USCIS administers the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors

Under a program first enacted as a pilot in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth

On Dec. 27, 2020, President Trump signed a law extending the Regional Center Program through June 30, 2021.

What is EB-5 or an Investor Visa?

  • Every fiscal year (October 1st – September 30th), approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are made available to qualified applicants under the provisions of U.S. immigration law
  • Employment-based immigrant visas are divided into five preference categories
  • The Fifth Category or Employment Fifth Preference (E5) Immigrant Investors is also called Immigrant Entrepreneurs
  • U.S. immigration law makes visas available to immigrant investors seeking to enter the United States to engage in new commercial enterprises that benefit the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment
  • E5 investors receive up to 7.1 percent of all employment-based immigrant visas issued worldwide each year

How Do I Qualify for an Immigrant Investor Visa?

To qualify as an immigrant investor for petitions filed on or after November 21, 2019, a foreign national must invest, without borrowing, the following minimum qualifying capital dollar amounts in a qualifying commercial enterprise:

  • $1,800,000 (U.S.) or
  • $900,000 (U.S.) in a high-unemployment or rural area, considered a targeted employment area

Details About the Type of Acceptable Investment

All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise that was established:

  • After Nov. 29, 1990; or
  • On or before Nov. 29, 1990, that was:
  • Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results
  • Expanded through the investment, resulting in at least a 40% increase in the net worth or number of employees

Commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business, including:

  • A sole proprietorship;
  • Partnership (whether limited or general);
  • Holding company;
  • Joint venture;
  • Corporation;
  • Business trust; or
  • Other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned.

Are There Any Additional Requirements for Qualifying Investments?

  • A qualifying investment must, within two years, create full-time jobs for at least 10 U.S. citizens
  • lawful permanent residents
  • or other immigrants authorized to work in the United States
  • Employment does not include the investor and the investor’s spouse, sons, or daughters
  • For a new commercial enterprise not located within a regional center, the new commercial enterprise must directly create the full-time positions to be counted
  • 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 as a result of the new commercial enterprise
  • In the case of a troubled business, the EB-5 investor may rely on job maintenance
  • The investor must show that the number of existing employees is, or will be, no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years

“Full-Time Employment” In this Context

  • 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 regional center program, full-time employment also means employment of a qualifying employee in a position that has been created indirectly that requires a minimum of 35 working hours per week
  • A job-sharing arrangement where 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 even if, when combined, the positions meet the hourly requirement per week
  • Jobs that are intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient do not qualify as permanent full-time jobs. However, jobs that are expected to last at least two years are generally not considered intermittent, temporary, seasonal, or transient

Different Categories of Immigrant Investor Visa:

  • Employment creation outside a targeted area – C5
  • Employment creation in a targeted rural/high unemployment area – T5
  • Investor Pilot Program not in a targeted area – R5
  • Investor Pilot Program in a targeted area – I5

What Is The First Step In this Process?

  • To be considered for an E5 immigrant investor visa, you should file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • Labor certification is not required for immigrant investors.
  • The Form I-526 petition must be approved by the USCIS before applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the United States

Visa Application

  • After USCIS approves the petition, it is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC)
  •  Once received, NVC will assign a case number for the petition
  • When an applicant’s priority date meets the most recent qualifying date, NVC will instruct the applicant to complete Form DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent. (NOTE: If you already have an attorney, NVC will not instruct you to complete Form DS-261)
  • NVC will begin pre-processing the applicant’s case by providing the applicant with instructions to submit the appropriate fees
  • After the appropriate fees are paid, NVC will request the applicant to submit the necessary immigrant visa documents

Required Documentation

  • Passport(s) valid for six months beyond the intended date of entry into the United States, unless longer validity is specifically requested by the U.S. Embassy/Consulate in your country
  • Form DS-260, Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application.
  • Two (2) 2×2 photographs
  • Civil Documents for the applicant
  •  The consular officer may ask for more information during your visa interview
  • Carry  your original civil documents (or certified copies) such as birth and marriage certificates, as well as legible photocopies of the original civil documents, and any required translations to your immigrant visa interview
  • Original documents and translations can then be returned to you
  • Financial Support – At your immigrant visa interview, you should be able to demonstrate to the consular officer that you will not become a public charge in the United States
  • Completed Medical Examination Forms – These are provided by the panel physician after you have completed your medical examination and vaccinations

Visa Interview Process

  • Once the NVC determines the file is complete with all the required documents, they schedule the applicant’s interview appointment
  •  NVC then sends the file, containing the applicant’s petition and the documents listed above, to the U.S. Embassy or Consulate where the applicant will be interviewed for a visa
  • Each applicant should bring a valid passport to the interview, as well as any other documentation above not already provided to the NVC
  •  A consular officer will interview the applicant, and the consular officer will determine whether the applicant is eligible to receive an immigrant visa in accordance with U.S. immigration law
  • Ink-free, digital fingerprint scans will be taken on the day of the interview
  • Generally, an applicant receives original civil documents and original translations back at the time of the interview

Medical Examination and Vaccination Requirements

  • In preparing for your interview, you will need to schedule and complete your medical examination and any required vaccinations before your visa interview
  • Before an immigrant visa can be issued, every applicant, regardless of age, must undergo a medical examination which must be performed by an authorized panel physician
  • NVC provides applicants instructions regarding medical examinations, including information on authorized panel physicians
  • U.S. immigration law requires immigrant visa applicants to obtain certain vaccinations prior to the issuance of immigrant visas

The complete list of vaccination requirement can be found here

How Long Does it Take to Complete The Process?

  • Employment-based immigrant investor visa cases take additional time because they are in numerically limited visa categories
  • The length of time varies from case to case and cannot be predicted for individual cases with any accuracy
  • Some cases can be delayed because applicants do not follow instructions carefully
  • Some visa applications might require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the consular officer interviews the applicant


Certain conditions and activities may make an applicant ineligible for a visa. A complete list of Ineligibilities can be found here

Securing an Investment Visa is a complex procedure. It is also dependent on a lot of variables, based on your unique situation.

To get a better idea of your situation, you can fill out this contact form and schedule your consultation with one of our attorneys, or

Schedule a Consultation 469-994-9407