New York Small Business Development Center (NYSBDC)

New York Small Business Development Center (NYSBDC)

What is EB-5?

Employment Based Fifth Preference (EB-5)

EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa, administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), is available to immigrants seeking to enter the United States in order to invest in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs. There are two ways to invest in a commercial enterprise within the EB-5 program and they are: creating a new commercial enterprise or investing in a troubled business. The investor is required to invest a minimum of $1 million however if the investment is in a Targeted Employment area the EB-5 applicant may invest a reduced amount or a minimum of $500,000 in a high unemployment area which is defined as 150% of the national average unemployment statistic.

What are Targeted Employment Areas?

Targeted Employment Areas are areas that, at the time of investment, are located in a rural location or area which has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate, otherwise known as a high unemployment area. A rural area is any area not within either a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Department of Labor) or the outer boundary of any city having a population of 20,000 or more. A high unemployment area is a geographic area or political subdivision located within a metropolitan statistical area, or within a city having a population of 20,000 or more, that, at the time of investment, has experienced unemployment of at least 150% of the national average rate.

Types of Businesses:

  1. A new business.

  2. An expanding business (defined generally as a business which will expand its revenue or number of full time jobs by 40% within the next 24 months).

If your business falls into one of the above categories, and you have an interest in your business participating in the Foreign Direct Investment Initiative, we can help you obtain the capital or funding for your business.

Eligibility & Requirements

All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise:

  • Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or

  • Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:1. Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or2. Expanded through the investment so that a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs

Job Creation Requirements

  • Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs 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. A foreign investor may only use the indirect job Capital Investment Requirements

Capital Investment Requirements

Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur, provided that the alien entrepreneur is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All capital shall be valued at fair-market value in United States dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) shall not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act.

Note: Investment capital cannot be borrowed.

Required minimum investments are:

  • General. The minimum qualifying investment in the United States is $1 million.

  • Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment or Rural Area). The minimum qualifying investment either within a high-unemployment area or rural area in the United States is $500,000.

A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.

A rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more according to the decennial census.


The following are a few benefits to foreign investors of the EB-5 Visa Program:

  • Fastest way to obtaining a U.S. green card and U.S. citizenship
  • Permanent Residency in the United States for you, your spouse and any children under the age of 21
  • No sponsor needed
  • No waiting list – No quota backlogs like those found in many other employment and sponsorship visa programs
  • No language, related business experience, or minimum education requirements
  • Foreign investors utilizing a designated regional center are given priority by USCIS
  • Job creation requirement is satisfied by direct and indirect job creation
  • Investors freed from managing investment on a daily basis
  • Free to work and live anywhere in the U.S.
  • Obtain your green card which gives you rights similar to U.S. citizenship
  • Green card allows you to travel to and from your homeland without a visa
  • Education at colleges and universities for students at U.S. resident costs
  • Become a citizen after 5 years

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