Information copied with permission from the website of

Williams Global Law


In 1990 U.S. Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, known as EB-5 visa, to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. 

Under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a Green Card (permanent residence) if they: 

  • Make the necessary investment in a new commercial enterprise in the United States; and

  • Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

 To obtain the visa, individuals must invest $1,800,000 (or at least $900,000 in a Targeted Employment Area – high unemployment or rural area).

 Of the 10,000 EB-5 visas available, the Congress has reserved 3,000 for EB-5 investors who invest through Regional Center in Targeted Employment Areas.


 A commercial enterprise means any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to: 

  • A sole proprietorship

  • Partnership (whether limited or general)

  • Holding company

  • Joint venture

  • Corporation

  • Business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned

 A new commercial enterprise is a commercial enterprise: 

  • Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or

  • Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:

  • Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or

  • Expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs

 A Regional Center is an organization designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that sponsors capital investment projects for investment by EB-5 investors.  Regional centers help EB-5 investors and project developers because they lessen the difficulty of meeting qualifying job creation requirements under the EB-5 program rules. 

A targeted employment area (“TEA”) is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate. 

A rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census.

Job Creation Requirements

  • Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.

  • Create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs:

    • Direct jobs are actual identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital.

    • Indirect jobs are those jobs shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor. A foreign investor may only use the indirect job calculation if affiliated with a regional center.