The EB-5 is one of the best employment-based visas, offering opportunities for eligible entrepreneurs and investors to work and live in the United States legally, as well as bringing a spouse and all qualifying children.

However, the EB-5 visa program has strict requirements, including the minimum investment amount required and the type of business enterprise eligible for investment. Hence, is it possible to invest in real estate to obtain an EB-5 visa? Keep reading to find out.

What is the EB-5 Visa Program? – The Fundamentals

Created by US Congress in 1990, the purpose of the EB-5 program is to stimulate the US economy by attracting capital investment(s) and promoting job creation.

As provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), eligible foreign investors may apply for a US green card upon:

  • Investing the necessary amount of capital in a commercial business enterprise in the United States, and
  • Demonstrating the investment will create or preserve ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified workers

Currently, the required standard minimum investment amount is $1 million. For applicants that choose to invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the minimum investment amount is $500,000.

USCIS clearly outlines that EB-5 applicants must invest in a new or existing commercial enterprise. In this context, the term “commercial enterprise” refers to “any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business.”

Additionally, the required amount of capital must be put at risk. Therefore, EB-5 applicants qualify only upon investing in an active, operating US business without necessarily having a guarantee of success.

It is crucial noting that investments with zero risk or speculative investments (e.g., treasury bonds) do not qualify for the EB-5 visa.

Can I Invest in Real Estate for EB-5? – A Realistic Overview

The EB-5 program permits foreign investors to invest in US-based real estate development projects to obtain lawful permanent resident status (green card) – as long as the investment meets the requirements established by USCIS.

In recent years, the EB-5 visa was the primary choice of well-established foreign investors looking for profitable opportunities by investing capital in large-scale real estate projects that create hundreds of jobs and boost capital influx.

Generally, the most common strategy of EB-5 applicants investing in real estate is financing for real estate development projects.

Can I Invest in Real Estate for EB-5? – Attention to Detail

In any case, the investment made by EB-5 applicants only counts toward the minimum amount required if he/she can prove that the investment will create or preserve ten full-time jobs for qualified US workers.

Plus, the capital must be at risk in a company that is actively doing business and operating normally. Therefore, one cannot obtain an EB-5 by speculating in the real estate market or investing money indirectly.

No passive investment(s) in real estate are eligible for EB-5 qualification. If the investment will not be at risk in an operating business enterprise nor will create or preserve ten full-time jobs for qualified workers, it will qualify for the EB-5 program.

Do You Want to Increase Your Chances of Success When Applying for an EB-5 Visa? – Immediately Contact an Expert Immigration Attorney

It is not easy to meet the strict requirements established by USCIS to obtain an EB-5. If you want a strategic approach, waste no time – call Attorney Romy B. Jurado at (305) 921-0976 or email [email protected] to schedule a consultation.