EB-5 program

Introduction to the EB-5 Program

The main goals of the EB-5 program are to attract additional financial resources to develop the US economy and create new jobs. 

There are two main types of investments, which both enable the applicant to obtain a green card: (i) a direct investment into their own business, or (ii) an investment into a licensed project associated with a USCIS-approved Regional Center. Investments are returnable, i.e. the money is eventually returned to the investor, but the percentage of profit is individual in each case. 

Under the EB-5 program (of any type), investors (and their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21) are eligible to apply for a Green Card (permanent residence) if they:

— make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; or 

— plan to create or maintain 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers.

Benefits of Participating in the EB-5 Program

By making a qualified investment, the foreign investor and his/her family members become eligible for the following benefits: 

— Obtaining the status of a permanent resident of the United States (known as a “green card”) for the main investor, his/her spouse and any children under the age of 21;

— Freedom to live, work and retire anywhere in the United States;

— The possibility of obtaining US citizenship after 5 years of being a Green Card holder;

— Freedom to travel anywhere in the US and outside of the US;

— Children can attend college/university at the cost of a US resident.

Under the new rules, when applying for the EB-5 program while in the US, you can:

— immediately have the right to reside in the country;

— apply for a work permit;

— apply for permission to enter and leave the country for the entire period of consideration of documents;

— start working or managing a business or real estate and submit tax returns upon obtaining a work permit, and therefore educate your children in the United States at preferential rates of a resident of the particular state in which you live.

In summary, the EB-5 program provides many benefits, as it is a direct path to a green card with other benefits that follow, an investment opportunity, and an additional source of income (return on investment).

Investments through Regional Center:

Nowadays, more than 90% of EB-5 investments are made through Regional Centers into investment projects that have already been pre-approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). A regional center is defined as any economic entity, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improving a region’s productivity, creating jobs, and increasing domestic investment in a particular geographic area. Most of the regional centers are created in the form of limited liability companies.

There are currently approximately 200 designated Regional Centers in the United States, which can be found on the USCIS website for verification. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to consult a professional economist and/or financial analyst who will advise you on the best investment option with respect to your preferences.


Direct investment or through the Regional Center

The advantage of investing through a regional center is that the immigrant investor can monitor stock market fluctuations and manage the business accordingly. After 5 years of participation in an investment project, the investor has the right to sell his shares and invest in another project, already being a permanent green card holder.

Investing in your own business requires practical management skills, a good business concept and calculations. Since the process of starting and navigating such a venture is a complex task, very few immigration lawyers have the necessary knowledge, skills and experience. However, we have them and guide our clients through all the difficulties involved in preparing funds for direct investment under the EB-5 program.


Examples of a list of Documents to confirm the legal source of funds:

If you receive high wages: 

— Tax returns for the past 5 years; 

— Your resume, letter from your employer; 

— Information about savings accounts or other investments;

If you own a business: 

— Business registration records for all businesses in the US or outside the US; 

— Company tax returns and investor personal tax returns filed in any jurisdiction for each of the last five years;

If you have sold your property: 

— Documents confirming the legal source of funds for the purchase of this property;

If you have received investment capital as a gift: 

— All documents related to the gift, including the registration of the gift with the tax authorities or other documents; 

— Documents confirming that the donor acquired the assets legally;

If you have taken a loan to purchase investment funds: 

— All loan documents, including promissory notes or other documents; 

— The loan should be secured by the investor’s own assets;

If you inherited investment funds: 

— All documents related to the inheritances you have received, including estate settlement of the deceased.

If you have acquired investment capital as a return on another investment: 

— Statements of all investment accounts or securities accounts for the last three years as evidence of dividend payments; (if significant gains on investments or securities transactions occurred prior to the last three years, please include documentation of such transactions), share certificates, etc. 

— Tax returns as proof of payment of all necessary taxes on income received as a result of the return of investments;

If you have acquired investment capital as a result of lawsuit or through the court proceedings: 

– All documents related to the amounts received as a result of a civil claim, including a formal decision or court order; 

– all documents related to legal proceedings in which you took part, whether in civil or criminal cases, and whether as a plaintiff or defendant (including all official court records and court decisions). 

Our office will help you to create an individual list of financial documents that will need to be provided in connection with your specific situation.


Answers to basic questions about the EB-5 program

What are the main eligibility requirements?
In order to be eligible for an EB-5 visa, applicants must either invest in a new business venture or expand an existing business by at least 40% net worth and add 10 full-time jobs from this investment. The investment to date is $1.8 million, or $900,000 if the investor invests through a regional center. The size of the investment can be reduced if the enterprise is created in a region with low employment, or the investment goes into a loss-making enterprise that has been showing losses for several years. In practice, no one invests in such enterprises or in such regions. Therefore, it is worth focusing on the classic amount of investment, depending on the chosen path: direct investment in your business or investment through a regional center. A business entity can be formed as any type of legal entity permitted in the United States. Direct investment in real estate is not considered a qualifying investment. However, the company may own real estate, and the funds used under certain circumstances may be at least partially invested in such real estate. Owning and managing a personal home can never be considered a qualifying investment for an EB-5 green card.
What are the job creation requirements?
The Job Creation Requirement is another strictly enforced rule that requires the applicant to invest the required amount of capital in a new business venture that will create full-time jobs for at least 10 qualified employees. A skilled worker is a US citizen, lawful permanent resident, or other immigrant eligible to work in the US, including a conditional resident, temporary resident, refugee, or person resident in the US under a deportation stay. Work that is intermittent, temporary, seasonal or transitional cannot be considered permanent.
What are the capital investment requirements?
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and debt secured by assets owned by immigrant investors if they are personally and principally responsible and the assets of the new business entity on which the application is based are not used to secure any of the debts. All equity is valued at fair market value in US dollars.
How to prove the legality of investment funds?
The US is very strict about proof of origin. To qualify as capital for an EB-5 visa, assets must not have been acquired through illegal means (such as criminal activity). Our firm specializes in tracking all sources of funds to ensure that an investor's capital was acquired legally.

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