Foreign Entrepreneurs: Discover the Basics of the EB-5 Visa

If you’re a high net worth foreign national looking to make your entrepreneurial mark in the U.S., and you’re willing and prepared to make a substantial financial investment in “the land of opportunity,” then the EB-5 Visa (a.k.a. “Investment Green Card”) could be the ideal option.

The EB-5 Visa program is administered by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). While each application is scrutinized and evaluated on its own merits, there are some general principles of the program that you should be familiar with before you decide to move ahead. These include the following:

Basic Requirements

To potentially qualify for an EB-5 Visa, you need to do one of the following:

● Invest $1 million dollars, and hire 10 qualified employees anywhere in the U.S.

● Invest $500,000 dollars, and hire 10 qualified employees in an area of the country where the unemployment rate exceeds the U.S. average by 1.5x, or if the rural population is under 20,000.

● Invest in a designated Regional Center (see below).

Qualified Employees

When applying for an EB-5 Visa, a “qualified employee” refers to any individual who is legally authorized to work in the U.S. This includes both citizens and permanent residents. Foreign-nationals living in the U.S. with non-immigrant status (including H-1B Visa holders), the EB-5 Visa applicant him or herself, and the EB-5 Visa applicant’s family (e.g. children, spouse, etc.), are not considered “qualified employees” and cannot be counted among the required 10 new jobs.

EB-5 Regional Centers

An EB-5 Regional Center is an organization that has been designated by USCIS, and which sponsors capital investment projects by EB-5 entrepreneurs. Investing in an EB-5 Regional Center allows applications to take advantage of indirect and induced job creation. Indirect jobs are those that are created in business and commercial enterprises that are affiliated with an EB-5 Regional Center. Induced jobs are those that are created in the community in which the EB-5 Regional Center is located.

Preserved Jobs

You may be able to preserve jobs (and count them towards the required 10) rather than create jobs if you invest in what USCIS designates as a “trouble business.” This is an enterprise that has been operational for at least 24 months, and has experienced a net loss during the 12-24 month period before the priority date on an application. Furthermore, the net loss must be at least 20 percent of the troubled business’s value. 

Next Steps

The EB-5 Visa application process requires extensive documentation, including a comprehensive business plan. Ensure that you work with an experienced and reputable EB-5 attorney to get the information, advice and step-by-step guidance you need.


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for preventing automated spam submissions.