The EB-5 program is a visa program designed to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investments by foreign nationals. The program allows a qualified foreign investor (and certain family members) to apply for permanent residence in the United States by making a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. that leads to the creation of 10 permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers.


The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is a government program administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Under this program, a foreign, high net worth individual may receive a green card for himself, his spouse, and his unmarried children under the age of 21. To qualify, he is required to make an at-risk investment into a commercial U.S. enterprise that creates 10 jobs for American workers.


The program is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. EB-5 visa processing times may be faster than certain other types of visa programs, depending on the visa type. You should speak with your immigration attorney to determine whether an EB-5 investment makes sense for you.


An EB-5 investment meeting the requirements of the program allows an investor to apply for a green card for himself and qualified family members. If an investor receives a green card, he is able to live and work in the U.S. and may be entitled to other benefits, depending on the applicable local laws, such as “in-state” tuition.

Fastest option for getting U.S. permanent residence status.

Freedom to study, work and live in the United States without additional immigration requirements for you and derivative applicants.

May reduce tuition for your children’s university education.

No outside Sponsorship needed.

Potential for U.S. citizenship 5 years after initial entry into the U.S.


There are several major steps in the EB–5 process. First, you must determine initial eligibility and select an American business project. After you have made your qualifying investment, you may submit a Form I-526 showing that the qualifying investment was made and if approved, you may next apply to become a conditional permanent resident of the U.S. (i.e., a “green card”), which is valid for a two-year period. Within 90 days of the end of that two-year period, you may apply to remove the conditions on your residency status and become a “Conditional Lawful Permanent Resident” under immigration laws by filing a Form I-829 Petition.

You should consult with an immigration attorney to be sure that you understand all of the basic steps of the EB-5 process before deciding to make an investment.

  • Determine Eligibility.
  • Select Project.
  • Hire a U.S.
    immigration attorney.
  • Work with attorney
    to prepare the documents necessary to demonstrate your source of funds.
  • Immigration attorney will file I-526 application to USCIS.
  • Approval or denial of I-526 application.
  • Upon approval, you will be eligible to obtain your two-year conditional green card. Your immigration attorney will file the necessary paperwork.
  • Conditional Green Card Issued.
  • Your immigration attorney will file an I-829 petition to USCIS to remove your conditions.
  • Your permanent Green Card will be issued if you have met all the requirements.

EB–5 requirements may vary by situation. However, there are a few basic standards that are part of the EB-5 process that you should consider:

  • Foreign nationals can get a green card if:

    • They invest $500,000 and
    •  The investment creates full-time jobs for 10 U.S workers
  • EB-5 investor must be able to provide evidence that his EB-5 Investment is lawfully sourced.
  • The EB-5 Investment must be “at-risk” similar to a stock or bond investment, for the full investment horizon.
  • 95% of all investors invest in an entity sponsored by a Regional Center

    •   A Regional Center is a company designated by USCIS to sponsor EB-5 Investments
    •   It can create an advantage in the creation of indirect job, in addition to direct jobs

Want to learn more about the EB–5 visa process? You will find helpful information about EB-5 eligibility requirements, investment minimums, targeted employment areas, EB–5 Regional Centers, the I-526, conditional visas and many other topics.

A: Any non-U.S. person who can demonstrate that their investment was legally earned through source of funds documentation and who passes the general requirements set by USCIS, including criminal, medical and demonstrating that (s)he will not become a public charge, may apply.

A: Investments in “targeted employment areas,” including approved Regional Centers, are $500,000. Investments not in “targeted employment areas” are $1,000,000.

A: A targeted employment area is a geographical area that has experienced unemployment at a rate of at least 150% of the average national rate. The department of Economic Development and Department of Labor in each state designates these areas based on average labor force data.

A: An EB-5 Regional Center is an organization, certified by USCIS to raise capital under the EB-5 Program.

A: Your attorney will file the I-526 petition along with documentation that demonstrates that the source of your funds was lawfully gained. Once the I-526 petition is approved by USCIS, you will receive a conditional green card valid for 2 years. After that, your attorney will file an I-829 petition to remove the conditions and receive your permanent green card.

A: Lightstone will return the capital contribution subject to the I-526 denial guarantee.

A: Yes, you may live anywhere in the U.S., regardless of what state you made the investment in, once you receive your conditional green card.

A: The investor must demonstrate that the investment remained at-risk and that the required 10 jobs have been created by the investment.

Determine if the EB-5 visa is the right path for you through a detailed comparison of benefits and requirements. In our chart, we compare the EB-5 to the H1B visa and the E2 visa program.

Particulars H1B EB-5 E2
Length of Visa Up to three (3) years with
possible extension up to six (6)
Green Card Temporary Visa up to 5 years
with renewals
Amount of Investment NA Capital Contribution of
$500,000 or $1,000,000
Depends on type of
Business but can be as upwards of
Level of Involvement of
Must maintain employment
with sponsoring company
Passive if the investment is
made through a
Regional Center
Active – no passive investment
Restriction on Visa The applicant can only work
for the sponsoring company
The applicant benefits from all
the rights as a green card
holder once the I-526 is
approved and they receive the
conditional green card
The applicant can only work for
the company that they
purchased or created
Family The spouse and minor children
under 21 may apply for an H-4
visa during which they can live
and study in the US but not work
The spouse and minor children
under 21 receive the
conditional green card and the
permanent green card during
which they can live, study,
and work in the US
The spouse and minor children
under 21 receive an E2 visa, the
spouse may apply for work
authorization and the children
can study, but not work
Sponsorship Required Yes, by employer No No
Path to Citizenship No Yes No
Education International or Out-of State
Tuition Rates
In-State Tuition Rates Out-of-State Tuition rate for the
first year, possible In-State
Tuition afterward

*The E2 is a temporary visa based on a reciprocal commercial treaty between the United States and the individual’s country of nationality – if your country does not have this treaty with the United States, you are ineligible to apply for the E2.
*The H-1B visa program is under review by the federal government.


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