The following are questions frequently asked about the "EB-5 Visa"
residency program. If you don't find your answers, please contact
us at your convenience.
Q: What is the minimum investment required to obtain the
A: The minimum dollar amount is USD $500,000 if the investment goes
towards a business located in a so-called "Targeted Employment Area"
(TEA), which is an area of high unemployment. If the location of
the business is not a TEA, then the minimum investment is USD $1,000,000.
Q: How many jobs must the investment generate or preserve?
A: The investment must create or preserve at least 10 jobs for U.S.
workers excluding the investor and their immediate family.
Q: What types of businesses can I invest in?
A: As long as the minimum number of jobs are created you may invest
in 1) a new commercial enterprise you start up, or 2) an existing
troubled business that is entirely restructured, or 3) a so-called
Q: What is a "Regional Center"?
A: A "Regional Center" is a U.S. government-approved public or private
investment vehicle that assumes the responsibility of creating the
requisite jobs. Regional Centers may charge an administration fee
for managing the investor's investment. The benefit of such centers
is that they free investors from day-to-day management responsibilities
they would have to assume were they to launch their own business.
Investors should conduct their own due diligence by retaining a
certified public accountant and a business attorney to examine all
aspects of the investment vehicle before investing.
Q: What is the visa application filing process and how long
does it take to get the visa?
A: The EB-5 visa application process consists of three steps: filing
Form I-526 (Petition by Alien Entrepreneur), filing Form I-485 (Application
to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), and filing Form
I-829 (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions). All petitions
are filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
department of the United States government.
The first step in the application procedure is to file Form I-526
(Petition by Alien Entrepreneur). This petition is to certify the
applicant and the proposed investment as eligible for the EB-5 visa
program. The current processing time is between four to six months.
After the I-526 is approved, you may apply for temporary residency
by filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence
or Adjust Status), for which the current processing time is between
six to 12 months. If approved, the investor and his/her family members
(unmarried children under the age of 21) are granted "conditional
permanent resident" status which is good for two years.
After the I-485 is approved and within 90 days before its expiration
date the investor may file "Form I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur
to Remove Conditions”. At this stage the USCIS will verify that
the investor maintained the investment for the required two-year
period and all required jobs were created. If approved, the investor
receives permanent residency status (the "Green Card). As a permanent
resident (conditional or unconditional) you can live, study, or
work in the United States, and travel freely to and from the country.
After five years as a permanent resident (two years as a conditional
permanent resident plus three years as a full permanent resident)
the investor may apply for U.S. citizenship.
Q: Will the visa also include my family?
A: Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 can be added
to the I-526 petition.
Q: How do I prove the origin of my investment funds?
A: When filing the I-526 you must prove that your investment funds
come from lawful sources, such as personal income or the sale of
your assets. Valid proof includes five years of personal and business
tax returns, five years of bank account statements, or proof of
business ownership, business licenses and business financial statements.
If you obtained your funds from the sale of your company, the sale
of investments, the sale of other real estate, an inheritance, or
a gift, you must provide official documents, such as contracts,
closing statements, and similar.
Q: Is there a risk that I lose my investment?
A: Yes, the U.S. government requires the investment to be "at risk"
to qualify for the EB-5 visa program. This includes starting a new
business or investing in a Regional Center as these centers are
not permitted to guarantee the return of the investment funds.
Q: What kind of return on investment (ROI) can I expect?
A: Your return depends on many factors, including whether you invest
in an existing business, or a Regional Center. In general, your
return may be higher if you invest in a high-risk business, and
it will be lower if you invest in a lower-risk enterprise. The visa
application is not dependent on the return your investment generates.
Q: Once my I-485 application is approved, do I need to move
to the United States or live in the U.S. for a minimum number of
days during the year?
A: Yes. Within 180 days of receiving the visa the investor must
enter the U.S. and establish residency. Evidence of residency includes
opening a bank accounts, obtaining a driver's license or social
security number, paying state and federal income taxes, as well
as renting or buying a home. In general, all permanent residents
must live in the U.S. at least six months each year in order not
to lose their "Green Card".
Q: Can you help me find a real estate agent in the Unites
A: Yes. We are associated with several licensed real estate agencies
in the U.S. and would be happy to help you find your ideal commercial
as well as residential property free of charge.
Please use our contact form for a
Q: Can you help me find a Regional Center in which to invest?
A: Yes. If needed, our associated Immigration Attorneys will be
able to introduce you to professional financial advisors who, for
a fee to be determined by them, may help you identify a Regional
Center that best meets your requirements. If you prefer to do your
own research, here is the official list of all currently approved
Immigrant Investor Regional Centers
Q: What is the difference between the EB-5 immigration by
investment program and the Canadian or European Union programs offered
by Bulgaria, Malta, Cyprus, Portugal, and Spain?
A: The United States EB-5 Program leads to permanent residency
status and citizenship in the United States for a minimum investment
of US-Dollar 500,000 in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. that
generates at least 10 jobs for Americans. After five years as a
permanent resident the investor may apply for U.S. citizenship.
Canada offers several residency by investment options, leading to
citizenship if desired, starting at CAD 200,000.
Citizenship by Investment Program of Bulgaria provides the applicant
with several investment options starting at EUR 185,000 for European
citizenship and passport after five years in residency status. The
"fast track option" starts at EUR 270,000 and shortens this period
to only 18 months, which makes this program one of the fastest programs
Individual Investor Program of Malta provides the applicant
with European citizenship in return for a non-refundable donation
to the Maltese government in the amount of EUR 650,000 plus a EUR
150,000 investment in approved securities and an investment in real
estate. The IIP application process can take between six months
and two years to complete.
by Investment Program of Cyprus provides the applicant with
several investment options starting at EUR 2,0 million for immediate
European citizenship and passport. The entire process can be as
fast as three months or less if choosing the real estate investment
Golden Residence Permit program requires an investment of EUR
350,000 in real estate, or the transfer of 1 Million Euro, or the
creation of 10 new jobs in Portugal. After six years of Portuguese
residency, citizenship can be applied for.
Spanish Golden Visa requires a EUR 500,000 minimum investment
in real estate, or a 1 Million Euro asset transfer, or a 2 Million
Euro securities investment, or the creation of a new government-approved
business project in return for Spanish residency. After 10 years
of residency the applicant may file for citizenship.
Popular citizenship by investment programs further include those
offered by the Caribbean nations of
Antigua & Barbuda and St. Kitts & Nevis, offering citizenship
programs requiring a cash contribution of at least US-Dollar 200,000.