months, and applicants are informed via email or postal mail. Importantly, EB-5 applicants can apply for work and travel authorization through the I-765 and I-131 forms during this processing period.

Upon approval of the I-485, applicants become conditional permanent residents for two years. The I-829 petition is filed to remove these conditions, leading to full permanent residency upon approval. This status allows the investor, spouse, and unmarried children under 21 to live and work permanently in the U.S.

What is an I-829 Petition?

I-829 Petition Basics

The I-829 petition is the final step for an EB-5 investor to become a permanent resident of the United States without conditions. Initially, EB-5 investors and their immediate family members receive conditional permanent residency for two years. The primary purpose of the I-829 petition is to remove these conditions. The petition must be filed within the 90 days immediately preceding the second anniversary of the date that the investor obtained conditional resident status. The successful processing of this petition results in the investor, their spouse, and unmarried children under 21 receiving a Green Card without conditions.

I-829 Petition In Detail

This petition is more than just a formality; it’s a comprehensive process demonstrating the fulfillment of all EB-5 program requirements. The investor must provide evidence that they have invested the required capital in a new commercial enterprise and that this investment has led to the creation or preservation of at least ten full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers. The petitioner must also prove that the business was sustained during the two years of conditional residency and that the investment has not been reduced or withdrawn.

The I-829 petition requires detailed evidence to substantiate these claims. This evidence can include, but is not limited to, business licenses, tax returns, financial statements, payroll records, and relevant organizational documents.

Accompanying Documentation

To remove conditions from their permanent residency under the EB-5 program, an investor must prove their conditional status, typically with a green card copy, and demonstrate compliance with all EB-5 requirements. This includes providing evidence of establishing and maintaining a new commercial enterprise, usually through federal tax returns and other financial documents. They must also prove the required capital investment with financial statements and show that the investment led to the creation of 10 full-time jobs. Additionally, investors with a criminal history must submit relevant legal documents such as court and law enforcement records.

Filing Form I-829

It’s common for EB-5 investors to rely on immigration lawyers to prepare and submit Form I-829. The cost of filing this form with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is $3,750. Additionally, there’s an $85 fee for biometrics services if they’re needed.

The form should be mailed to the USCIS office in Dallas, known as the Dallas Lockbox. The processing time for Form I-829 can vary, typically 22.5 to 45 months. During this period, USCIS might request additional information or arrange an in-person interview with the applicant.

Upon approval of the I-829 petition, the investor’s provisional status is upgraded to that of a lawful permanent resident. This status change is reflected in issuing a new Green Card. Following this, if the investor wishes, they can apply for U.S. citizenship five years after their initial grant of conditional permanent residency.

What is the I-526 Petition in the EB-5 Visa Program?

The I-526 Petition, officially known as the Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, is the first significant application step in the EB-5 visa process. It’s filed by foreign investors to demonstrate their eligibility under the EB-5 program. Approval of this petition is essential for the investor to proceed to the following stages of obtaining a U.S. Green Card.

What are the Requirements for the I-526 Petition?

The I-526 Petition is a critical step for EB-5 investors seeking U.S. residency. After selecting a project and investing the required capital, investors must file Form I-526 with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), providing comprehensive documentation for evaluation.

  1. Investment Amount Requirement: The petition should demonstrate a minimum investment of $800,000 in TEAs.
  2. Proof of Lawful Capital: Investors are required to show that their investment funds were legally obtained.
  3. Investment in New Commercial Enterprise: The invested capital must be put into a for-profit entity established after November 29, 1990.
  4. Job Creation Obligation: The investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs per investor, which can be direct or indirect jobs depending on the investment type.
  5. Investor’s Active Involvement: The petition must show the investor’s active management role in the enterprise.

How Much Time Does it Take to Prepare an Investor I-526 Petition?

Preparing an I-526 Petition can be time-consuming, typically taking several months. The process involves gathering extensive financial documentation, business plans, and legal paperwork. The complexity of the investor’s individual circumstances can significantly influence preparation time.

What are the Fees Associated with the I-526 Petition?

The expenses for completing the I-526 phase of the EB-5 visa program can vary widely, typically from $35,000 to $85,000. These costs encompass several different fees, including:

  1. USCIS Filing Fees
  2. Fees for Immigration Lawyers
  3. Charges for the Source of Funds Report
  4. Administration Fees of the Regional Center
  5. Banking Charges
  6. Escrow Account Charges

What Documents Are Needed for an I-526 Petition?

A comprehensive set of documents is required for the I-526 Petition, including:

  1. Proof of Investment: Bank statements, wire transfer records, and business documents.
  2. Business Plan: A detailed plan showing the enterprise’s viability and job creation potential.
  3. Source of Funds Documentation: Financial statements, tax returns, and other documents proving the lawful source of the investment funds.
  4. Evidence of Management Role: Documents showing the investor’s role in the business.

Who Files an I-526 Petition?

I-526 petitions, essential for the EB-5 visa process, are generally prepared by immigration attorneys and sent to the USCIS California Service Center. With a filing fee of $3,675, the processing time for these petitions can vary, typically taking 10 to 15 months, although it may be longer. USCIS might request additional evidence during this period. Following approval, EB-5 applicants can seek U.S. residency by filing Form I-485 for status adjustment if in the U.S. or the DS-230 application if abroad.

How Long Does I-526 Petition Approval Take?

The processing time for an I-526 Petition can vary widely, ranging from several months to over a year. This timeframe is subject to change based on USCIS processing volumes and the complexity of individual petitions.

How Important is the I-526 in the EB-5 Process?

The I-526 Petition is crucial in the EB-5 visa process as it establishes the investor’s eligibility and sets the foundation for their and their family’s residency application. Its approval is a prerequisite for proceeding with the visa application or adjustment of status for residency in the United States.

What Next After I-526 Approval?

Once the I-526 Petition is approved, the investor and their eligible family members can apply for a visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy, or if they are already in the U.S., they may apply for an adjustment of status. This step is followed by filing the I-829 Petition to remove the conditions on their permanent residency.

What Are Visa Requirements?

The EB-5 visa program enables overseas investors to obtain U.S. residency by establishing new positions within a commercial venture using their funding. Strictly adhering to all rules is paramount, as noncompliance could result in visa refusal. A thorough evaluation of individual directives will help ensure the satisfaction of each stipulation. 

Careful review and comprehension of prescribed rules are recommended to smoothly navigate program requirements.

Job Creation Requirements

You can invest two amounts in a business in the US.

$800,000 for Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs). These areas have high unemployment or are outside the city with a population of 20,000 or more. TEAs are attractive options for many investors.

$1.05 million for areas with lower unemployment and more urban or developed regions.

Investment Avenues

A core element of obtaining an EB-5 visa involves generating new employment positions within the United States. To be eligible, the commercial enterprise must produce ten full-time jobs for American workers sustained over two years after issuance of permanent resident status. 

There are two main ways to invest:

  1. Through direct investment and participation in a new business venture.
  2. Via indirect allocation handled through a regional center, wherein job creation and investment oversight responsibilities rest primarily with the organization.

The Role of Regional Centers

Regional centers serve to facilitate the EB-5 application workflow. Such organizations consolidate capital from multiple contributors into large-scale undertakings, offering a streamlined option for those declining to independently establish a commercial enterprise.

Understanding the Details

Thorough comprehension of rules encompassing minimum investment levels, mandated employment positions generated, and permissible investment avenues is paramount for the EB-5 program. Adhering to immigration directives can prove intricate. 

Prudently educating oneself on nuanced EB-5 visa stipulations may support long-term residence for one’s family within the United States. However, exhaustive research is advised in advance of such a consequential commitment.

C EB5 Cost

What are the EB-5 Costs?

The EB-5 visa investment process involves significant costs throughout the different phases, known as I-526, I-485, and I-829 applications. Applicants must have a clear understanding of all the potential expenses they may incur upfront before beginning their petition. Thorough financial planning helps ensure qualification and preparedness for the investment amounts and fees required at each step.

Phase I

Phase I covers the initial I-526 petition. This phase has the highest costs. The applicant must invest $800,000 in a regional center project. Plus, there are administrative charges of $60,000 to $80,000 paid to the Regional Center, $12,000 for a lawyer, and $8,000 for financial documents showing where your money came from. USCIS charges $4,750 to review the I-526. And a $90 wire transfer fee is typical. In total, Phase I expenses are $884,840 plus.

Applicants can also expect to pay their immigration attorney around $12,000 to prepare and submit the initial petition.

Phase II

During Phase II, the I-485 application for a conditional green card costs $5,925. This includes lawyer fees, consular processing by USCIS, filing fees, fingerprinting, and wire transfers.

Phase III

Phase III is the I-829 petition to have conditions removed from the green card. Anticipate spending around $7,425. This sum goes towards the lawyer, USCIS fees, biometrics, and bank wire charges.

The estimated total for the entire EB-5 process is $98,190, excluding the $800,000 investment amount. Some regional centers or lawyers may offer discounts in special circumstances.

It’s vital applicants understand these costs upfront to be sure they qualify financially. The investment is sizable but will lead to permanent US residence if the requirements are satisfied. Be aware of all potential charges involved in each step.

Can I partially pay my $800,000 investment to get started?

Yes, you can partially pay your $800,000 investment to get started with the EB-5 investment process. This approach allows investors to begin their journey towards U.S. permanent residency by initially contributing a portion of the required capital, with a commitment to provide the remaining amount within a specified timeframe. This option aligns with EB-5 program criteria by indicating that the investment is “in the process of being made.” It offers several benefits, including securing an early priority date, providing flexibility in asset liquidation, aligning investment timing with financial planning, and mitigating risks in uncertain economic conditions. However, it’s essential to consider the associated risks carefully and ensure compliance with the EB-5 program’s requirements, including providing substantial evidence of the investment’s initiation and commitment.

Can I apply if I’ve been denied or had an application terminated by USCIS for a different visa?

Yes, you can still pursue an EB-5 visa even if you’ve faced setbacks with USCIS due to rejections or terminations of different visa applications. However, it’s crucial to understand that not all past issues will impact your EB-5 visa application similarly. The nature of the previous denial or termination plays a significant role here. For instance, if the reasons behind your past rejections or terminations involve immigration fraud, criminal activities that include moral turpitude, or other serious infractions, these will likely pose substantial hurdles to obtaining an EB-5 visa. These issues are red flags in the immigration process, signaling potential ineligibility for future visas.

On a brighter note, the EB-5 visa application process offers a fresh start, but with a caveat: honesty and transparency are your best allies. You must openly share all potential red flags with your immigration lawyer and the regional center involved in your EB-5 application. This includes disclosing any criminal records, medical issues, or previous complications with U.S. immigration. The reason for this full disclosure is twofold. Firstly, it lets your legal team assess your situation accurately and provide the best advice. Secondly, it helps identify whether you qualify for a waiver or other forms of relief that allow you to proceed with the EB-5 visa application despite past inadmissibilities.

In some cases, past issues that might initially seem disqualifying can be mitigated or bypassed with the right legal strategy. For example, waivers are available for specific grounds of inadmissibility, and a skilled immigration attorney can guide you through applying for such waivers. It’s also worth noting that the EB-5 visa, with its unique focus on investment and job creation, may offer different considerations than other visa categories.

Can an individual without a work history use gifted money to apply for an EB-5 visa?

Not everyone involved in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program comes from a background of significant personal wealth or business ownership. Among the applicants are international students and individuals who have no employment history, including young couples relying on financial support from their wealthier parents who may not be interested in moving to the United States themselves. It’s common for those lacking personal funds or employment records to consider using gifts from affluent relatives or friends to finance their EB-5 investment.

Can someone without a job history or personal funds fund their EB-5 investment with gifted money? The answer is yes.

A potential EB-5 visa applicant can use funds received as gifts, partially or fully, provided there is clear documentation of the gift’s lawful origin and a formal gift agreement confirming the investor’s ownership of the funds.

The EB-5 program does not mandate applicants to have a history of employment or experience in management. However, for those making direct investments in the program, possessing business acumen could be crucial for fulfilling the job creation requirements. Moreover, since investments through regional centers often require the investor to be accredited, individuals without an employment history and relying entirely on gifted funds should seek advice from a securities lawyer to assess their eligibility for such investments.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) demands more than just evidence of the transfer of gifted funds. They focus on the legitimacy of the gift and the donor’s method of acquiring the funds. According to USCIS regulations, EB-5 applicants must convincingly demonstrate that their investment capital, if gifted, was obtained legally.

Are your regional center fees considered registered capital?

For the EB-5 visa program, registered capital means the investor’s money, which is invested into a new commercial enterprise to satisfy the EB-5 program requirements, including the job creation criteria. This capital must be at risk to provide a return on the investment, and cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents, and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur, which he/she is personally and primarily liable also can be included, as long as the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of indebtedness.

Regional center fees, e.g., administrative fees, are usually not considered part of the registered capital or the investment amount used to meet the EB-5 investment threshold ($1.05 million or $800,000, depending on the investment region). These fees are commonly paid to a regional center to cover the expenses related to the administration of the EB-5 project, e.g., marketing, overhead, and legal compliance. They are usually different from investments, which are made directly into the enterprise that is creating jobs.

Hence, though the funds for the EB-5 visa investment must be designated to the business or project that generates enough jobs, the regional center fees are not included in this investment bar. However, they are additional costs attributed to participating in a regional center’s EB-5 project and do not count towards the job creation requirement.

How much of the EB-5 process can an immigration attorney advise on?

The EB-5 program serves as a pathway for international investors to acquire a U.S. Green Card, although it may sometimes be compared to navigating a complex maze. This guide is designed to streamline the process, emphasizing the pivotal role of a seasoned EB-5 immigration attorney in ensuring a seamless journey towards obtaining your green card with minimal complications.

Why is an attorney essential?

  1. Expertise in Immigration Law: An EB-5 immigration attorney brings profound knowledge of immigration regulations and USCIS requirements. This expertise ensures that your petitions meet all necessary criteria, minimizing the risk of rejection.
  2. Avoiding Conflicts of Interest: Investors engaged in “regional center” projects require independent legal counsel. This separation from the center’s representatives is crucial to prevent conflicts and safeguard your interests.
  3. Minimizing Immigration Risk: Your attorney helps you choose “low-risk” projects and meticulously prepares your I-526 petition, increasing the likelihood of green card approval. In case of a denial, they can address issues promptly, preventing costly delays.


Beyond securing your green card, your attorney assists with:

  1. Choosing the right investment: Assessing your budget and goals, they advise on projects that align with your needs and risk tolerance.
  2. Staying on track: Ensuring timely fees, proper filing procedures, and accurate documentation throughout the process.
  3. Compiling evidence: Meticulously gathering and organizing proof of your investment funds’ lawful origin.
  4. Navigating the paperwork maze: Guiding you through every step, from the initial I-526 petition to adjusting your status and filing the I-829 petition.
  5. Teamwork for success: Collaborating with professionals like economists and business planners to ensure your investment’s viability and compliance.
  6. Problem-solving and support: Standing by your side, your attorney addresses obstacles and resubmits forms if necessary.

What is the Source of Funds Report?

The Source of Funds Report is an integral part of your I-526 petition, acting as proof for USCIS to establish the legal origin and route that was taken by the EB-5 investment funds. This report is usually prepared by your immigration lawyer or the accountant. When an EB-5 investor is issued an RFE (Request for Evidence), it’s usually because the provided funds cannot be traced back to their original source. An expert lawyer can assist you in determining the most viable sources to be used for your EB-5 investment.

5 Tips for EB-5 Investors in Preparing Their Source of Funds Report

A well-written Source of Funds Report plays a very vital role in the success of an I-526 petition. Whereas you may know where your money comes from, it is not very easy to understand the importance of advance preparation and legal advice. The time needed, and the documentation required before filing the I-526 petition often comes as a surprise to many EB-5 investors. 

Here are some suggestions for EB-5 investors on how to get ready for the I-526 source of funds report:

Plan Your EB-5 Funding Sources in Advance:

Identify which funds are available or can be made available quickly and with minimal complications. Opt for sources that are straightforward to document regarding their origin. You may need to work with third parties to obtain additional documentation. For instance, if you’re using a gift, you’ll require documents showing the gift transfer and documents confirming the donor’s source of funds.

Choose Sources with a Clear Financial History:

Even simple financial operations, such as selling the investment property, need thorough documentation for USCIS approval. This will require evidence of the property sale, mortgage loan repayment for the purchase, and the source of the down payment in most cases. This may become even more complicated when the payment was made several years ago or included multiple sources, including stock sales, accumulated salary savings, or a parental gift. All the sources and fund paths should be properly documented, including the third-party funds. A lack of all the required documents could lead to an RFE or a USCIS denial, and as such, the need for an easier alternative should be done.

Consider Translation Requirements:

All the documents submitted as a part of the source of funds report should be translated for USCIS in general. It is very important to engage an experienced EB-5 attorney or an accounting firm to decide which entries should be included in the report. They have to make arrangements for translating any of the documents that are in non-English languages, which can be quite a long process. For example, you may need to translate five years of bank statements, transfer receipts, etc., if one of your funding sources spans 5 years and includes cash distributions.

Start Early – Don’t Underestimate the Time Needed:

Initiating the EB-5 investment process requires you to:

  • Identify the funding sources to be used.
  • Determine the necessary documents for each source.
  • Arrange for translations if required.
  • Carefully compile the report.

Beginning these steps as early as possible is essential, as underestimating the time required can lead to delays in your EB-5 petition process. Proper planning and timely action can help ensure a smooth submission of your I-526 petition.

What can I do if I don’t have $800,000 in cash for an EB-5 investment?

If you don’t currently have $800,000 in cash available for an EB-5 investment, you still have several viable options to meet the investment requirement:

Gifted Funds: 

Yes, you can use gifted funds as a source for your EB-5 investment, but its a must that you provide the legal source of these funds. This includes providing proof of how the donor acquired the funds. For example, the evidence could be the sale of overseas investment property. Furthermore, you will also require a gift affidavit which outlines the donor-donee relationship, the reasons for the gift, that also confirms that there is no repayment obligation. Know that there could be many tax consequences, hence it is advisable to consult a professional who understands the taxes.


Loans are commonly used by EB-5 investors to finance their investments. These loans are collateralized by personal property, including a HELOC. Alternatively, you can also get a loan from private persons, but detailed documentation is necessary. These comprise a written loan contract, the lender’s income tax returns, and also evidence of how the lender obtained the funds that were borrowed. It is important to note that per a ruling by a court in 2020, the loan proceeds may be regarded as cash for EB-5 purposes, even if they are not secured.

Partial Capital Contributions: 

You can invest in stages, making partial capital contributions. If EB-5 investors prove a desire to invest the full necessary amount after a particular period of time, USCIS allows them to file the I-526 petition.

Regional Center Investment: 

Invest in a Regional Center project, which is designated by the USCIS. In this regard, the minimum investment is usually $800,000. Regional Centers typically undertake more significant initiatives that seek to generate more jobs in particular geographical zones. These capital engagements could also consider indirect job creation, which would facilitate meeting any job creation needs.

Business Partnerships: 

This can be done by forming partnerships or joint ventures with other investors to reach the investment limit collectively. The minimum requirements applicable to your chosen project or location should still apply as the total amount of investment; however, the way you can mix this amount among partners can be discussed.

What is the minimum investment for EB-5?

A main factor in deciding the minimum investment amount for EB-5 is the location of the business set to receive the capital. Specifically, unemployment rates in the area where the company operates are relevant.

Areas with an official unemployment rate that is 150% higher than the national average are called Targeted Employment Areas, or TEAs. Projects located in one of these specially designated TEAs only require a minimum investment of $800,000.

For projects located outside of a TEA, where unemployment is lower, the minimum investment amount increases to $1,050,000. Applicants need to do thorough research and confirm with their selected regional center whether the business is inside or outside of a designated TEA. This determines whether applicants need to invest $800,000 or $1,050,000.

It’s important to know which investment level applies during the planning process. Working with an approved regional center is key, as they will understand the geographic location and can confirm the appropriate minimum amount.

In addition to the capital investment, be aware that there are other costs involved with going through the EB-5 application process over its multiple phases. There are legal and administration fees, government filing, and processing charges. Along with document translation, which can range from $15,000 to $30,000 in total.

Proper financial planning is crucial before beginning an EB-5 investment. Applicants must not only have the minimum amount required for the project site readily available but also budget for the other fees involved. Careful upfront study of the regional center, projected expenses, and timelines helps guarantee EB-5 investors completely grasp the monetary and duration pledges entailed by fully informed decision-making.

D EB5 Risks

What is the risk of my child aging out?

The chance of an EB-5 investor’s unmarried child aging out during the petition lies in the fact that the investor’s child turns 21 before the investor’s green card process is completed, which may disqualify that child from becoming a dependent of the investor. This risk is especially problematic when visa retrogression occurs, which translates into additional waiting time before the green card applicant’s eligibility is ensured.

Visa retrogression happens when the demand from applicants of a particular country for EB-5 visas becomes more significant than the number of visas available to that country, creating a backlog. The yearly U.S. visa allocation of 10,000 EB-5s, which also has a 7% cap on visas granted per country (or 700 per country), can mean that popular countries can quickly reach their limit, leading to visa delays for those applicants. In such a scenario, the Department of State will set cut-off dates, and for an individual’s priority date (the date their I-526 petition was filed) to be before the cut-off date, they will be eligible to move on in the process. This system has a huge potential to slow down the process for many and increase the likelihood that the children will be too old.

On the other hand, the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) provides little consolation to the EB-5 investors, who are very worried about their children growing up. A child’s age under the CSPA becomes “frozen” when I-526 is filed, provided the petition is filed before the child’s 21st birthday. This signifies that if the green card process extends beyond the child’s 21st birthday, they will most likely be entitled as dependents under the investor’s application, hence avoiding aging out due to delays in processing.

To take advantage of this provision, EB-5 investors must file their I-526 petitions well before their children reach the age of 21. This proactive approach and the protections offered by the CSPA can help mitigate the risk of children aging out of the program due to the lengthy visa process or retrogression delays. Nonetheless, each case is unique, and various factors can influence the outcome, so it’s advisable for investors to consult with immigration professionals to navigate these complexities effectively.

How does retrogression impact my children at risk of aging out?

The chance of an EB-5 investor’s unmarried child aging out during the petition lies in the fact that the investor’s child turns 21 before the investor’s green card process is completed, which may disqualify that child from becoming a dependent of the investor. This risk is especially problematic when visa retrogression occurs, which translates into additional waiting time before the green card applicant’s eligibility is ensured.

Visa retrogression happens when the demand from applicants of a particular country for EB-5 visas becomes more significant than the number of visas available to that country, creating a backlog. The yearly U.S. visa allocation of 10,000 EB-5s, which also has a 7% cap on visas granted per country (or 700 per country), can mean that popular countries can quickly reach their limit, leading to visa delays for those applicants. In such a scenario, the Department of State will set cut-off dates, and for an individual’s priority date (the date their I-526 petition was filed) to be before the cut-off date, they will be eligible to move on in the process. This system has a huge potential to slow down the process for many and increase the likelihood that the children will be too old.

On the other hand, the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) provides little consolation to the EB-5 investors, who are very worried about their children growing up. A child’s age under the CSPA becomes “frozen” when I-526 is filed, provided the petition is filed before the child’s 21st birthday. This signifies that if the green card process extends beyond the child’s 21st birthday, they will most likely be entitled as dependents under the investor’s application, hence avoiding aging out due to delays in processing.

To take advantage of this provision, EB-5 investors must file their I-526 petitions well before their children reach the age of 21. This proactive approach and the protections offered by the CSPA can help mitigate the risk of children aging out of the program due to the lengthy visa process or retrogression delays. Nonetheless, each case is unique, and various factors can influence the outcome, so it’s advisable for investors to consult with immigration professionals to navigate these complexities effectively.

How does retrogression impact my investment timeline?

Visa retrogression can significantly impact your EB-5 investment timeline, primarily by extending the period before you and your family can obtain permanent residency (green cards) in the United States. Here’s how retrogression affects the investment timeline:

  1. Extended Waiting Period for Visa Availability: Retrogression occurs when the demand for EB-5 visas exceeds the annual limit set by the U.S. government, leading to a backlog. Once the limit is reached, applicants from oversubscribed countries must wait until a visa becomes available according to their priority date (the date their I-526 petition was filed). This backlog can delay the process by months or even years, depending on the extent of the demand and the specific backlog for applicants from your country.
  2. Delayed Green Card Issuance: The primary goal of the EB-5 investment is to secure a green card, but retrogression can push back the timeline for achieving permanent residency status. This delay affects the investor and their eligible family members, potentially impacting plans related to living, working, and studying in the U.S.
  3. Impact on Children’s Eligibility: As discussed previously, retrogression can increase the risk of children aging out of eligibility for inclusion under their parent’s EB-5 application. While the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) provides some safeguards, the extended timeline due to retrogression still requires careful planning to ensure that children remain eligible.
  4. Uncertainty in the Investment Period: Investors might need more certainty regarding the duration their capital will be tied up in the EB-5 project. Longer waiting periods for visa availability can lead to extended periods before investors can fulfill their residency requirements and, eventually, retrieve their investment from the project, assuming it was structured to allow for capital return after a certain period.
  5. Planning and Strategy Adjustments: Investors might need to adjust their personal and financial planning to accommodate the longer timeline. This could include maintaining their current status in the U.S. through other visas, reassessing their children’s education plans, or revisiting their investment strategies in light of the extended timeline for potential returns on their EB-5 investment.
  6. Increased Scrutiny and Compliance Requirements: The longer your investment timeline extends, the more likely there will be changes in regulations or compliance requirements. Investors may need to stay abreast of changes in the EB-5 program and ensure ongoing compliance with its requirements, possibly necessitating additional legal or professional guidance.

What happens if the I-829 is denied? What is the appeal process?

If an EB-5 investor’s Form I-829 is denied, several steps and options are available for them to contest the decision or maintain their legal status in the United States. Here’s a simplified overview of what happens and the appeal process:

  1. Seek Administrative Review: Initially, an investor can request a review of the decision through the USCIS or take the matter to immigration court or even the federal court system. This step is crucial for those looking to challenge the denial directly.
  2. Motion to Reopen or Reconsider: The investor can file a motion with USCIS to reopen the case or reconsider the decision. This is an opportunity to present new evidence or arguments not considered in the original decision.
  3. Removal Proceedings: If USCIS starts removal proceedings, the investor can request a case review before an immigration judge. This stage offers another chance to argue against the denial and present further evidence supporting the investor’s case.
  4. Appeal to Higher Courts: Should the immigration judge uphold the denial, the investor can escalate the matter to the Federal Circuit Court of appeals or the district court. This step involves a more formal legal challenge against the denial but requires all previous appeals to have been exhausted.
  5. Conditional Green Card Validity: Throughout the appeals process, the investor’s conditional Green Card remains valid until its stated expiration date. Their residency status also remains unchanged while any investigations or reviews are ongoing.
  6. Applying for Other Visas: If the I-829 petition fails for reasons unrelated to the investor’s eligibility (e.g., the EB-5 project’s failure), the investor is still free to apply for any other eligible immigrant or nonimmigrant visas, including attempting another EB-5 visa.

Next Steps After a Denial:

  • Review Denial Notices: It’s essential for investors to thoroughly understand the reasons behind the denial. This involves carefully reading the denial notice and identifying any required documentation or actions.
  • Consult an Immigration Attorney: An experienced attorney can provide invaluable guidance through the appeal process, help understand the case’s complexities, and advise on the best course of action.
  • Address the Denial Reasons: Investors should work closely with their attorney to address the specific reasons for the denial, gathering additional evidence or clarifying any misunderstandings to comply with EB-5 requirements.
  • Prepare for Appeal or Reconsideration: Depending on the case, deciding whether to appeal or request reconsideration is a critical step. A strong, comprehensive response that addresses the USCIS’s concerns is essential for a successful challenge.
  • Submit the Appeal: Ensuring the appeal or reconsideration request is submitted accurately and within any specified deadlines is crucial. Regular communication with the attorney during this waiting period helps keep the investor informed.
  • Explore Alternative Options: If appealing doesn’t seem promising, considering alternative pathways, such as making a new EB-5 investment or exploring other visa categories, may be advisable.

Throughout this process, maintaining open lines of communication with legal counsel and staying informed about the status and requirements of one’s case is crucial to effectively navigating the aftermath of an I-829 denial.

What can cause an I-829 denial?

An I-829 denial can occur for several key reasons. These reasons are associated with the inability to adhere to the rules and guidelines set by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the EB-5 plan. Here are the primary causes:

  • Lack of Proper Documentation: An investor must provide sufficient detail and credible evidence showing that they have complied with their EB-5 commitments, including job creation or investing the necessary amount in a U.S. business. Otherwise, their application can be rejected. It can be anything from lost financial documentation to employment records or other essential documents.
  • Not Creating Enough Jobs: The fundamental requirement of the EB-5 program is that a person’s investment must generate at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. If they cannot show that they have achieved the above objective, they can have their I-829 petitions denied.
  • Investment Not Sustained: Investors must wait until a certain time to achieve their goals. If they withdraw their funds early or prove that investment was maintained over the requisite years, their permanent residence petition might be denied.
  • Breaking Program Rules: When any form of fraud, misinformation, or other violations of the EB-5 regulations happen, a denial may be the consequence. This means everything from forging documents to not really spending money as it was supposed to.
  • Questionable Source of Funds: The investor must show that the money they want to invest was obtained legally. If there’s any doubt about the origin of the funds, or if the investor fails to provide convincing evidence of the money’s legitimacy, it could be grounds for denial.
  • Ignoring Requests for Additional Information: Sometimes, USCIS needs more information and will send a request for evidence (RFE) to the investor. If the investor does not respond or fails to provide the requested information within the specified timeframe, their application may be denied.

Given the complexity and stringent requirements of the EB-5 program, investors should work closely with experienced immigration lawyers specializing in EB-5 cases to ensure all program obligations are met and to minimize the risk of denial.

What is Visa Retrogression?

Visa retrogression is a term that refers to a state in U.S. immigration in which the number of immigrant visas available for particular categories or countries is limited because of the demand, which results in delays in the process of immigration. To comprehend the visa retrogression better, let us unpack the main concepts.

Congressional Limits: 

The U.S. Congress sets yearly quotas on the visas that can be issued to immigrants. Individuals who want to become permanent United States residents also need immigrant visas.

Priority Date: 

In the immigration process, the priority date is critical. It means the date an immigrant petition is correctly filed with the USCIS. In some instances, the priority date refers to when an application for labor certification was accepted upon processing by the Department of Labor.

Monthly Visa Bulletin: 

This is a monthly Visa Bulletin by the Department of State, which carries significant information on visa availability. The bulletin provides cut-off dates that determine when an applicant can apply for permanent resident status after filing the adjustment of status visa application.

Visa Availability: 

Only candidates with earlier priority dates than the cut-off date published in the latest Visa Bulletin can apply for permanent resident status. Those beyond the published cut-off date may be subject to visa retrogression.

Causes of Retrogression: 

Regression on the visa arises when the demand for visas from a given category or specified country outpaces the available capacity of that period. For instance, if 697 EB-5 visas are allocated to a given country in the fiscal year and more than 697 individuals try applying, then there is a set cut-off date. Applicants are only eligible for the adjustment of status if their priority date falls on or before the cut-off date listed above.

Timing of Retrogression: 

Retrogression often happens toward the end of the fiscal year when visa issuances approach annual category or country-specific limitations. Sometimes, a priority date that met the cut-off one month may no longer meet it in the next month. However, a fresh supply of visas becomes available at the start of a new fiscal year on October 1, typically restoring the cut-off dates to their previous positions.

Visa Bulletin Adjustments: 

The Department of State adjusts the cut-off dates on the Visa Bulletin monthly. These adjustments are based on various factors, including the number of visas already used, projected visa demand, and the remaining visas under the annual numerical limit for specific countries and preference categories.

Processing Retrogressed Cases: 

If an applicant’s priority date no longer meets the cut-off date due to retrogression at the adjudication, their case must be put on hold until a visa becomes available again. If necessary, USCIS will finalize processing when priority dates become current, sending requests for updated information, such as evidence or interview notices.

Employment and Travel: 

Applicants who filed Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) with USCIS before visa availability retrogressed may still apply for employment authorization (Form I-765) and permission to travel outside the United States (Form I-131).

Updating Information: 

Keeping your address updated with USCIS is crucial to avoid missing important correspondence and deadlines. Address updates should also be reported to the Department of State’s National Visa Center if you plan to apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy overseas.

For Additional Information: 

To stay informed about visa cut-off dates, you can regularly check the current Visa Bulletin on the Department of State’s website or listen to a recorded message at 202-663-1541, updated with cut-off dates by the middle of each month. Additionally, you can contact the USCIS Contact Center for further assistance.

What is the USCIS background check, and what factors might disqualify an investor from participating in the EB-5 Program?

What is the USCIS background check?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) mandates that every person immigrating to the U.S. must be subject to background investigations. During the visa application process, these evaluations are conducted by various agencies: USCIS, the Department of State, and instantly by Customs and Border Patrol upon entry into the United States.

The process involves checking against multiple criminal and national security databases, including a fingerprint analysis and a name check by the FBI. The checks are thorough, with your personal details like name, birth date, and place of birth, along with your fingerprints, being cross-referenced against an FBI-maintained database. This ensures that there are no negative records tied to your name from sources such as domestic and international law enforcement, security agencies, the U.S. State Department, and its consulates.

Specifically for EB-5 visa applicants, USCIS also scrutinizes records in the Treasury Department’s databases to determine any involvement in or suspicion of financial crimes, including money laundering.

The overarching objective of the U.S. government in conducting these checks is to confirm that no individual with a severe criminal past or who poses a threat to national security is allowed entry. Additionally, they aim to prevent the allocation of immigration benefits to individuals who have resorted to deceit or fraud to enter the U.S.


However, not all criminal records or immigration infractions result in inadmissibility. Therefore, engaging with an immigration attorney experienced in EB-5 matters is crucial to evaluating eligibility for the program.

What factors might disqualify an investor from participating in the EB-5 Program?

Factors that might disqualify an investor from participating in the EB-5 Program include:

  1. Being a Public Health Risk: This refers to individuals who might carry contagious diseases or have health-related issues that pose a risk to public health.
  2. Having a Serious Criminal Record: Especially crimes considered aggravated felonies or crimes of moral turpitude.
  3. Making Misrepresentations or Committing Visa Fraud: This includes any false information or deceitful practices used to gain entry into the U.S.
  4. Overstaying Visa or Unlawful Presence in the U.S.: This refers to individuals who have stayed beyond their visa’s validity or have been in the U.S. without legal status.

EB-5 investors can submit the I-526 petition, but its approval doesn’t guarantee admission into the U.S. or permanent resident status if certain factors are present. Hence, EB-5 investors should seek advice from an immigration attorney before filing the I-526 petition. They should openly share any possible concerns that might affect their admissibility, including their entire visa history, any previous overstays, and instances of childbirth in the U.S. while on a non-work visa. In some cases, EB-5 investors qualify for a waiver regarding these issues.


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