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What is the EB-5 program?

Release Date:

(As published on 10/29/2010 in Epoch Times (in Chinese) as part of an ongoing series addressing general immigration questions posed by readers.)

The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by immigrant investors by creating a new commercial enterprise or investing in a troubled business. There are 10,000 EB-5 immigrant visas available annually. In 1992 and regularly reauthorized since then, 3,000 EB-5 visas are also set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.

There are two distinct EB-5 pathways for an immigrant investor to gain lawful permanent residence for themselves and their immediate family—the Basic Program and the Regional Center Pilot Program. Both programs require that the immigrant make a capital investment of either $500,000 or $1,000,000 (depending on whether the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area [TEA] or not) in a new commercial enterprise located within the United States. TEA is defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.”

The new commercial enterprise must create or preserve 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 (CPR).

I want to invest $500,000.00 in an area, but there is no regional center there. How long does it take for a regional center to be established in the mid-America?

What are the requirements for me and my company to meet to get my permanent status?

The target case processing time is four months for new regional center proposals and for amended regional center proposals for approved regional centers.

A RegionalCenter is defined as any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment. The organizers of a regional center seeking the regional center designation from USCIS must submit a proposal showing:

  • How the regional center plans to focus on a geographical region within the United States, and must explain how the regional center will achieve economic growth within this regional area;
  • That the regional center’s business plan can be relied upon as a viable business model stating market conditions, project costs, and activity timelines;
  • How in verifiable detail (using economic models in some instances) jobs will be created directly or indirectly through capital investments made in accordance with the regional center’s business plan;
  • The amount and source of capital committed to the project and the promotional efforts made and planned for the business project.
When making an investment in a new commercial enterprise affiliated with a USCIS-designated regional center under the Regional Center Pilot Program, an immigrant investor may satisfy the job creation requirements of the program through the creation of either direct or indirect jobs. Notably, an immigrant investing in a new commercial enterprise under the Basic Program may only satisfy the job creation requirements through the creation of direct 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.
How long does it take for me to immigrate to America once I apply for EB-5 immigration visa?

What's the requirement? What document do I need to provide?

I have a 22-year old son and a 17-year old daughter. Can both of them come to the U.S. once my immigration status application is approved? If my 22-year old cannot come with me, how long will it take for him to come to the U.S.?

Acquiring lawful permanent residence (“Green Card”) through the EB-5 category is a three step self-petitioning process. The target case processing time is five months for Forms I-526 and I-829.
  • First, a successful applicant must obtain approval of his or her Petition for an Alien Entrepreneur (Form I-526). 
  • Second, he or she must either file an I-485 application to adjust status to lawful permanent resident, or apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy outside of the United States. The EB-5 applicant (and their derivative family members) is granted conditional permanent residence for a two year period upon the approval of the I-485 application or upon entry into the United States with an EB-5 immigrant visa. 
  • Third, a Form I-829 Petition by an Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions must be filed 90 days prior to the two year anniversary of the granting of the EB-5 applicant’s conditional Green Card. If this petition is approved by USCIS then the EB-5 applicant will be issued a new Green Card without any further conditions attached to it, and will be allowed to permanently live and work in the United States.
The processing time for these filings is of approximately five to six months.

Please note that the Application for RegionalCenter under the Immigrant Investor Program (Form I-924) effective is effective Nov. 23, 2010, and the filing fee is of $6,230.

Where can I find more information about this program?

To learn more about the EB-5 immigrant investor program, please refer to these links:
You may also visit or call 1-800-375-5283.