What is the first step to obtaining an EB-5 visa?

The EB5 program offers investors access to a variety of benefits, as well as a direct path to U.S. permanent residency and, by extension, U.S. citizenship. However, the EB5 investment process can be quite challenging to efficiently navigate, particularly with the multiple petitions that investors must compile and submit. As such, the first step for any foreign national considering the EB-5 program should be to consult with an immigration attorney. Counsel can help determine if a foreign national is eligible for the EB5 program. Additionally, an immigration attorney can help a prospective applicant decide whether the EB5 program is the best fit for their circumstances.

After retaining immigration counsel, an investor’s next step in the EB5 process is finding the right project to invest in. Investors have two options: either directly invest in a new commercial enterprise (NCE) or invest through a regional center. Each investment model comes with its own advantages and drawbacks, making it crucial for an investor to examine both and determine which method is ideal. For example, most EB5 investments are made through regional centers because it is easier to meet the job creation requirement. However, an investor who wishes to own and operate their own U.S. business may prefer direct investment.

Investors who choose direct investment must ensure their project meets United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) regulations; they are personally responsible for managing the investment and meeting EB5 requirements. Furthermore, EB5 immigration counsel can assist investors with maintaining program compliance. Regardless of the type of EB-5 investment, thorough due diligence is crucial when beginning the EB5 process. This step examines key components of an EB5 project, such as projected job creation, financial cushion, and so on. By evaluating the immigration and financial risk of projects, an EB5 investor can find the best option to use to pursue U.S. permanent residency.