EB5 VISA PROGRAM OVERVIEW

WHAT IS EB-5?

EB-5 is a Reliable Way to Achieve Permanent Residency in The United States

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created in 1990 to attract foreign investment to stimulate economic growth through job creation in the United States. The program allows foreign nationals to make a qualifying investment into a new or existing US commercial enterprise that creates 10 US jobs to obtain a Green Card. EB-5 Investors and their families gain permanent residency to live and work anywhere in the United States. One EB-5 investment allows the main applicant, spouse, and any unwed children under the age of 21 to all obtain Green Cards.

RECENT EB5 PROGRAM UPDATE

BENEFITS FOR EB5 INVESTORS

EB-5 Visa provides many benefits to Foreign Investors looking to immigrate to the US including:

How to obtain a Green Card for You and Your Family with EB-5 Visa

EB-5 Visa Program Cost & Requirements

The US government requires EB-5 investments to comply with strict guidelines to promote job creation. The minimum qualifying investment threshold varies depending on the location of the business or project. If an EB-5 project is in a Targeted Employment Area (“TEA”) the qualifying investment amount is $800,000. Outside of a TEA, investors must contribute $1,050,000 to obtain a Green Card.
 

EB-5 Visa Investment AmountInvested intoAmount*
Project located in Targeted Employment Area (TEA) EB-5 Investment AmountUS Commercial Enterprise$800,000

OR

EB-5 Visa Investment AmountInvested intoAmount*
Project located in Non-Targeted Employment Area (Non-TEA) EB-5 Investment AmountUS Commercial Enterprise$1,050,000

 

AND 

EB-5 Visa Typical CostsPaid toAmount*
Admin FeesInvestment Issuer (Regional Center)Up to $90,000*
Legal FeesImmigration attorney$25,000 – $35,000**
Processing FeesUSCISTo be determined by USCIS

*Depending on EB-5 project
**Attorney’s fees are typically paid in stages

 

EB-5 Visa Investment AmountInvested intoAmount*
Project located in Targeted Employment Area (TEA) EB-5 Investment AmountUS Commercial Enterprise$800,000

OR

EB-5 Visa Investment AmountInvested intoAmount*
Project located in Non-Targeted Employment Area (Non-TEA) EB-5 Investment AmountUS Commercial Enterprise$1,050,000

AND 

EB-5 Visa Typical CostsPaid toAmount*
Admin FeesInvestment Issuer (Regional Center)Up to $90,000*
Legal FeesImmigration attorney$25,000 – $35,000**
Processing FeesUSCISTo be determined by USCIS

*Depending on EB-5 project
**Attorney’s fees are typically paid in stages

The investment is required to be an “At-Risk” Investment in a US commercial enterprise. There can be no guarantee on the return of investment to the investor as it would disqualify them from obtaining a permanent Green Card. This does not mean that the EB-5 investment must be unnecessarily risky. Risk can be mitigated in a multitude of ways by the deal structuring of the EB-5 Investment Offering.

One EB-5 investment allows the main applicant, their spouse, and any unwed children under 21 to obtain permanent Green Cards. The investor does not receive any immediate immigration benefits after applying and they may have to wait more than a year before the I-526 application is approved. Only after I-526 approval will they be allowed to immigrate to the United States. Applying for EB-5 does not affect other ongoing forms of US legal status e.g., H1-B, F-1, B-1, etc. The first EB-5 immigration benefit comes in one of two ways:

  1. A Conditional Green Card received approximately one to three years from the moment of application (application means filing an I-526 petition).

  2. An Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and Advanced Parole Travel Permit that can be obtained within months of application if the investor has a current US student/work visa and concurrently files an I-485 change of status along with their I-526 petition.

This timeline varies and may be shorter or longer, and will depend on factors such as your country of birth and current visa status in the United States. You may also benefit from a faster processing depending on which EB5 United project you invest in. The recently passed EB-5 legislation states that USCIS needs to process petitions within 60-240 days, and if this is accomplished then the time to obtaining a Green Card should remain closer to one year.

US EB-5 GREEN CARD PROCESS & TIMELINE

Stage 1: Do your Research

Step 1: Understand what EB-5 is and its Timeline
Start by doing your research into the EB-5 process. This immigration by investment program is not the same as many other ‘golden visa’ programs offered by other countries as it requires a strict initial source of funds review and eventually proof of job creation. The investment process takes approximately 5 to 7 years, this may be shorter or longer depending on your country of birth and the EB5 United project that you choose to invest in.

Step 2: Does EB-5 work for me?
EB-5 requires you to make a minimum investment of $800,000. If you are on an existing non-immigrant visa in the US right now, you need to decide if the benefits of obtaining a Green Card are greater than renewing your non-immigrant visa every three years. There is also an additional benefit to those foreign nationals who have an existing nonimmigrant visa like a F-1, H-1B or L1A visa, and are in the US at the time of filing of EB-5 petition, as they are entitled to contemporaneous filing for adjustment of status and hence more expedient receipt of EAD.

Step 3: My Source of Funds?
One of the most important aspects of the program is to demonstrate where the money you’re investing is coming from. Whether it’s your earnings, assets, or even gifts/loans from friends and family, you will need to prove and show documentation for all sources of money in the investment and fees. The entire investment amount and all fees must be accounted for and wired into the project before your immigration petition is filed. If you don’t have all the funds required to invest today, we still encourage you to conduct your research and arrange a consultation with EB5 United. We understand that the EB-5 investment is a long-term life decision for individuals and families, we are happy to answer any questions as you plan for you and your family’s future.

Step 4: Make your decision
After taking all facts into consideration, base your decision on whether or the EB-5 program is right for you. EB5 United is happy to refer you to an experienced immigration attorney best fit to handle your petition.

Stage 2: Begin your EB-5 Process (First 1 to 3 months)

Step 5: Engage an Immigration Attorney and start your Source of Funds process
The first step in your EB-5 process will to be to have an attorney assess your source of funds. Once engaged your attorney will begin by obtaining your basic info, travel history, and the required documentation for your source of funds. If your funds are not all liquid the attorney will guide you in mobilizing your funds. The attorney also will outline what documentation you will need to provide for each source, which can include a gift, loan against property, sale of assets, income, and more. You will need to provide multiple documents at this stage and the entire process can take a few weeks to a few months depending on how quickly you can provide the required documentation.

Step 6: Identify a project that meets your objectives
Complete your due diligence on the project that best meets your immigration and investment goals. We recommend setting up a Zoom call with one of our professionals at EB5 United to review the project options we have available. Your immigration attorney cannot recommend projects to you, but you can ask them to do their due diligence on the immigration aspect of the project of your choice.

Step 7: Sign documents and send Funds to Escrow
After your immigration attorney has collected all the required documentation and completed your source of funds, they will give you the go ahead to send your investment capital to the project escrow account. Once you sign the signature packet and wire the funds, we will countersign the documents and issue a wire transfer receipt reflecting the full amount and admin fees were wired to us. This is the final documentation your attorney needs to file before your I-526 Petition.

Step 8: Submit your I-526 petition
Once your attorney has collected all the required documentation for your source of funds, the wire transfer receipts, and the counter signed documents from EB5 United they will be able to submit your I-526 petition to the USCIS. The I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur consists of: 1) Proof of how the investor earned all the funds utilized in the EB-5 investment and 2) How the funds will be spent to create the ten jobs required to give the investor and their family members the immigration benefits, which will be provided by EB5 United. Approximately 10-days after submitting you will receive an I-797C receipt notice from the USCIS stating that they received your case (this timeline can vary). The receipt notice will include the date they received your case and that will be your official priority date.

At this point of time if you are in the United States on a Non-Immigrant visa your attorney may also advise you to file for Adjustment of Status, which will allow you to receive some of your immigration benefits before the approval of your petition.

Stage 3: Wait for I-526 approval (new EB-5 legislation passed 3/15/2022 requires USCIS to adjudicate in 60-240 days) / Wait for EAD and Travel permit (3 months – 1 year)

Step 9: Wait for USCIS to approve your I-526 petition
This process varies in time and cannot be controlled. This wait time can be dependent on the project you subscribe to, and the order of approval is not always completed in the exact order of when each person filed their I-526 petition. If you are outside the US you are not given any legal immigration status during this time.

During this time EB5 United will send you access to your respective project portal where you will be able to monitor the progress of your investment, receive important tax documents, and enter the bank information for receiving your interest payments.

Step 10: Wait for Employment Authorization Document and Travel permit (For applicants in the US on a nonimmigrant work or student visa only)
This step only applies to EB-5 petitioners who are in the United States on a nonimmigrant visa such as an F-1 or H-1B visa. While your I-526 petition is pending you may apply for Adjustment of Status (depending on visa availability for your country) and wait for your EAD and AP cards to arrive. Please make sure to consult with your immigration attorney to understand the benefits it provides and what you should do while your I-526 petition remains pending.

Stage 4: I-526 approved, Priority date current, Apply for conditional Green Card (6 to 14 months)

SStep 11: Consular Processing / Change of Status
If you are outside the US you will go through a visa interview process with the Visa Consular (includes document review, medical examination, and personal interview). This will take approximately 6 months to set up depending on your local consulate. After the interview you will receive an immigrant visa that will be stamped into your passport, you are then able to move to the United States. After you arrive in the US your Green Card will then be issued to you. If you reside in the US and file for Adjustment of Status you will receive your Green Card in the mail upon approval.

Stage 5: Start Conditional Residency (1 year 9 months)

Step 12: Begin 2-year Conditional Residency
Once you receive your Green Card in the mail it is effectively the same as any normal permanent resident card. The conditions that must be met at the end of the two years to make the Green Card permanent are: your 10 jobs must be created using your investment and your money must be “at-risk” throughout the 2-year “Conditional Residency”. At EB5 United we always structure our investments with a large job creation buffer so more than enough jobs are created for our investors. USCIS deems you eligible to receive your money back at the end of your Conditional Residency, so your money no longer needs to be kept “at-risk” once your conditional Green Card expires. Receiving the return of your investment depends on the project you have selected and its repayment terms.

Stage 6: Apply for Permanent Residency (3 months before expiration of Conditional Green Card)

Step 13: File I-829 for removal of your conditions
During the last 90 days of your 2-year Conditional Residency your attorney will file your I-829 petition. You will remain in the US as a Green Card holder while your I-829 is being processed. Once you have completed your entire 2-year Conditional Residency you have completed the two-year at-risk requirements and are eligible to receive your investment back (prior to I-829 approval).

Step 14: Receive Unconditional Green Card once the I-829 is approvedAt this point your EB-5 journey is complete. Once you have resided permanently in the US for 4 years 9 months (starting from the time you obtained your conditional residence status), you are eligible to file for US citizenship. Speak with your immigration counsel on next the next steps if you so desire.

What are EB-5 Regional Centers?

Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program or “Regional Center Program” in 1993. The Regional Center Program sets aside EB-5 visas for investors who invest in a commercial enterprise structured by approved “Regional Centers” designated by USCIS to help promote economic growth. The creation of the Regional Center Program allowed investors to pool EB-5 money and utilize job creation models. Regional Centers allowed institutions to provide deal access to EB-5 investors, and EB-5 investors were able to make passive investments with developers that have strong track records. Regional Centers / Investment Issuers are responsible for issuing the investment and ensuring that it meets the USCIS requirements.

EB-5 Program FAQs

What is an EB-5 visa?

An EB-5 visa is a US immigrant visa (meaning US permanent residency). Another name for a permanent residency visa is a “Green Card”. Green Cards are issued primarily through a lottery, Family-Based relationships, or an Employment-Based sponsorship. EB-5 stands for Employment-Based 5th Category Visa and is an immigration by investment program which leads to US job creation or “Employment”.

Who applies for an EB-5 visa, or who is the primary EB-5 visa applicant?

An EB-5 petitioner is an individual investor. Investors’ spouses and unwed children under 21 can also obtain a Green Card through the same investment. Minors are allowed to apply.

Why do EB-5?

Immigrant investor programs are programs designed to attract foreign capital and businesspeople by providing the right to residence and citizenship in return. The United States remains one of the most attractive countries to immigrate to and the EB-5 Regional Center program is highly favored amongst foreign nationals looking to move to the United States.

If you’re on a H-1B/F-1/L-1A or any other non-immigrant type visa, obtaining a Green Card via the EB-5 program is the best way to secure you and your family’s future in the United States. Even though you may have an EB-2/3 petition pending, the current wait times are long and can often result in you not being able to obtain a Green Card. Obtaining a Green Card also removes the threat of constant non-immigrant visa renewals every three years and greatly lowers the risk of having to leave the country if there is a change with your visa program, job, or personal life in any way. Using EB-5 to speed up the Green Card process is especially important for individuals on H-1B status who must continuously extend their status and contend with limited career flexibility.

What are the Basic Requirements for an EB-5 visa?

Each investor must invest $800,000 (if investing in a Targeted Employment Area “TEA”) or $1.05 million in a non-TEA project and create 10 US jobs. The initial EB-5 Green Card is conditional and temporary. At the end of a 2-year conditional residency period, the investor must show that the investment was maintained and at least 10 jobs were created for the Green Card to become permanent.

What are the Capital Requirements for an EB-5 Investment?

Proper documentation of source of funds is critical, and funds required for the investment may include, but are not limited to:

  • Accumulation of salary
  • Earnings from business ownership
  • Proceeds from sale/mortgage of real estate property
  • Gift
  • Inheritance

You can utilize loans and it is best practice loans be secured by an asset. Funds can be sourced from anywhere in the world if they legally belong to the investor.

What is the EB-5 Regional Center Program?

The EB-5 Regional Center program was created in 1993 to allow multiple investors to pool their capital for enhanced economic impact within a defined geographic area. This also allowed EB-5 investors to make a passive investment with Regional Centers and issuers who had knowledge and expertise in EB-5.

Can EB-5 investors receive their capital back?

The goal of a typical EB-5 investor is to obtain a Green Card and receive their investment principal back. Well-structured EB-5 offerings have a structured exit strategy in which the EB-5 investors are repaid in-full plus interest. The capital must remain invested or “at-risk” until the investor has completed their Conditional Residency, if they fail to do so their Green Card will not become permanent. Even though EB-5 investments need to be “at-risk” that does not mean that the investment needs to be inherently “risky”.

What are the types of EB-5 Projects?

EB-5 projects assume many different business models and operate within many different industries. Types of EB-5 projects include:

  • Mixed-use retail
  • Hotels
  • Sports stadiums
  • Restaurants
  • Agricultural developments, including wineries and farms
  • Electric vehicle manufacturing
  • Manufacturing
  • Biotech and medical technologies
  • Casinos
  • Entertainment venues
  • Convention centers
  • Office buildings

What does a typical EB-5 Project Model look like?

Most EB-5 investments tend to include real estate development as job creation as it is easiest to create jobs with construction.

New Commercial Enterprise: The New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) is the entity created into which the EB-5 investors invest. The NCE Manager is the issuer of the security and manages the New Commercial Enterprise into which the investors invest. The invested capital is then deployed as a loan or as equity to the Job Creating Entity.

Job Creating Entity (JCE): This is the project entity where the jobs will be created. In a typical EB-5 project each EB-5 investor buys one share of the NCE. From there the investors’ money is pooled together and either loaned or invested in the form of equity into the EB-5 project. The remaining amount required to complete the project may come from a developer, bank loan, grant, investment fund, or any other source of capital.

A “Loan” model project is a project in which the NCE makes a loan to the project. Each project will have a coupon rate and loan term/maturity date. The coupon rate is paid throughout the loan term beginning on the loan start date. A typical EB-5 project will have a loan term of 5 to 7 years.

An “Equity” model project is a project in which the NCE makes a Preferred, Pari Passu, or any other form of Equity investment into the project. Equity projects generally have more risk but can potentially earn the investor a higher return if the business is successful. In a pure equity investment, there is no maturity date to payback the investor, but rather the investor shares in the project’s cash flows, and the return of capital is dependent upon the sale or refinance of the project.

How does the EB-5 Repayment Process work?

How is a typical EB-5 Project Capital Stack structured?

Senior Lender: The Senior Lender is first in line to be paid back, they hold the first position or right to foreclose on the property if there is a default on the loan agreement. This means in the event of a project failure; the first position lender can take over ownership of the development property and liquidate to recover its money. This is often a bank but sometimes is the EB-5 fund.

Secondary or Mezzanine Lender: The Secondary or Mezzanine Lender holds second position and therefore is second in line to be paid back, the Senior Lender will be paid back in full prior to the second lender recovering any money. Most EB-5 project loans are secured in second position, so it is important to know the size of the senior loan.

Preferred Equity Position: Preferred Equity investors will receive profits from the project until their preferred return is paid. This also means that return is dependent on the project returning a profit unlike a loan where interest is earned when funds are lent to the developer. You also are relying on the NCE liquidating through a sale or refinance to recover your investment, and there may not an investment maturity date. There are many ways to structure Preferred Equity offerings, please review the offering documents for each individual project to obtain the true structure of the investment.

Pari Passu Equity Position: Pari Passu Equity is a profit sharing split between the NCE Manager and/or developer and the investor. This can be the riskiest portion of the capital stack as you are relying on profits to pay the return. Under this structure you are generally relying on a sale of your share of the NCE to recover your investment.
Where your money is in the capital stack will decide the risk and return profile of your investment. Other primary aspects to consider are the current value of the asset during construction, how far along construction is, and the likelihood of construction completion.

What is EB-5 Job Creation requirement?

An EB-5 investor must invest the required amount of capital in a new commercial enterprise that will create full-time positions for at least 10 qualifying employees.

  • For a new commercial enterprise located within a Regional Center, the new commercial enterprise can directly or indirectly create the full-time positions.
  • Direct jobs establish an employer-employee relationship between the new commercial enterprise and the persons it employs.
  • Indirect jobs are held outside of the new commercial enterprise but are created because of the new commercial enterprise.

How are Job Creation methodologies used to show Job Creation in the Regional Center Program?

Rather than count 10 hired employees, the USCIS allows Regional Centers to use multiple economic impact formulas to connect money spent on a project with the number of jobs created. This means if the money is spent on the project as specified the jobs are created and are permanent.

What is a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)?

A TEA can be, at the time of investment, either:

  • A rural area; or
  • An area that has high unemployment (defined as at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate).

A rural area is any area other than an area within a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or less??? according to the most recent decennial census of the United States.

A high-unemployment area may be any of the following areas

  • An MSA;
  • A specific county in an MSA;
  • A county in which a city or town with a population of 20,000 or more is located; or
  • A city or town with a population of 20,000 or more outside of an MSA.

A high-unemployment area may also consist of the census tract or contiguous census tracts in which the new commercial enterprise is principally doing business. This may include any or all directly adjacent census tracts, if the weighted average unemployment for the specified area based on the labor force employment measure for each tract is 150% of the national unemployment average.

Source: USCIS

What is EB5 United’s role in the EB-5 Process?

EB5 United works with well capitalized developers to structure high-quality EB-5 investment products for foreign investors. EB5 United’s goal is to ensure its qualifying EB-5 investment products provide more than enough of the requisite jobs for all investors. The use of investor protections and industry best-practices provide EB5 United investors with peace-of-mind. EB5 United’s principals have helped over 1000+ investors obtain more than 2,000 Green Cards for family members with a 100% I-526 and I-829 approval rate.

GENERAL PARTNER – FIDUCIARY TO EB-5 INVESTORS

Our deep understanding that your investment represents your family’s future guides EB5 United.

EB5 United has evolved into a global financial services firm providing both EB-5 and Private Equity investment opportunities. Acting as a fiduciary, we utilize our due diligence processes earned through various market cycles to navigate appropriate deal structures and provide global mobility for our clientele and their capital.

EB5 United has helped over 1000+ investors obtain more than 2,000 green cards for family members. We work with industry leading networks and attorneys to ensure your case receives the best treatment possible from a Source of Funds perspective.

EB-5 Funds raised by Principals since 2011

Conditional Green card approvals for our Investors and family members

I-526 Petition Approvals

I-829 Petition Approvals

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