EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa

Your Immigration Lawyer By Your Side, Around the World

If you are considering your investor visa options, and are from one of four specific countries – Mexico, China, India, and The Philippines – immigration into the US through family involves a very lengthy wait time, which can potentially last for decades. However, if you have the means, investing in the United States could still be a very useful, long-term immigration pathway for you and your family members. There are 10,000 visas available each fiscal year for investors and their families. If you are interested in this program, there is much to learn and evaluate prior to investing, and we can guide you through this process!

Individual Immigrant Investors

Individual immigrants can utilize this visa under two programs: Regional Center (RC) and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Each program has its advantages and disadvantages, but with a knowledgeable immigration attorney like Christine Swenson, at Swenson Law Office, PC, you’ll have great experience and a future here in the United States.

Are you an accredited investor?

The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines an accredited investor two ways. First, an accredited investor is as a natural person (not a corporation) who has a net worth exceeding USD 1 million, either individually or jointly with his or her spouse, but not including any equity in his or her primary residence. Second, a natural person (not a corporation) who earns an individual income of more than USD 200,000 per year, or a joint income of USD 300,000 with spouse, in each of the last two years and expects to reasonably maintain such level of income in the current year. If you qualify as an accredited investor, you’ll have an easier time with your application.

Regional Center Investment Opportunities

Regional centers (RC) are for-profit businesses or public-private cooperative endeavors which coordinate the use of funds from investors and other lenders and utilize them to complete projects that ultimately create full-time jobs in the United States. RCs must apply to US Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) to be designated as such and, as a result, must comply with USCIS regulations for this program. Receiving RC designation does not mean that the US government approves the project(s) the entity sponsors or creates.

There are two primary benefits of investing with an RC:

  • the amount of your investment drops to USD 500,000 minimum, plus an administrative fee.
  • while the number of jobs to be created remains the same, the character of the jobs is more broad. In addition to direct jobs, indirect jobs are counted, which is not possible with foreign direct investment.

This program makes it easier for those who want to invest but may not qualify as an accredited investor. The amount required to invest is set by Congress and can be increased. Recently, Congress has considered raising the minimum investment with RCs to USD 750,000 or USD 800,00. With the legislation authorizing regional centers set to sunset on December 9, 2016, it is possible that any reauthorization could increase the minimum investment requirement. Check back with us to see what happens in December. For more information about this, contact us. We’re happy to discuss it in greater detail and help you determine whether this is right for you and your family.

We won’t tell you what RC to invest in, afterall, it’s not our money. However, we will work with you to demonstrate and document the funds you’re providing are legally sourced, to evaluate whether the RC is in compliance, has a positive track record relating to EB-5 applications, has any red flags that are cause for concern, and prepares the forms, completes the supporting documents and tracks the processing of your application for you. We work with you to file the initial Form I-526 application and, after approval, to lift the condition on residence through Form I-829. Given the above, you can see just how important it is to work with an immigration attorney to help you navigate the EB-5 visa processes.

Seek Regional Center Status

For a company interested in becoming a regional center, Swenson Law Office, PC, can guide you and your diversified team of advisors through that complicated process. This process is going to require an immigration attorney, like us, coordinating the efforts between your tax, SEC, and business attorneys, a financial advisor, an economist, a marketer, and broker/agents. It is critical that your team members have EB-5 experience or are familiar with the program’s requirements. Often, immigration attorneys act like the quarterback of these teams ensuring that the end products created will meet, if not exceed USCIS’s requirements for RC certification prior to filing the application.

Foreign Direct Investment

At its core, foreign direct investment (FDI) is about you investing your money how you see fit. You don’t work through another person or group or agency, such as a regional center. You are also 100% responsible for generating your own return on investment. Here is some key information about foreign direct investment under the EB-5 visa:

Investment: at least USD 1 million in a new business enterprise or USD 500,000 if you locate your business in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA).

Job creation: at least 10, full-time, direct jobs must be created by your business investment.

  • Direct jobs are actual positions within your business that are filled by US workers.
  • Full-time means a minimum of 35 hours per week. Job sharing is acceptable, but combining two part-time employees to count as one full-time is not acceptable.

Anywhere in the US: depending on the amount of your investment (see above), you can create and establish your business anywhere in the United States.

With the benefit of fully controlling your own investment, comes additional responsibility. While the investment amount may be reduced, there are other expenses that are equally and wholly the investors responsibility in addition to that initial investment. These expenses include but are not limited to salary and wages, which could cost between USD 1.5million and USD 3.4million, insurance, marketing and advertising, and insurance.

What about a Franchise?

Yes! Franchises are a very useful option for those who are looking for a better return on your investment. It’s important to understand that you still must meet the requirements outlined above. In order to improve your likelihood of long-term success, which translates into a better return on your investment, it’s important to identify the type of franchise that suits you best. Franchise brokers can help you identify and research which franchises may best fit your needs, which have more complete policies and procedures to follow, and more. Finally, we at Swenson Law Office, PC, and credible franchise brokers can connect you with specialized lawyers who focus on securities and the Securities & Exchange Commission legal requirements.


Swenson Law Office, PC

5161 E. Arapahoe Rd., Suite 120

Centennial, CO 80122