The United States federal government created the EB-5 program (also known as the Employment Creation Immigrant Visa or Immigrant Investor program) in 1990 as a tool to promote foreign funding and economic growth in the U.S. The program helps create jobs for American workers while affording eligible foreigners the opportunity to become permanent U.S. residents. The program is one of the most flexible immigration programs in the world. In October 2012, the EB-5 pilot program was extended for three years, until September 30, 2015. At that time, it may be further extended or potentially expire.


The EB-5 Regional Center Program sets aside 3,000 Green cards each year for foreigners who fund designated regional centers. An additional 3,000 visas are available for those funding regional centers located within a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). In addition, the Regional Center program is one of the most flexible immigrant initiatives in the world. Its attributes include:

  • No English exam
  • No minimum education requirement
  • No specific employment or management experience requirement
  • No quota backlogs (there are multi-year backlogs for many employment and family-based green card categories, but there is no quota backlog for the EB-5 category)
  • No sponsor needed (foreign individuals use their own personal funds and do not require sponsorship from either an employer or a family member)
  • Funding can come from a gift, inheritance, business ownership or any other lawful activity
  • Individuals are not required to manage a business on a daily basis, enabling them to pursue other professional and personal ventures


According to the USCIS, the requirements for applying for an EB-5 visa directly by investing in a New Business Enterprise are:

  1. Invest or be in the process of investing at least $1,000,000. If your investment is in a designated Targeted Employment Area (see FAQS for definition) then the minimum investment requirement is $500,000;
  2. Benefit the U.S. economy by providing goods or services to U.S. markets;
  3. Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers. This includes U.S. citizens, Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents) and other individuals lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. (however it does not include you, the immigrant, or your spouse, sons or daughters); and
  4. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the new business or directly manage it through formulating business policy – for example as a corporate officer or board member.

However, if the application is made through a Regional Center, the requirements are:

  1. Invest at least $1 million (or $500,000 if the regional center is in a Targeted Employment Area) in a regional center that is affiliated with a new commercial enterprise or a troubled business;
  2. Create at least 10 new full-time jobs either directly or indirectly through the capital investment.

For more information about USCIS requirements, please visit www.gcfrc.com