Our Guide to EB-5 Visa Investments In 2023

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is one of the fastest and most reliable ways for foreign nationals, as well as their eligible family members, to receive U.S. green cards and permanent residency status.

By making a single qualifying passive investment, an entire immediate family can live, work, and study anywhere in the United States without restriction. They can move states, change jobs, or attend schools, without a visa sponsor.

Children of investors will be able to attend U.S. universities and public schools. It is well known that the U.S. has among the best educational institutions in the world.

In addition, family members who receive green cards through EB-5 investment can even become U.S. citizens after just five years.

The EB-5 visa process is complicated but can be simplified with the help of an EB-5 professional like EB5AN.

In this article, we will break down the various steps of the EB-5 visa investment program, as well as provide all the most important updates regarding the EB-5 program for 2023.

Here’s What We Are Going to Cover:

What Is An EB-5 Investment?

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows foreign nationals to receive a U.S. green card in exchange for making a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise (NCE) in the United States.

The investment funds must be used to create or sustain at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. These new jobs must last a minimum of two years.

The EB-5 investment capital must be lawfully sourced. In other words, the EB-5 invested capital should come from personal funds that belong to the investor and are traceable to an income source that is legal.

Some examples of such funds include:

  • The salary from a job.
  • Stock or investment dividends.
  • Gifts from family and friends.

Investors must provide adequate documentation that proves the source of all funds, while also showing that all required taxes have been paid.

Any investment capital must remain “at-risk” for the duration of the required two years.

This means that the investment must be a genuine investment, without a guaranteed return or payout.

The EB-5 investor must also have an active role in the daily management of the NCE or job-creating entity (JCE) that they invested in.

For the majority of EB-5 investors–who invest through the EB-5 Regional Center Program– simply being a board member is often enough to satisfy this requirement.

After making a qualifying EB-5 investment, foreign investors must submit their application for the EB-5 program to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval.

Once their EB-5 Investor Application has been approved, the two-year minimum investment period begins.

During this two year period, the EB-5 investor will be granted conditional permanent residency in the United States.

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What Is An EB-5 Visa?

An EB-5 visa is a U.S. green card issued through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

This green card grants permanent residence in the United States without conditions.

Foreign nationals who make an EB-5 investment, are eligible for U.S. permanent resident status through the EB-5 program. This benefit also extends to their spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21.

Once a foreign investor’s EB-5 investment has been approved by the USCIS, the investor and all of their eligible family members will be granted their two-year conditional permanent resident status in the United States.

At the end of the two-year conditional permanent residency period, the USCIS will require an additional application to prove that:

  • The jobs created, were in fact sustained for a minimum of two years;
  • The investment capital remained “at-risk”;
  • The foreign investor met all other requirements of the EB-5 program.

Once this additional application has been approved, the investor, their spouse, and all unmarried children under the age of 21 will have any “conditions” removed from their green cards, granting them full permanent resident status in the United States.

What Is The EB-5 Minimum Investment Required in 2023?

In 2023, the minimum EB-5 investment in a qualifying NCE is $1,050,000.

For foreign nationals who invest in EB-5 projects located in a targeted employment area (TEA), the minimum investment is reduced to $800,000.

TEAs are geographic areas of the United States as designated by the USCIS, that either have high unemployment–150% above than the national average–or are rural areas. The reduced minimum capital investment is intended to encourage economic development in these areas.

EB5AN has an up-to-date, interactive TEA map, showing whether a potential NCE or EB-5 project qualifies for TEA designation and a lower minimum investment.

Nearly all EB5AN regional center projects are located in rural TEAs.

Additional EB-5 Fees

There are some additional fees that are associated with the EB-5 program. These include administrative fees for immigration attorneys, as well as immigration consultant firms such as EB5AN.

  1. The filing fee for Form I-526 or I-526E: the initial application for the EB-5 program: $3,675.
  2. Form I-485:to adjust immigration status to permanent resident–has a variable filing fee, but is typically $1,140 for adults. The fee for children under the age of 14 applying with at least one parent is $750.
  3. The filing fee for Form I-829: to remove conditions from an investor’s conditional U.S. green card: $3,750.
  4. A biometrics service fee of $85 is also required of each applicant.

Who Is The EB-5 Investment Visa Intended For in 2023?

The ideal EB-5 visa candidate is a foreign national who meets the following criteria:

  • Liquidity of Capital

Investors must have enough capital at hand to pay for the EB-5 investment, as well as any administrative fees, legal fees, and filing fees. These funds will need to be withdrawn from the investor’s accounts for approximately five years.

  • Source of Funds

The investor must be able to prove through certified documentation, that all of the money used for their EB-5 investment was lawfully-sourced, even if such monies were gifted or inherited.

  • Risk Tolerance

An EB-5 investment is a real investment, meaning it involves the very real risk that the financial capital may not be returned.

  • Long Timeline

The EB-5 visa program takes several years to complete, so the ideal investor is someone looking towards their future, rather than seeking an immediate fix.

Investors from mainland China and India should be advised that they may face a significantly longer EB-5 process, due to visa retrogression.

This means that the number of EB-5 applicants far exceeds the number of EB-5 visas available to a given country.

For instance, the median adjudication time for Form I-526/I-526E–the initial EB-5 application–is a whopping 81.5 months for EB-5 applicants from mainland China.

This is nearly 60% longer than any other country in the world, including India, which has a median I-526 processing time of only 47.5 months.

For the most up-to-date median processing times, prospective and current EB-5 investors should refer to the Processing Times page on the official USCIS website.

How Do You Apply For An EB-5 Investment Visa in 2023?

Step 1: Invest in the Right EB-5 Project

Finding the right NCE to invest in often requires the help of an EB-5 professional or migration agent such as EB-5 Affiliate Network (EB5AN).

EB5AN has a nationwide network of USCIS-approved regional centers with projects available in rural TEAs, for a reduced investment of $800,000.

Working with a professional will help protect your EB-5 investment and eliminate immigration risk.

Additionally, an immigration attorney typically files all petitions, forms, and documentation with USCIS.

Step 2: Form I-526 or I-526E

An I-526 or I-526E petition is the application to join the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Depending on the nature of their EB-5 investment, an investor must file one of the following two forms with USCIS:

  • Form I-526: Immigrant Petition by a Standalone Investor – for direct EB-5 investors.
  • Form I-526E: Immigrant Petition by a Regional Center Investor – for regional center investors.

Since the passage of the EB-5 Reform & Integrity Act of 2022, the USCIS now allows Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, to be filed concurrently with Form I-526E for regional center investors.

Step 3: Conditional Permanent Resident Status

Once an investor’s I-526 or I-526E petition is approved, the immigrant investor, their spouse, and any unmarried children under the age of 21 will receive conditional permanent resident status in the United States.

Conditional permanent resident status lasts for two years, with no option to renew.

Step 4: Form I-829

Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, is the final step of the EB-5 program.

In the last 90 days of the two-year conditional permanent residency, an investor files an I-829 petition with USCIS. Once this petition is approved, the investor and all eligible family members will have the conditions removed from their EB-5 green card, granting them full permanent resident status in the United States.

If investors choose, they can even apply for U.S. citizenship after five years of permanent residence.

What Are The Investment Options For An EB-5 Investment Visa in 2023?

There are two options for making an EB-5 investment: direct investment or regional center investment.

Direct investment is for EB-5 investors who prefer to take a more active managerial role in a smaller EB-5 project.

Direct investors cannot pool their money with other EB-5 applicants and can only count direct jobs towards their job creation requirement.

Direct jobs include those employees working for the chosen NCE under a W-2 tax form.

Nearly 94% of all successful EB-5 applicants pool their investment through the EB-5 Regional Center Program, as being a regional center investor offers certain advantages for investors over direct EB-5 investment.

By investing through USCIS-approved regional centers, regional center investors can pool their EB-5 capital into larger, and typically safer, EB-5 projects.

Regional centers also allow investors to count both direct and indirect jobs toward their required 10 full-time jobs.

Indirect jobs refer to those whose employment is sustained by business provided by the NCE, such as vendors, contractors, subcontractors, and more.

Which Investments Are Available To EB-5 Visa Investors?

EB-5 investments need to be made in new businesses that can reasonably guarantee to create at least 10 full-time jobs that last 24 months or more.

Not every new business can make such a guarantee.

The best options for EB-5 projects are typically longer-term construction projects, such as new hotels, neighborhoods, or apartments.

New restaurants, particularly those in tourist areas, can also often work as new commercial enterprises or job-creating entities appropriate for EB-5 investment.

EB5AN sponsors several such EB-5 projects through its nationwide regional center network.

How Long Will The EB-5 Visa Investment Process Take in 2023?

The EB-5 visa investment process is one of the fastest and easiest ways for foreign nationals and their immediate family to all receive U.S. green cards. The process however, still takes several years.

From start to finish, the EB-5 visa investment process often takes four or five years for most investors to complete.

Gathering funds and documentation to make an EB-5 investment can take several months.

50% of I-526 petitions are approved in four years or less, though this number is often much lower for investors from smaller countries.

50% of I-829 petitions are approved in four and a half years, or less.

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Where Can You Apply For An EB-5 Investment Visa?

The first step in applying for an EB-5 visa is to find the right help.

Without proper EB-5 consultation and guidance by proven professionals, an EB-5 investor can easily make a mistake.

The EB-5 investment visa process requires very complex paperwork and extensive documentation.

A single missing document can jeopardize an entire family’s chances of living permanently in the United States.

Furthermore, no two EB-5 applications are alike, meaning that each application is subject to extra scrutiny by the USCIS.

The professionals at EB-5 Affiliate Network have helped more than 2,000 individual foreign investors from more than 60 countries to achieve their dreams of living in the United States.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program offers an entire family the opportunity to permanently live, work and study anywhere in the United States, without a visa sponsor, for a single passive investment.

With more than a decade of experience in the EB-5 program, and a network of USCIS-approved regional centers across more than 20 U.S. states and territories, EB5AN is one of the leading independent sources of EB-5 information and consulting in the country.

Contact EB5AN today at info@EB5AN.com and fill out our investor eligibility questionnaire for help getting started on your family’s EB-5 journey.