How the EB-5 Visa Program Works

The EB-5 Investment Program provides foreign investors with a quick path to permanent United States residency. Immigrants must invest in a new or pre-existing qualifying commercial enterprise, and so long as certain criteria are met in the following years, the investor and their immediate family may be granted permanent United States citizenship.

This guide contains the answers to commonly asked questions regarding the EB-5 visa program.


EB-5 is a United States immigrant investor program that offers citizens of other countries the opportunity to seek permanent U.S. residency through an investment that creates jobs in the U.S.   

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How Does the EB-5 Program Work?

The EB-5 visa is the only U.S. investor visa that allows an individual to petition for permanent residence through an investment in a current or new business. To succeed, an immigrant investor must provide enough of an investment to create or preserve a certain number of qualified jobs within the U.S. economy.

There is a limited number of EB-5 visas; only 10,000 applications are accepted each year, (1) and a foreign investor born in any country cannot receive more than 700 of these investment visas.

What is Conditional Permanent Residence?

Once an immigrant’s initial application is approved by U.S. Custom and Immigration Services (USCIS), they can request a conditional permanent residence that’s valid for two years. However, an individual can, by proving certain facts, ask the USCIS to remove the two-year condition. Once that is completed, the individual and their immediate family can stay in the United States as a lawful permanent resident.

How Much Is an EB-5 Visa?

To be eligible for an EB-5 visa, an individual must invest at least $1.8 million in an HEA (high employment area) business or $900,000 in a TEA (targeted employment area) enterprise.

These minimums have been increased from $1 million for HEAs and $500,000 for TEAs, which took effect on Nov. 21, 2019. (2) Investors must additionally pay legal and processing fees on top of this investment, but these fees are negligible in comparison to the total investment cost.

Who is Eligible for an EB-5 Visa?

Investors, their spouses, and their unwed children under the age of 21 may receive EB-5 visas. As an investor, an immigrant must:

  • Make the required investment into a business (which can be as simple as depositing the money into an escrow account before applying).
  • Come up with a plan to preserve or create at least 10 full-time, permanent employment positions within the United States for qualifying citizens.

Immigrant investors must ensure these jobs are maintained for a certain timeframe and fulfill additional criteria in the following years once the application is accepted to gain permanent U.S. citizenship.

How Long Does It Take an Investor to Get an EB-5 Green Card?

The biggest benefit of applying for a EB-5 visa is the speed in which it is processed. The preliminary application is typically approved within 60 days or less, and conditional permanent residence visas are often given within six months of the filing date for expedited applications.

Individuals born in mainland China, mainland Vietnam or India may have to wait longer to receive an EB-5 visa because of high demand on the yearly quota. If an investor’s spouse is also immigrating but was not born in one of these countries, the delay will not apply.

How Can an EB-5 Visa Holder Obtain Unconditional Permanent U.S. Residency?

When an immigrant first receives residency, it is temporary and conditional, only lasting for two years. The USCIS needs time to determine the legitimacy of the investment and ensure that it will create the necessary number of employment positions.

Before the two-year period ends, an immigrant must request that the conditions be removed. If that request is granted, they receive a green card, or legal permanent U.S. residency.

The conditions that must be fulfilled to receive a green card are:

  • The funds used for an investment in a U.S. business must come from a legal, legitimate source.
  • The investor’s entire investment is at risk, which means they could lose everything if the business fails.
  • The commercial investment must create at least 10 full-time employment positions for qualifying U.S. citizens.

The success rate for petitions for lawful permanent residency has risen from 62% in 2005 to over 90% today. These figures include immigrants who have already received conditional permanent residency.

How Does the Application Process Work?

Following is a general overview of the EB-5 visa application process:

  • Find the right investment. Not all investments qualify an immigrant investor for a visa; an EB-5 investment must meet strict criteria.

    There are a few ways to invest capital: establishing a new business, buying an existing company or investing in a regional center project. An investor may qualify for the $1.8 million or $900,000 investment minimum depending on where the project is located.

    Establishing a business means forming a new enterprise, hiring workers, and getting the permits and licenses required by the state, local, and federal government.

    Buying an existing company means purchasing its shares and assuming all liabilities. If the company is a distressed business that would otherwise go through layoffs or bankruptcy, an immigrant may fulfill the job creation requirement by saving the company’s jobs.

Investing in regional center projects requires an investment in a USCIS-approved program, of which there are almost 800. By choosing this strategy, an immigrant investor acts as a passive investor who is not involved in the company’s major decisions or daily operations.

A regional center investor will fulfill the job creation requirement by indirectly creating positions based on how the investment revitalizes the area’s economy. This option is perfect for individuals who want to get into the EB-5 program but lack the experience to manage a business.

High employment areas (HEAs) are different from targeted employment areas (TEAs) in a few ways. A TEA requires a $900,000 investment, has an unemployment rate at or above 150% of the national average or is a rural area classed as a TEA under the USCIS’ EB-5 visa program.

In the past, states could designate targeted employment areas, but now the USCIS has sole authority. This change makes it harder to set up TEAs in urban areas, but the USCIS says the change was necessary to prevent states from designating healthy areas as TEAs to manipulate the EB-5 program.

A HEA, or high employment, area requires a $1.8 million dollar investment. It must be part of a statistical area not included in a TEA, and it must have a jobless rate substantially below the nation’s average.

  • Investing capital. Cash is not the only kind of capital an immigrant can invest in a new or existing business. Other investments include inventory, equipment, cash equivalents and tangible property. Capital is measured in U.S. dollars at fair market value. Many investors put their capital into escrow accounts during the application process, and in some circumstances, promissory notes can be accepted.

A debt guarantee in favor of a current or new business forming an investment project that is supported by immigrant-owned assets may qualify as a capital investment. For such a guarantee to be eligible, the individual must be primarily and personally liable for the debt, and the project’s assets cannot be used to secure any portion of the debt. The immigrant must prove that they are the legal owner of the capital they contribute, and they must document that the capital was acquired through legal means.

  • File an I-526 form. Once the individual has chosen an appropriate investment and contributed capital, it is time to file an I-526 form or an Immigration Petition by Alien Investor. When providing the form to the USCIS, be prepared include proof that the investment will fulfill the job creation requirement, a business plan, and documentation that the capital came from a legal source. The average waiting time for USCIS approval is 22 to 45 months without expedited processing.

  • Provide additional evidence. The USCIS may send an RFE, or request for evidence, after the petition is sent and before it is rejected or approved. In an RFE, the USCIS will request supplemental information, with which they will decide on the petition. Receiving one or more of these requests is no cause for concern; RFEs are normal during the EB-5 visa application process. It is, however, important to respond to RFEs thoroughly and promptly.

  • Applying for conditional permanent legal residence. Once the I-526 form is approved, the immigrant may apply for a conditional permanent US residence for themselves and their immediate family.

    This is a green card that lasts for two years but can be converted to permanent legal resident status after that time has passed. If the individual is in the United States when the I-526 form is approved by the USCIS, they can apply for conditional permanent legal residence by filing an I-485 form, or an Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

    If the investor is out of the country, they must apply for an EB-5 visa at the nearest United States consulate or embassy. The visa will be stamped onto the person’s passport, allowing them to enter the United States.

  • File a request for unconditional permanent residence. Immigrant investors may file an I-829 form, or a Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, 90 days before the end of their two-year green card period. It is important to file as soon as possible because delays beyond the end of conditional resident status may put the form’s approval in jeopardy.

Even if an individual files the first day they are eligible, the USCIS is not likely to finish adjudicating the petition by the time the residency period expires. The individual’s stay in the country will, however, be extended by the length of time required for the USCIS to decide on the petition.

The application package should include the following documents:

  • A completed, signed I-829 form

  • Photocopies of the entire family’s conditional permanent resident cards (front and back)

  • Tax returns and other documents proving the establishment of a new business

  • Proof that the required investment was made.

    This type of proof may come in the form of financial statements. The USCIS will also want to see proof that the business operated throughout the two-year conditional residency period.

    This documentation may be provided in the form of contracts, business licenses, invoices, bank statements, quarterly tax statements and tax returns.

    Immigrants must additionally prove that their investments fulfill the job creation requirement, backing up their claims with tax documents and payroll records.

    Finally, the USCIS will want proof that the company followed the business plan submitted during the EB-5 application process.

If the immigrant or any immediate family member has a criminal history, they must submit arrest, sentencing, probation and parole records, and any other paperwork pertaining to the criminal offense. The USCIS may request other documents as deemed appropriate and necessary.

The filing fee for an I-829 form is negligible compared to the original investment at $3,750, and the immigrant is also required to pay an additional $85 fee for biometrics for themselves and any other relative household member who is 14 to 79 years old. The completed application packet should be sent to the Texas USCIS service center, and immigrants can expect to wait anywhere from 22 to 45 months for an approval or denial.

  • Attend the visa interview and biometrics appointment. Along with the submission of the application package, the immigrant and his or her family members must go to a USCIS biometrics visit where their signatures, photographs and fingerprints will be taken.

    This step can be completed at a USCIS field office, a U.S. embassy or a U.S. consulate, depending on where the immigrant is located. In some cases, immigrant investors must attend in-person interviews after their petitions are processed.

  •  Get the green card. If the petition is approved, the immigrant and their family members will receive 10-year green cards, which are mailed to the address on file. These green cards may be renewed as many times as required. Family members can also renew their green cards indefinitely, even if the immigrant precedes them in death.

Can an EB-5 Visa be Expedited?

The EB-5 visa may be expedited through a regional center such as the EB 5 Fast Tryon International Equestrian Center, which has been approved by the U.S. government for expedited processing. The center would submit a formal request to expedite an I-924, I-526, or I-829 form.

Expedited requests require a significant burden of proof that demonstrates the need to accelerate the process, and they are granted at USCIS discretion. These requests are reviewed on an individual basis, and only a petitioner or their legal representative may make such a request.

A request’s approval will shorten the processing time from a year or more to just a few months, which is crucial to the success of an investor’s business within the Tryon International Equestrian Center.

The EB-5 Investment Visa Program: Its Past, Present and Future

The EB-5 investment visa program was initiated in 1990 to create jobs for U.S. workers and bring more money into the United States economy. It is not a permanent program, meaning there is no guarantee that the EB-5 program will always be a part of the U.S. immigration process, but it has been periodically reauthorized by Congress.

Because of 2019’s reforms, especially the increase in the required investment and other regulatory reforms that made it harder for investors to move into areas with robust economies, immigrant investors’ interest in the EB-5 visa program is declining.

Many immigration experts predict that the number of EB-5 visas will drop while the value of investment projects increases. These trends may negate one another, leading to investment amount stability and a smaller pool of investors. These observers believe that fewer investors will come from China, while more will come from Latin American countries. Though it is nearly impossible to predict the future of American immigration, it’s very unlikely that the EB-5 investment visa program will ever be entirely removed.

Investing Toward Citizenship

The EB-5 Investment Visa Program is the ideal way for an immigrant investor to receive a green card and achieve permanent resident status in just a few years by making an investment in United States businesses and economic clusters.

To learn more about the EB-5 investment program, contact the regional center at EB5 Fast.

*This information is not an offer of securities, or a solicitation of an offer to purchase securities. Offers of securities for this investment will be made solely by Confidential Private Offering Memorandum for this Offering (the “Offering Memorandum”) to qualified individuals.
*Offerings of the securities for this investment are made solely pursuant to the terms of the Offering Memorandum, which includes a detailed description of the terms of the offering, the Project and the risks of investment in the Offering. Investors must review the entire Offering Memorandum before making any investment decision to invest in this Project, and must rely solely upon the terms set forth in the Offering Memorandum with regard to their decision to invest in this Project. Any information provided outside of the Offering Memorandum should not be relied upon in making any investment decision, including the summary information provided for convenience on this website.
*Prior to the sale of any security to any investor currently living in the U.S. or visiting the U.S., the issuer will require such investors in the offering to provide information necessary to verify that such investors qualify as an accredited investor, as required under SEC Rule 506(c).
*Past I-526 petition processing times for this Project do not guarantee that USCIS will adjudicate any specific I-526 petitions for this Project within any specific period of time. Prospective investors must consult with their personal immigration attorney to understand fully the requirements, risks and processing requirements for any investment in an EB-5 project.
*An investment in this Project involves a high degree of risk of loss of the investment, as described in further detail in the Offering Memorandum. Investors should not invest in this Project unless they can bear the potential for the loss of some or all of their investment. There can be no assurance that any investor in this Project will receive approval of their I-526 petition or the return of their investment in this Project. Investors must review the Offering Memorandum to obtain further information regarding the risks of investment.
*A small number of applicants had a rejected I-526 due to administrative error unrelated to the project
* is the property of Odlum Equestrian Manager, LLC