EB-5 visa holders invest in American businesses

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2021 | immigration law

The U.S. created a visa program in 1990 to create jobs and encourage foreign capital investment. The EB-5 visa program allows entrepreneurs and their families to apply for residency in this country if they make the required investment in a U.S. business and plan to create or keep 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified American workers. There are important immigration law requirements for this program.

EB-5 visa facts

This is an employment-based visa that is available to non-American investors who want to open a business in this country. Entrepreneurs, and their spouses and children, may apply for residency if they meet the program’s requirements.

Visa applicants must, as of Nov. 21, 2019, invest a minimum $1.8 million in a business based in the U.S. or at least $900,000 into a targeted employment area which are generally high unemployment or rural areas. EB-5 visas are set aside for participants investing in TEAs to promote economic growth.


To qualify for an EB-5, investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise that was established after Nov. 29, 1990.

Investors are also eligible if the commercial enterprise was established on or before Nov. 29, 1990. That enterprise had to be purchased and the existing building structured or reorganized to form a new commercial enterprise. Or the establishment was expanded through investment with at least a 40 percent increase in the net worth or number of employees.

A commercial enterprise is any for non-profit activity that was formed for ongoing performance of an on-going business. These include:

  • A sole proprietorship
  • A limited or general partnership
  • Holding company
  • Joint venture
  • Corporation
  • Business trust
  • Another publicly or privately owned entity

A commercial enterprise may be a holding company and its wholly owned subsidiaries if each subsidiary is engaged in a for-profit activity that was established for the continuing conduct of a legal business. Commercial enterprises do not include noncommercial activities such as owning and operating a personal residence.


The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services oversees the process for applying for an EB-5 visa. There are specific forms that must be completed and submitted as part of this process.

Immigration requirements are stringent and may change. Attorneys can help clients through this process and represent them in USCIS proceedings.