EB-5 Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the questions we are routinely asked about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.*

The EB-5 Visa Program is a special immigration program created by the United States Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation by immigrant investors. There are 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas available annually, of which 3,000 are set aside for foreign nationals who invest in regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

A husband, wife and any unmarried children under the age of 21. A child must be under 21 at the time of filing the I-526 petition. Note: if processing times exceed a certain time, a child may not qualify as an under-21 child. Consult your immigration attorney for further information. It is possible for adopted children to be included in the family. Upon approval, you will receive a form evidencing approval and a travel document. You should also receive a temporary green card in the mail.

No, the ability to speak English is not a requirement; however, an investor should obtain the services of a translator (friend, attorney, family member) to read the materials as English is the official language of all documents used in the EB-5 transaction process.

There are no educational requirements for investors. In addition, investors are not required to have prior business experience. However, investors should have experience in investing or have the ability to understand the transactional documents for the EB-5 investment, and they must have the required net worth and capital to make such an investment.

For investments in “targeted employment areas,” which include most regional center projects, the minimum investment amount is US $500,000. For investments in areas other than “targeted employment areas,” the minimum amount of investment is US $1 million.

USCIS requires investors to demonstrate that their assets were gained in a lawful manner. This requires proving that the investment funds were obtained through lawful business, salary, investments, property sales, property loan, inheritance, gift, loan or other lawful means. If the money is a gift, investors must demonstrate that the gift is an actual transaction and is not an undocumented loan, or that the gifted funds are expected to be returned after permanent resident status is granted.

Investors must be “active” in the management of the investment by engaging in the management of the new commercial enterprise, either through day-to-day managerial control or through policy formation. However, the law does specifically allow that an investor will qualify as a “limited partner” as defined in the Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act.

Each EB-5 investor must create 10 direct or indirect permanent jobs for U.S. workers in order to obtain a green card.

A targeted employment area is a rural area or a geographical area that has experienced unemployment at a rate of at least 150% of the national average rate. Individual states are authorized to designate geographical areas within the state that qualify as targeted employment areas.

The average EB-5 Program processing time is approximately a year, or longer. The initial application and petition are usually approved in six to eight months, with the balance of the time being required for completing other USCIS and Department of State forms, and for scheduling the interview. Investors living in the United States should then expect to wait another six months for approval of their adjustment of status. Investors living abroad at the time of application should apply for an immigration visa through an American consulate, a process which also takes approximately six months. After approval of the immigrant visa through consular processing, investors and their families receive conditional green cards within a few weeks of their arrival in the United States.

Investors must prove that the investment has been sustained – not withdrawn – and that the requisite jobs have been created as a result of the investment.

All green card holders in the family are free to travel in and out of the United States subject to the rules generally applicable to permanent residents. Specifically, investors must maintain a residence in the United States and must not be outside the United States for a continuous period of one year or more, unless a reentry permit has been obtained.

For additional information, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

*The questions and answers on this page are for informational purposes only and are not to be relied upon as legal advice. Nysa EB-5 urges all prospective investors to consult a licensed immigration attorney when working on EB-5 applications. If you choose to work with Nysa EB-5, we have a network of highly experienced immigration attorneys we work with who will help guide you through the legal aspects of the process.