EB-5 Immigrant Investor

EB-5 Immigrant Investor


USCIS administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a pilot immigration program first enacted in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since, certain EB-5 visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.


Up to 10,000 visas may be authorized each fiscal year for eligible entrepreneurs. The EB-5 Adjudications Policy Memorandum is the guiding document for USCIS administration of the EB-5 program. It builds upon prior policy guidance for adjudicating EB-5 and is applicable to, and binding on, all USCIS employees.


All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise: established after Nov. 29, 1990, or established on or before Nov. 29, 1990 that is purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs.


Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to: (i) a sole proprietorship; (ii)partnership (whether limited or general); (iii) holding company; (iv) joint venture; (v) corporation; and Business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned. This definition includes a commercial enterprise consisting of a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries, provided that each such subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of a lawful business.

Note:   This definition does not include noncommercial activity such as owning and operating a personal residence.

Entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) who make an investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and who plan to create or preserve ten permanent full time jobs for qualified United States workers, are eligible to apply for a green card (permanent residence).


Specific job creation requirements: You must create or preserve at least 10 full-time direct or indirect jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident:


  • Direct jobs are actual identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital.


  • Indirect jobs are those jobs shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor. A foreign investor may only use the indirect job calculation if affiliated with a regional center.

Note:   Investors may only be credited with preserving jobs in a troubled business.

Please pay attention to the following definitions:

  1. Atroubled business is an enterprise that has been in existence for at least two years and has incurred a net loss during the 12- or 24-month period prior to the priority date on the immigrant investor’s Form I-526. The loss for this period must be at least 20 percent of the troubled business’ net worth prior to the loss. For purposes of determining whether the troubled business has been in existence for two years, successors in interest to the troubled business will be deemed to have been in existence for the same period of time as the business they succeeded.


  1. A qualified employee is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or other immigrant authorized to work in the United States. The individual may be a conditional resident, an asylee, a refugee, or a person residing in the United States under suspension of deportation. This definition does not include the immigrant investor; his or her spouse, sons, or daughters; or any foreign national in any nonimmigrant status (such as an H-1B visa holder) or who is not authorized to work in the United States.


  1. Full-time employment means employment of a qualifying employee by the new commercial enterprise in a position that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week. In the case of the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, “full-time employment” also means employment of a qualifying employee in a position that has been created indirectly from investments associated with the Pilot Program.


  1. Ajob-sharing arrangement whereby two or more qualifying employees share a full-time position will count as full-time employment provided the hourly requirement per week is met. This definition does not include combinations of part-time positions or full-time equivalents even if, when combined, the positions meet the hourly requirement per week. The position must be permanent, full-time and constant. The two qualified employees sharing the job must be permanent and share the associated benefits normally related to any permanent, full-time position, including payment of both workman’s compensation and unemployment premiums for the position by the employer.



Specific capital investment requirements: You must invest $1,000,000, or at least $500,000 in a targeted employment area (high unemployment or rural area).  In return, USCIS may grant conditional permanent residence to the individual.


Note:   A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.

rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census.



Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur, provided that the alien entrepreneur is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All capital shall be valued at fair-market value in United States dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) shall not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act.

Note:   Investment capital cannot be borrowed.

EB-5 Regional Centers: USCIS approval of an EB-5 regional center application does not constitute USCIS endorsement of the activities of that regional center; guarantee compliance with U.S. securities laws; or minimize or eliminate risk to the investor.


  1. Potential investors are encouraged to seek professional advice when making any investment decisions; and they should always do their own research and consult with a financial professional before making any investment decision. USCIS has issued a joint advisory with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Investor Alert: Investment Scams Exploit Immigrant Investor Program (http://www.sec.gov/investor/alerts/ia_immigrant.htm). The SEC offers free investor education materials (http://www.sec.gov/investor).


  1. To update information for your approved regional center, the official point of contact (POC) for the regional center should contact USCIS at ImmigrantInvestorProgram@uscis.dhs.gov; or may also submit updates in writing to the following address: USCIS, Immigrant Investor Program. 131 M Street NE, 3rd Floor, Mailstop 2235.


  1. As of June 1, 2015, USCIS had approved approximately 676 regional centers. Regional centers can operate in multiple states. For more information, please visit http://www.investor.gov/.



Application Process: You may be eligible to apply for a green card through the E5 category if you have an approved Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur (http://www.uscis.gov/i-526), you are admissible to the United States if an immigrant visa is immediately available.


If USCIS approves this petition, the conditions will be removed from the EB-5 applicant’s status and the EB-5 investor and derivative family members will be allowed to permanently live and work in the United States.