EB-5 (Immigrant Visa)

Investment Based Immigration

What is EB-5?

EB-5 is an immigration program created by the U.S. Congress in 1990 to benefit the United States’ economy by attracting investments from qualified foreign investors who want to immigrate to U.S.

To qualify under this program, each foreign investor or applicant must invest a minimum of $1,000,000 (one million dollars), or $500,000 (1/2 of million dollars) if the funds are invested in certain designated high unemployment rural areas or regions. Each investor or applicant must also demonstrate at least 10 (ten) new jobs were created as a result of this EB-5 investment.

To further expand the EB-5 investor program to allow multiple foreign investors to pool their EB-5 capital together by investing into the same investment project or business, the U.S. Congress established the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program on Oct. 6, 1992 through Sec. 610 Public Law 102-395. This expansion of the program added the designation of Regional Centers to allow pool the EB-5 funds from multiple investors. Currently, more than ninety percent (90%) of all EB-5 funds are being invested in these Regional Centers.

What are Regional Centers?

An EB-5 Regional Center is an entity, approved and designated by US Citizenship and Immigration Service, which enables investment in job-creating economic development projects by pooling fund or capital raised under the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Regional centers (“RCs”) can take in different forms; it can be publicly owned by a city, state, or even regional economic development agency, privately owned such as a corporation, or be a public-private partnership.

It is important to note that all investment offerings made by EB-5 Regional Centers are subject to U.S. securities laws, enforced by both States and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), a Federal agency.

Difference Between Direct Investment and Regional Center Investment

Under the current EB-5 immigration program, investments may be made in two ways: (1) by making investments directly into an investment project as an individual OR (2) by making the investment through a USCIS approved regional center with other multiple qualifying foreign investors.

In the “direct investment” method, the foreign investor invests directly in the business or enterprise rather than through an intermediary. The required minimum investment amount is one million dollar ($1,000,000), unless the business is located in a targeted employment area (“TEA”), in which case the investment minimum is lowered to five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000). When filing the EB5 immigrant visa petition (“I-526”), the foreign investor must show that his or her investment will “directly” create ten full-time jobs or more qualifying employees within twenty-four months or two years of the I-526 petition's approval. “Directly created jobs” means full-time employees actually hired by the invested business or enterprise. These do not include independent contractor or part-time positions. The direct investor must also show proof of the establishment of a "new commercial enterprise." The investor must also be part of the enterprise’s management and operation.

In the “regional center investment” means, the foreign investor invests in an enterprise or project through a USCIS or government-approved “Regional Center”. Like the direct investment system, the minimum investment amount is also one million dollar ($1,000,000) or five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) if the RC is located in a Targeted Employment Area (“TEA”). Just about all Regional Centers are located in TEAs. One major difference between a “direct investor” and a “regional center investor” is that the “regional center investor” can satisfy the job-creation requirement by either creating direct or indirect full-time jobs for at least ten employees within two years of the immigrant visa I-526 petition's approval. Another major difference between the two is that “regional center investors” do not need to be engaged in the management or operation of the invested enterprise or business.

Our Services for EB5 Clients

Our law firm and team of professionals are ready to help investors with both Direct EB5 investment projects and Regional Center investment projects.

Here is a general description of what our services may include.

1. The preparation and filing of the Form I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur with U.S Citizenship & Immigration Services (“USCIS”) for you.

  • Obtaining, reviewing, analyzing and presenting information and documentation about the regional center project;

  • Communicating with the regional center, as necessary, regarding legal or factual issues relating to the regional center project;

  • Obtaining necessary information from the regional center in order to respond to any Request for Evidence from USCIS;

  • Providing consultations and responding to your inquiries regarding the EB-5 process;

  • Obtaining, reviewing, analyzing and presenting information and documentation regarding the lawful source of your funds;

  • Obtaining, reviewing, analyzing and presenting information and documentation relating to tracing of funds from you to the regional center; and

  • Preparation and filing of EB-5 related forms, attorney’s briefs, responding to Requests for Evidence if issued by USCIS.

2. The preparation and filing of immigrant visa application (Packet 3 & 4) with National Visa Center and U.S. Consulate for you and your dependents (spouse and children under 21).

3. The preparation and filing adjustment of status application (I-485) if the investor is already living in the United States at the time of the petition approval and he or she is eligible to adjust.