EB-5 Original or EB-5 Pilot?

EB-5 Program original version. The original version of the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5” was created by Congress in 1990. Foreign entrepreneurs have to invest $1 million USD in a commercial enterprise in the United States that will result in the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs. The foreign investor, in turn, becomes eligible to apply for permanent residency in the United States. This option is acceptable for foreign businessmen who want to run their business in the US and has numerous advantages. For example, investment capital may be presented in a form of intellectual property rights, know-how, equipment, materials, or real estate. Investment process can be implemented gradually during several years.

The US investor visa is an option for those who want to start their own business from scratch as well as for those who buy an existing US business. One may also purchase a share in an existing business as long as each visa applicant has a share equal to $1 million USD. Thus, two or more foreign entrepreneurs can join their capitals and get permanent residency in the US.

There are exceptions for the amount of capital required for the original EB-5 Program. For example, if a foreign entrepreneur buys a business that sustains losses or buys a share in unprofitable business, he is allowed to invest only $500,000. Also, in case an investment object is located in Targeted Employment Area (where unemployment rate is 150% of national average), foreign businessman is also required to invest only $500,000.

EB-5 Investor Pilot Program. In 1993 Congress created the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, which has become a new concept of getting a green card through investment. It was the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program that became very popular within recent three years, increasing the number of approved EB-5 cases by nearly 100% each year. According to statistical data by State Department, the number of immigrants who have obtained green cards through EB-5 Program (including investors and their family members) rapidly grew from 1,443 in 2008 to 4,218 in 2009.

The main advantages of the EB-5 Pilot Program are that the foreign investor is not required to participate in direct management of his investment, and he does not have to be physically present in the US during the process of filing the application for US permanent residency. Besides, since a managing company will take care of the job creation requirement, the foreign entrepreneur does not have to worry about creating 10 new jobs. Once investment funds are transferred to a Regional Center escrow account, our EB-5 immigration attorney will start working on the investor’s petition.

Please refer to the link below for more information about EB-5 Pilot Program requirements:

EB-5 Program Requirements


amount of investment



investment project

More than 90% of EB-5 investments are made through Regional Centers into investment projects that have been already pre-approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). A Regional Center is defined as any economic entity, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment in certain geographic region. Most Regional Centers are established as Limited Liability Companies.

Terms and conditions for investment through Regional Centers are regulated by legal documentation.


Regional Center administrative fee

from $40,000 to $50,000


requirements to obtain green card

1. Investment capital has to be transferred to Regional Center escrow account.

2. Regional Center is responsible for creating 10 full-time jobs for each EB-5 investment.


participation in management of investment project

Investor is not obligated to be directly involved in management of investment project. He can enter the United States once his immigrant visa is approved.



Despite that one of the EB-5 program requirements is that investment capital must be placed at risk, the money invested are usually frozen on Regional Center escrow account. If application for a green card is denied, the full amount of investment capital will be returned to investor (many Regional Centers also reimburse administrative fee).