Immigration

The Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) Immigrant Investor Program grants non-Americans and their immediate family members (spouse and children under the age of 21) permanent residency in the United States and the path to U.S. citizenship. To apply, an immigrant investor must invest at least $1 million in a commercial enterprise and create a minimum of 10 direct U.S. jobs in the process. If the investment is made in a specially designated “targeted employment area” (TEA) suffering from high unemployment or economic crisis, then the immigrant investor is required to invest only $500,000 and create 10 direct jobs. The immigrant investor and his/her family are then issued a “conditional green card” to immigrate to the United States. After two years, the conditional status is removed upon a showing that the investment created at least 10 full-time permanent jobs for U.S. workers and "unconditional" or permanent green cards are issued.

Regional Centers

To simplify the program for foreign investors and allow for more efficient investment, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has designated certain areas throughout the country as “Regional Centers.” Regional centers are operated by independent investment companies that generally pool individual investments into real estate and business opportunities to diversify their investment risk.

An immigrant who invests in a USCIS designated Regional Center must still invest $500,000 and demonstrate the creation of at least 10 direct or indirect jobs after two years. However, the immigrant is not required to live in the Regional Center, but can choose to reside anywhere in the United States, and moreover, is not required to “run” a business, though will still maintain an active role in determining policy and operations of the investment project(s). Often for a fee, the independent investment companies at the various regional centers maintain the investments, and provide the information needed to demonstrate the creation of at least 10 direct/indirect jobs when the immigrant investor seeks to remove the conditional status on his/her green card.

How We Can Help

Our immigration attorneys are recognized for their expertise in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa area. They have years of experience assisting U.S.-based companies in obtaining Regional Center certification from USCIS to allow them to accept investments from foreign nationals seeking U.S. residency under the investor visa program, while ensuring full compliance with U.S. securities laws and reporting requirements. They regularly represent individual foreign nationals seeking U.S. permanent residency under the program. In addition, our banking and financial services attorneys represent EB-5 qualified entities in structuring, negotiating and closing EB-5 financings and investments secured by real estate, equipment and other assets.

Specific examples of our EB-5 experience include:

  • Successfully prepared and submitted an I-924 application to USCIS for an EB-5 designated regional center in the Philadelphia area. This included approval of a $65 million multi-use commercial and hotel development as an "exemplar" project, allowing individual EB-5 immigrant investors to submit their petitions based on a project that had been pre-approved by the immigration service.
  • Represented a regional center in the NYC area that has raised funds for several EB-5 projects, preparing corporate offering documents for the EB-5 projects and handling annual filings and communications to remain compliant with USCIS.
  • Assisted numerous foreign nationals from countries ranging from China to Venezuela in obtaining U.S. permanent residency based on EB-5 qualifying investments in regional center-sponsored projects throughout the United States.
  • Represented several foreign nationals in obtaining U.S. permanent residency based on their direct investment in businesses that they own and operate, including a hotel in Florida and a restaurant in Delaware.

If you are interested in learning more about this program, contact us (hyperlink) to set up an appointment and come in to discuss.

EB-5 – Investor Visa Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I get a U.S. green card (permanent resident status) through investment in the U.S.?

Yes. Ten thousand immigrant visas per year are available to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis of their engagement in a new commercial enterprise. This visa is commonly referred to as the EB-5 investor visa.

There are two ways to invest in the U.S. under this program:

  • Own and operate your business – This method requires a minimum qualifying investment in the U.S. of $1 million (unless you are in a “targeted employment area”), and that the investment directly creates at least 10 full-time jobs within two years.
  • Invest in a certified “Regional Center” – This method requires a minimum qualifying investment in the U.S. of $500,000, and that the investment directly or indirectly creates ten full-time jobs within two years. With an investment in a regional center, there is no requirement that the immigrant investor open or individually run a business, or reside where the regional center is located.

What is the process to obtain lawful permanent residency through investment?

Obtaining lawful permanent resident (LPR) status is a three-part process:

  • First, an I-526 petition is filed demonstrating that you have the required funds, that the funds were obtained from a lawful source, that the funds have been (or are in the process of being) invested, and that the investment meets USCIS requirements.
  • Once the I-526 is approved, you are eligible to apply for an immigrant visa at your nearest U.S. consulate (if you are outside of the U.S.) or for adjustment of status (if you are already in the U.S.). If approved, you are given conditional lawful permanent residency for two years.
  • Ninety (90) days before the end of two years of being a conditional resident, you must file form I-829 to remove the conditional status by demonstrating that the required jobs have been created by your investment. If your I-829 application is approved, you are granted unconditional LPR status and are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after three additional years.

What if I am already in the U.S. on another visa status?

An individual may file a I-526 petition if they live abroad or are already in the U.S. The I-526 petition process remains the same. If, however, you are already in the U.S. after the I-526 is approved, you may then file an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status to Permanent Resident, as opposed to filing for a visa with your local U.S. consulate. If you are not yet in the U.S., you must file for an immigrant visa with your local U.S. consulate. We can advise you more specifically on the process in a direct consultation.

If I get a green card, do I have to live in the U.S.?

Yes, an applicant for conditional or permanent residence to the U.S. must intend to immigrate to the U.S. and maintain as their primary residence a home in the United States.

Can I travel?

A conditional or permanent resident is entitled to travel freely for less than six months at a time outside of the United States. If such an individual needs to be outside of the U.S. for more than six months, he/she may apply (up to three times) for a travel permit that is good for two years. This travel permit establishes that the resident is not abandoning U.S. residency despite the extended absence. However, time spent outside of U.S. is counted against the 30-month physical presence requirement for citizenship.

Can I bring my family, and do they get permanent residency (a green card) if I invest in the U.S.?

A qualifying immigrant investor is eligible to sponsor his/her immediate family, which includes a spouse and all children under the age of 21 years old. All members of the immediate family are granted conditional permanent residency upon approval of the I-526, and all are eligible to apply to remove the conditions after two years.

Can I sponsor my child who is 21 years old or over?

While a child who is 21 years old, or over, cannot apply for residency under the parent’s immigrant investment application, a parent may gift that child the required investment funds in order for the child to apply individually as an immigrant investor.

What are the fees associated with applying for an investment visa?

There are filing/application fees, legal fees and investment management fees if an immigrant invests in a regional center. The current filing/application fees are:

I-526 Application $3,675
I-485 Adjustment of Status
(if already in the U.S.)
$1,225 (includes biometrics) per individual ($750 or $1,140 for applicants under 14)
Visa Application Fees
(if outside the U.S.)
$345 visa application fee, plus $220 USCIS fee
I-829 Application to Remove
Conditional Status after Two Years
$3,750 for primary applicant only, plus $85 biometric fee for each dependent

Legal fees are based on family size. Please contact us directly for more information.

EB-5 Investor Program