This page will discuss the EB-5 Immigrant Visa: one of five types of visas belonging to the Employment Based Visas category. The Employment Fifth Preference Immigrant Investment Visa (EB-5) is yet another way for “immigrant entrepreneurs” (the visa is alternatively referred to by this name) to enter the US for the purpose of investing in American businesses.
Eligibility for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program involves meeting both the minimum capital investment requirement and the job-creation requirements. You can choose between two EB-5 Visa investment options to meet the minimum investment requirement. In the first, an applicant invests at least $1,050,000 in a valid American business venture. In the second, an applicant invests $800,000 in a rural area or a non-rural area with a high-unemployment rate (i.e. a targeted area).
To meet the job-creation requirements, whichever investment option you select must result in full-time employment for a minimum of 10 Americans (excluding the visa holder). Jobs may go to non-citizens provided the recipients have permanent status in the country and have permission to be employed there). Please note that dependent family members of EB-5 Visa holders do not count toward satisfying this requirement.
Additional EB-5 Visa requirements include the submission of all required documents and the timely and complete payment of the basic EB-5 Visa fee and other filing fees.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa is valid for permanent residency in the United States. The EB-5 to Green Card process reflects the permanent immigration status bestowed upon a recipient. All successful US visa applicants must abide by the validity period granted on their visa.
Foreigners can come to the US on an EB-5 Investor Visa for the purpose of investing money (and thereby achieving US entry and ultimately permanent residency) by selecting one of the following EB-5 subtypes:
The Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Application, this can be completed online, via the Consular Electronic Application Center (CEAC).
The Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur/Standalone Investor form, which should be sent (via mail) to the USCIS (U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services).
A document that is issued by the government, which is also a legitimate travel document and valid a minimum of six months beyond your date of US entry
Complete payment (and payment confirmation) of all relevant visa fees
Two color images, which are also passport sized and taken of you recently. Will likely need to be submitted at the visa interview appointment, rather than uploaded electronically.
Once you have decided which of the EB-5 Visa investment options to pursue, you may follow these steps to apply for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program:
Submit this form electronically via the USCIS online system
(Skip this step if you have obtained legal counsel by this stage) Submit this form online through the NVC
Payments will include the processing fee $345 and Immigrant Petition form fee ($3,675)
This includes the EB-5 Visa Application form (DS-260) passport, other civil documents, etc.)
After they have confirmed receipt of all the components of your EB-5 Visa application (forms, required documents, etc.) NVC will forward the application to the US Embassy/Consulate you are applying through, which will give you a date for your visa interview
You are required to sit for a physical in order to proceed with your visa appointment.
In order to pass a medical exam, an applicant must be vaccinated against certain diseases. If you are lacking certain inoculations, you must be vaccinated—and receive proof of being vaccinated—at this appointment
The exam in question must be performed by a licensed physician designed by the specific US Mission you are applying through
At the interview, you will do the following:
- Answer questions related to your trip
- Have your biometric information collected (fingerprints etc.)
- Submit any additional requested documents
If all goes well, you will be presented with a visa
Typically $220, you should remit this USCIS payment prior to attempting to enter the United States
Assuming everything is in order, you will be allowed to enter the country when you show your visa at the border
Once you have paid your USCIS fee and gained lawful entry to the country, you will be sent a Green Card (also known as Form I-551 or a Permanent Resident Card) in the mail
The above steps apply to foreigners applying from abroad. Please note that aspects of the general EB-5 application process will be different for those applying from within the country.
All EB-5 applicants will attend a visa interview at their US Embassy/Consulate in their country of residence. At the interview, they will be asked basic questions about their purpose for coming to the US, with the ultimate goal of determining that they won’t break their original visa terms and conditions or pose a safety risk to the country. Additionally, they will be asked how they will financially support themselves. Be prepared to address questions related to these general topics, as well as answer detailed questions about your biography and identity.
All applicants must pay the EB-5 Visa fee ($345) which is the price of submitting the DS-260 form. In addition, applicants pay a fee for filing their required I-526 Immigrant Petition form ($3,675); acceptable payment options include check and money order. You will likely be eligible for additional fees related to filing other required forms. Different fees may be paid at different stages of the application process. You may be required to pay various fees at your application destination (US Embassy/Consulate); more likely you will use the online USCIS system.
If you are applying from outside the country, you will apply for your EB-5 at your local US Embassy or Consulate. Much of the application process takes place online, and will involve you submitting electronic forms to the National Visa Center (NVC) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The EB-5 Visa processing time depends on your priority date (i.e. when you filed a petition to apply) and how many immigrant investor visa applications have been filed ahead of yours. There are limits on the number of investor visas which can be granted in a year. Depending on this and other factors (including where you are applying from) it can take months or even years to receive a visa. Because of this, applicants are advised to begin their application as soon as possible.
Family Members of EB-5 Visa holders (i.e. husbands and wives and children under 21 not yet married) of those who are already approved for the EB-5) may accompany the visa holder to the US on their own immigrant visas.
The potentially large financial return on your EB-5 investment is a main benefit of the visa. You are entitled to any gains made on your original EB-5 Visa investment. In addition, you are granted legal permission to relocate and reside permanently in the country.
In addition to making a significant financial return on your EB-5 investment, another of the benefits of the EB-5 Visa is that recipients will ultimately receive a Green Card. EB-5 Visa holders who pay their USCIS visa fee and are allowed into the US will receive their Green Card in the mail.
Because EB-5 Visa holders who gain US entry ultimately obtain a Green Card (pending their successful conclusion of a conditional permanent residency period of two years), it is not necessary for them to renew their visa.
Immigrant visas can take years to be processed. Contact your application destination for more information on processing times.