The EB-5 visa is an immigrant visa, falling under the employment-based 5th category. This visa requires applicants to invest in a US enterprise and create jobs for US residents. Hence, it falls under the employment-based category. The EB-5 program, established by the US Congress in 1990, regulates the main requirements for the EB-5 visa. As a result of participating in this program, foreign citizens and their family members may receive a Permanent Residency in the US, also known as a Green Card. There are three separate sets of requirements for the EB-5 visa.

EB-5 visa requirements 

First – Requirements on EB-5 Investment

The investment amount was last updated in 2022, set at $800,000 for projects in targeted employment areas (which include rural and high-unemployment areas) and for infrastructure projects. For other projects, the amount starts at $1,050,000.  These amounts will be adjusted according to inflation levels in 2027.

Investments must be made in real businesses that are at risk and must create at least 10 jobs for US residents.

Investors have two options:

  1. They can invest in their own business, known as DIRECT EB-5. In this case, the business should create at least 10 full-time jobs, each requiring a minimum of 35 hours per week, for a period of at least 2 years.
  2. Alternatively, investors may choose projects offered by Regional Centers. In this case, jobs can be indirect or induced, meaning they are not created directly by the business you invest in but result from spending in certain areas. Job creation is estimated and proven using economic models such as RIMS II and REDYN. For example, for the construction of an office building, jobs created at the furniture supplier would be considered.

Regional Centers act as fund managers, seeking projects that meet EB-5 program requirements and offering them to interested investors. These projects are often in the real estate sector.

Second – Requirements for EB-5 Investors

The EB-5 program is popular because it has low requirements for investors. There’s no need for investors to know the language, have work experience, or hold a specific level of education.

Investors must prove that the funds they invest have a lawful source. They have to document the original source of funds and trace the funds from the moment they were earned until the moment they were invested in the EB-5 project. Examples of sources of funds are: salary, dividends, inheritance and so on. 

If the money was gifted, which often happens in student applications, they should show the source and trace of funds for the person who gifted the funds.

Third – Green Card Requirements

Through participation in the EB-5 program, investors and their family members will receive a Green Card. However, the US immigration system has a list of reasons why they can deny an application for any Green Card applicants, including EB-5 program participants.

This list includes:

  • Health issues – Applicants who are found to have certain medical conditions that could pose a threat to public health or safety may be denied. This could include communicable diseases such as tuberculosis or mental health disorders that make the applicant a danger to themselves or others.
  • Criminal activity – Applicants with certain criminal convictions, particularly those involving crimes of moral turpitude, drug trafficking, or multiple convictions
  • National security concerns – Applicants who are deemed to pose a security risk to the United States, such as those involved in terrorism or espionage, may be denied.
  • Public charge – Not having enough money to support themselves
  • Misrepresentation or committing fraud – Providing false information or documentation, or attempting to deceive immigration authorities, can result in denial of the application. This includes providing counterfeit documents or misrepresenting facts related to eligibility criteria.
  • Being previously deported
  • Staying in the US without permission
  • And other reasons

Sometimes, a person can request permission to overlook these reasons and still be allowed into the US.

If you have previously had visa denials of a non-immigrant category, you should consult with an immigration attorney to understand the reasons. If the main reason was immigrant intent, you should not have problems obtaining a Green Card through investments. However, if the reason was different, such as misrepresentation or a criminal history, you most likely would not be able to receive a Green Card with the EB-5 program.

To know how the EB-5 program process works for a participant, look at the step-by-step instructions or sign up for a free consultation using the buttons below.