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Your Guide To The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program


As explained by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is a specialized provision that allows foreign nationals and their eligible immediate family members to receive a green card if they make a qualifying job-supporting investment into an American project. Here, our Philadelphia business immigration attorney provides an in-depth guide to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

The EB-5 Program Was Created in 1990, Reformed in 2019 

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created as part of federal legislation passed in 1990. It has been updated several times, with the most recent significant reform coming in 2019. The basic principle of the law is relatively straightforward:

  • The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows foreign nationals to become lawful permanent residents in the United States—meaning they get a green card—if they make a qualifying investment.

That is not to say that navigating the EB-5 application process is easy. To obtain a green card through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, an applicant must make a significant financial investment in the United States that satisfies a number of different strict criteria. 

How to Make a Qualifying Investment Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program 

An investment must meet certain criteria to qualify as sufficient for a green card under the  EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Here are two core criteria that an investor must satisfy if they are applying for an EB-5 visa:

  1. They must invest at least $1.05 million in a qualifying U.S. based commercial project or at least $800,000 if that project is located in a “Targeted Employment Area” and supports a minimum of ten jobs; and
  2. They must make an investment that benefits the American economy. 

What to Know About the 2021/2022 Changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program 

The EB-5 program was recently reformed by federal lawmakers. In March of 2022, the U.S. enacted the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 as part of a large omnibus spending package. Here are some of the key things to know about the changes:

  • The minimum investment amount increased to $800,000 for Targeted Employment Areas—up from the previous $200,000.
  • A certain percentage of EB-5 visas are now reserved for specific types of projects. For example, a minimum of 20 percent of EB-5 visas must be for rural areas.
  • There are now more strict requirements in place for “direct jobs” created by the investment.
  • Pre-reform investors who already applied are grandfathered in. Their case will be handled under the previous regulations.

There are also a number of other different changes. All applicants should work with an immigration attorney who has a full understanding of all of the changes to the program. 

You Must Be Prepared to Demonstrate Proof of Funds 

If you are preparing to file an application for a EB-5 immigrant investor visa, it is crucial that you have the documents and records in place to demonstrate proof of funds. This requires proving not just the existence of funds but also that funds were derived from a lawful source. The EB-5 program is subject to strict anti-money laundering (AML) requirements. The source of funds will be evaluated as part of the application process. 

Clearing Up Common Misconceptions: Three Things that are Not Required for an EB-5 Visa 

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is complicated—especially with the recent changes that have been made to the law. There are many misconceptions about how the system works. Here are three common myths about the EB-5 immigrant investor application process:

  • Myth #1 (Job Offer): You do not have to have a job offer lined up for yourself to get a green card through the EB-5 program.
  • Myth #2 (Management of Project): You do not have to be involved with managing the investment project to qualify for an EB-5 visa.
  • Myth #3 (Networth Disclosure: You do not have to reveal your net-worth as part of the EB-5 application process.

Immediate Family Members Can Also Obtain Lawful Permanent Residency Through EB-5 

One of the core advantages of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is that it allows the immediate family members of the applicant to obtain a green card. Beyond the investor, lawful permanent residency is also available for the spouse and for unmarried children who are under the age of 21.

 Contact Our Philadelphia Business Immigration Attorney for Immediate Help

At Ellenberg Law Group, our Philadelphia business immigration lawyer is an experienced and solutions-focused advocate for clients. If you have any questions about the EB-5 immigrant investor program, we are here to help. Contact us today to arrange your completely confidential initial legal consultation. From our Philadelphia law office, we provide business immigration services throughout all of Southeastern Pennsylvania.


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