Looking for Path to a Green Card? Try the EB-5 Investor Visa

by Jennifer A. Grady, Esq.

For foreign investors wishing to obtain a visa to live, work, and attend university in the United States with in-state tuition rates, there are two options available through the E-2 and EB-5 investor visa programs.  The E-2 Visa requires less startup capital and is the fastest way to obtain a visa, although it is not a path to Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card).  The EB-5 Visa requires an initial investment of USD $500,000 to $1 million, and comes with Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card), and ultimately, US citizenship.  This article will discuss the EB-5 “million dollar visa” option.  What may be surprising is that an investor can be eligible for this visa with only a $500,000 investment in a rural or targeted employment area.

Eligibility: Foreign nationals who invest (1) USD $1,000,000 in a new or failing US enterprise, or (2) at least USD $500,000 in a “Targeted Employment Area,” which is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate.  The investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within 2 years of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident.

Typical EB-5 investments include hotels and shopping centers

Typical EB-5 investments include hotels and shopping centers

Length of visa: Entrepreneurs and their families will receive a Conditional Green Card (Legal Permanent Residency) for the first 2 years, and must show the required job creation in order to remove the residency conditions.  A Legal Permanent Resident based on entrepreneurship may apply for citizenship after 5 years as a Green Card holder.

Availability: 10,000 annually.

Deadlines: Apply for Permanent Residency within 2 years of investment; this is the fastest path to a Green Card other than marriage to a US citizen.

Filing Fees: $3,835 for (1) Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, (2) Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and (3) Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residency; OR $6,230 to create and renew a Regional Center

Additional Fees: Approximately $70,000+ for a Compliant Business Plan, immigration attorney’s fees, securities attorney’s fees, economic feasibility study, and due diligence.  Marketing fees and additional services are extra.

building jobsRequirements for Job Creation: 

  • Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs (35+ hours per week) 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 (i.e. construction jobs). A foreign investor may only use the indirect job calculation if affiliated with a Regional Center.

Typical types of EB-5 investments: hotels, mixed-use projects, assisted living facilities, casinos, shopping centers.

Regional Centers: As an alternative to direct investment, a “Regional Center” 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.  In more simple terms, a Regional Center is an area designated by the USCIS as eligible to receive immigrant investor capital.  The major advantage for regional center designation is that the regional center can take advantage of indirect job creation.

Think you might qualify for an EB-5 visa?

The Grady Firm attorneys can assist with preparing the immigration application, business advising, and corporate setup for the new business entity.  To schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation with The Grady Firm’s attorneys, call (323) 450-9010, or fill out a Contact Request Form.

Don’t have $500,000 to $1 million to invest?  Learn about the E-2 visa here.  


About gradyfirm

The Grady Firm attorneys specialize in helping businesses grow and succeed through employment, business, immigration, and intellectual property law advising for clients in California. In addition, we help foreign entrepreneurs establish a US presence and obtain the appropriate visas for their owners and employees. WE PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING BUSINESS SOLUTIONS: BUSINESS ADVISING: Business formation, contract drafting, coaching/advising, succession planning, lease review, and contract negotiation. EMPLOYMENT LAW: We teach employers how to become compliant with California employment law, draft Employee Handbooks, and providing sexual harassment training. We also help resolve disputes between employers and employees regarding wage and hour, discrimination, and harassment issues. IMMIGRATION: We help build business work forces and reunite families by preparing visa, Green Card, and citizenship applications based on family relations, employment, and investment. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: trademarks, copyright The Grady Firm has offices in Beverly Hills and San Diego, California; and serves clients remotely from across the globe. Our attorneys are licensed to practice immigration law in all 50 states. Learn more about us at www.gradyfirm.com.

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