Second Citizenship

January 15, 2024

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Cost of US EB‑5 visa

The EB‑5 Investor Visa program allows foreigners to obtain a US Green Card in 2 years by investing $800,000+ in US business. And in another 3 years, the successful investor can apply for US citizenship and live the American dream.

Let’s look into the numbers behind the EB‑5 visa total cost and process fees.

Albert Ioffe
Albert Ioffe

Helped to calculate the cost of an EB-5 visa

Cost of EB-5 Investor Visa for foreign investors

Cost of US EB-5 visa

What is an EB‑5 Investor Visa?

The EB‑5, or Immigrant Investor Visa program, was launched in 1990 by the Congress of the USA to allow foreigners to invest money in American businesses and obtain the US Green Card, or permanent residency, in return.

Since its inception, the program has gained popularity among thousands of foreign investors worldwide who apply for the EB-5 visa. On average, around 10,000 people annually succeed in obtaining a visa. In the fiscal year 2022, the US government granted 10,885 visas, with many applicants from China, India, and Vietnam.

To participate in the EB‑5 visa program, investors can choose between investing through an approved Regional Centre or directly investing in a local business. In both cases, the investors must guarantee their investment will create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified US workers.

EB‑5 visa investment options and routes

The EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Program offers 2 options for investors to participate: investment through Regional Centre and direct investment. Each option has a minimum investment requirement:

  • $800,000+ — if a business is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). The option is available through Regional Centres only;

  • $1,050,000+ — if a project is a new US commercial enterprise outside TEAs. An enterprise is “new” if established after November 1990.

By choosing to invest through Regional Centres, applicants invest their capital through an approved entity which pools the money and operates the business instead of the investors.

The Regional Centres are typically private entities designated by USCIS within specific geographic areas classified as Targeted Employment Areas due to high unemployment rates — usually 50% above the national average. The current Regional Centre program will remain in effect until September 30th, 2027.

The overall process of applying through this option is easier for the investors as Regional Centres deal with the mandatory creation of 10 jobs for US citizens. And as the minimum investment capital is lower here, most applicants pick Regional Centres to invest through.

With the direct investment option, foreign applicants must establish a new business in the US or purchase an existing company and create 10+ jobs to be eligible for an EB‑5 visa. Investors who select a direct investment must personally manage an enterprise. This option gives investors more control over their investment but requires hands-on involvement in the business.

Since this type of investment is made outside the TEAs, where investment is much-needed and encouraged, the required minimum investment amount is relatively higher.

In both options, the investment is made after the successful applicants receive a conditional Green Card. In 5—7 years it is possible to return the investment.

EB‑5 visa additional costs

In addition to the EB‑5 investment amount of $800,000 or $1,050,000, the applicants must consider various other expenses.

Government-related fees must be paid regardless of the investment option. They include the following:

  • Form I‑526 or I‑526E filing fee — $3,675 for a family, plus $1,000 for Form I‑526E Integrity Fund fee;

  • Regional Centre administration fee — between $50,000 and $70,000;

  • DS‑260 Immigrant Visa application fee if you are outside the US — $325 per person;

  • I‑485 Adjustment of Status fee if you apply from within the US — $1,225 per person between ages 14 and 79, $750 per child under 14, and $1,140 per person age 79 or older;

  • Form I‑829 filing fee for a permanent residence permit — $3,750 per family, plus a biometric fee of $85 for each person.

Additional costs that are not paid directly to the government but are required for the EB‑5 visa application procedure:

  • immigration lawyer fee — depends on the lawyer you choose to assist you;

  • formation of business entity cost if an applicant chooses to open a new business — depends on a state, entity type and mediator company charge;

  • business plan for the entity — approximately $3,500;

  • documentation translation — depends on the company chosen for the task;

  • health insurance cost — starts at $560 per person.

Form I‑526, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur, is a crucial document filed by foreign applicants as part of the initial EB‑5 application process. If an applicant invests through a Regional Centre, the equivalent form is I‑526E.

Administrative fee. When investing through a Regional Centre, applicants may be required to pay an administrative fee to cover the costs the Regional Centre carries out, including creating the necessary 10 jobs.

Form DS‑260 and Form I‑485. Once an investor receives approval to apply for the EB‑5 visa, they can obtain a conditional resident permit by submitting either Form DS‑260 if applying outside the US, or Form I‑485, if they are already in the country. This conditional permanent residency is valid for 2 years.

Form I‑829 is needed to transition from conditional to regular permanent residency. This form removes the conditional status and obtains a regular Green Card. It is typically filed after the investor has resided in the US for 21 months or 3 months before the conditional permanent residency expiration date.

While not mandatory, it is highly recommended to seek the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer throughout the EB‑5 visa process. Given the complexity of the overall procedure, particularly when applying from overseas, an immigration lawyer can provide valuable guidance and ensure that all the required documents are correctly filed.

If an investor pursues the EB‑5 visa through direct investment, they must establish a new enterprise. To initiate this process, the investor must engage the services of a mediator company to provide assistance and submit a business plan. The expenses associated with these services vary depending on the fees charged by the company, the chosen location, and the type of entity selected for the business.

Total EB‑5 visa cost

The EB‑5 visa cost varies on the option an investor selects and whether they apply outside or inside the USA.

For the application outside the country with a direct investment option, the minimal cost would include the following:

  • $1,050,000 — the minimum investment amount;

  • $3,500+ — a business plan cost;

  • $3,675 — a legal fee for submitting Form I‑526, per family;

  • $325 — the immigrant visa application fee;

  • $3,750 — a legal fee for submitting Form I‑829, per family;

  • $560+ — health insurance per person.

The direct investment option for a standalone investor without family members is $11,810 + $1,050,000 investment amount. For a family of 3, expenses above the investment would be $13,835.

The cost of opening a new business entity, translation of documentation, and services of an immigration lawyer come separately.

For the application outside the country with the Regional Centre option, the minimal cost would include:

  • $800,000— the minimum investment amount;

  • $70,000 — an administrative fee;

  • $1,000 — an Integrity Fund fee;

  • $3,675 — a legal fee for submitting Form I‑526E, per family;

  • $325 — the immigrant visa application fee;

  • $3,750 — a legal fee for submitting Form I‑829, per family;

  • $560+ — health insurance per person.

The Regional Centre option for a standalone investor without family members is $79,310 + $800,000 investment amount. For a family of 3, expenses above the investment would be $81,335.

If the investor applies from within the country, the cost of Visa Adjustment would be added to the overall cost.

Individual cost calculation of the US EB-5 visa

Individual cost calculation of the US EB-5 visa

7 benefits of the EB‑5 visa

The EB‑5 visa program offers several benefits for investors seeking to create a sustainable future for themselves and their families, with the ability to live, work, and study in the United States indefinitely:

  1. Permanent Residency. The EB‑5 visa program provides an opportunity to obtain a Green Card, or permanent residency, for the investor, their spouse, and their unmarried children under age 21.

  2. Path to US Citizenship. After maintaining lawful permanent residency for a specified period, typically five years, EB‑5 visa holders may become eligible to apply for US citizenship through naturalisation.

  3. No Sponsorship Required. Unlike other employment-based visa categories, the EB‑5 visa program does not require sponsorship from a US employer or family member. Investors are free to invest in a qualifying business of their choice and manage their investment project.

  4. Opportunity to work or study. EB‑5 visa holders enjoy the flexibility to work for any employer in the United States, start businesses, or pursue educational programs.

  5. No need to oversee the business. Investors can choose to invest through approved Regional Centres, allowing them to adopt a more passive investment approach. As a result, they are free from day-to-day management oversight and can focus on other personal goals.

  6. Education and Healthcare Opportunities. EB‑5 investors and their dependent children can benefit from the US education system, gaining access to renowned universities, colleges, and schools. Additionally, they can benefit from the quality healthcare services available in the United States.

  7. Potential Return on Investment. While the primary motivation for applying for the EB‑5 visa is obtaining a Green Card, there is also the potential for a return on investment. Depending on the safety and success of the investment, investors may expect to receive a return on their investment capital ranging from 1 to 3%.

How to get a US immigrant visa as an investor and move a step closer to a Green Card

EB‑5 visa investment risks

While the EB‑5 visa program offers several benefits, it also comes with risks that the investor must consider. Let’s take a closer look at them.

1. Visa refusal. Under EB‑5 visa regulations, investors must demonstrate the lawful acquisition of their funds and provide relevant documentation tracing the funds from their source to the project’s escrow account. Suppose USCIS officers find any discrepancies in the documentation. In that case, they may require additional Request for Evidence procedures, which can result in a delay or even denial of the conditional Green Card.

2. Investment funds must be actively used. The investment cannot simply be held in a bank account; they must be “at risk”. Ensuring that the investment funds are actively employed in the business until the applicant obtains a regular permanent residency in the US is crucial.

3. Possibility of incurring losses. An applicant should be ready to know that the investment amount could generate profits and incur losses based on the performance and success of the business. It means that the financial outcome of the investment made by an applicant is not guaranteed

4. Business collapse can influence the Green Card. If the business collapses within two years since the investment, fails to create 10 jobs on behalf of the investor, or fails to meet any other USCIS requirements, the applicant could lose both the investment and the permanent residency chance.

5. No guaranteed capital return. The investor cannot have any assurance or guarantee that the capital they invest will be returned. The success of the investment and the return of the money to the investor after 5–7 years depend on the business’s performance and market conditions.

While applying for the EB‑5 visa program, the foreign investor must be ready to accept any losses. We recommend seeking professional assistance from seasoned lawyers or companies with experience in EB‑5 visa application investments to minimise the risks.

6. EB‑5 visa lengthy process. Although this point is not connected to investment-related risks, it’s yet to be considered. The EB‑5 visa program can have a significant waiting time, with a processing period of up to 4 years before obtaining a conditional permanent residency.

Applicant requirements

The EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Visa program is open to any foreign individual over 18 with a clean criminal record who meets the eligibility requirements:

  • can make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise;

  • can demonstrate that their investment capital comes from a lawful source by providing legal evidence and documentation;

  • can create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified US workers.

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 can participate in the EB‑5 program alongside the investor.

The US immigration law does not exempt any specific country. However, the visa processing timeline for applicants from countries under US sanctions can be influenced by USCIS discretion.

The EB‑5 Investor Visa Program application process demands significant investment capital to put at risk. The applicant must demonstrate that the funds used for the investment were obtained legally.

Lawful sources of funds can include:

  • personal Savings such as income from employment, business profits, or inheritance;

  • sale of Assets from selling of property, real estate, stocks, or other valuable assets;

  • business Earnings generated from a lawful business enterprise;

  • gifts or inheritance received from family members or close relatives with the proof of the legitimacy and transfer of the funds;

  • loans borrowed from a recognised financial institution, with proper documentation and proof of repayment terms.

To prove the lawful source of investment funds, applicants must provide extensive documentation: bank statements, tax returns, employment records, business ownership documents and others.

The investor doesn’t need to open a bank account in the USA to invest money into a designated project. Instead, they can transfer the investment amount directly to the escrow account of the EB‑5 project of a Regional Centre in which the applicant chooses to invest. Upon receiving the investment, the Regional Centre provides proof of the investment transfer for the EB‑5 application petition.

Documents required to apply for an EB‑5 visa

To apply for the EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Visa, the investor must provide the following personal documents:

  • copies of the investor and their family members’ valid passports;

  • birth certificates of all participants;

  • a marriage certificate or a certificate of its absence;

  • documents of household registration;

  • certified copies of court decisions in civil or criminal cases against the investor for the last 15 years, if any;

The list of financial documents to be provided for the EB‑5 application process include the following:

  • proof of investment transfer to the selected project;

  • business plan if the investor applies for a direct investment option;

  • evidence that the investment creates at least 10 full-time jobs for US citizens;

  • tax returns for the previous 7 years;

  • bank statements for the last 7 years;

  • confirmation of ownership of the company if the investor has a business;

  • copies of all business licences;

  • documents confirming the availability of other income;

  • financial statements for each business;

  • proof of the legality of the investment sources.

Each Form petition requires separate documentation, which can be prepared with the help of an immigration lawyer.

How to apply for an EB-5 visa: step-by-step procedure

To apply for the EB-5 visa program, applicants must complete the required forms, pay the fees, and provide the necessary documents. The average processing time for the initial conditional residence permit is around 3–4 years.

1

1 day

Immigrant Invest’s Due Diligence

Before finalising an agreement with an immigration lawyer, the Anti-Money Laundering Officer conducts preliminary due diligence to identify potential failure risks and find suitable solutions.

2

2 weeks

Choosing the investment project

There are specialised EB‑5 businesses that enable applicants to invest in approved projects. The investor must complete the transaction through an EB‑5 Regional Centre.

3

2 weeks

Collection of documents

Any documents containing a foreign language submitted to USCIS must be accompanied by a full English translation certified as complete and accurate by the translator.

4

1 week

Fulfilment of the investment conditions

If the applicant invests through a Regional Centre, they transfer an amount of $800,000 to the chosen TEA project.

If the applicant makes a direct investment, they are obliged to open a new business and transfer an amount of $1,050,000 to its bank account.

5

2+ weeks

Submission of documents for an EB-5 visa

The investor submits a petition to obtain a visa using Form I‑526E, an application for participation in the EB‑5 program. The investor must include supporting documents with the application. These documents are submitted to the US consulate in the investor’s country of citizenship or the USCIS migration service within the US.

There is an administrative fee of $70,000, a Form I‑526E fee of $3,675, plus an additional Integrity Fund fee of $1,000 for a family.

6

3–4 years

Application approval

The USCIS reviews the applicant’s documents for an EB‑5 visa for three to four years. During this time, the investor and their family can relocate to the US and await the approval of their application.

7

6 months

Filing a DS-260 or I-485 application for a conditional residence permit

Investors outside the US must attend interviews (Form DS‑260) at the US Embassy. The National Visa Centre will notify them of the interview location, time, and required documents.

The filing fee to start the process is $325 per person.

If investors are already in the US, they must apply for an adjustment of status (Form I‑485).

The application fee for a conditional residence permit is $1,225 per person over 14 years old, $750 per child under 14 and $1,140 per person aged 79 or more senior.

8

3–4 years

Obtaining a regular Green Card

After 21 months of the petition’s approval under the EB‑5 program, the investor can receive a regular US Green Card or permanent residence. To remove the restrictions on obtaining permanent resident status, the investor files an I‑829 petition with the USCIS.

The filing fee for the I‑829 petition is $3,750 per family, plus an additional fee of $85 for submitting biometrics per person.

After holding the conditional residence permit for two years, applicants can apply for a regular Green Card. After five years after the initial date of holding the conditional residency, they can apply for US citizenship.

While applicants are allowed to submit their petitions without an immigrant lawyer, it is highly recommended to seek professional assistance to increase their chances of success. Immigrant Invest offers comprehensive assistance in the application process to minimise the risk of denial.

Summary

  1. The EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Visa program enables eligible investors to obtain permanent residency in the USA by investing in business projects: $800,000 for a Target Employment Area project and $1,050,000 for making a direct investment and opening a new enterprise.

  2. Investors can apply personally or with assistance through direct investment or USCIS-approved Regional Centres.

  3. The EB‑5 visa applicants can include their spouses and unmarried children under 21 in their application.

  4. The minimal cost for applying through a Regional Centre would be $79,310 per family of one, plus the investment amount. The direct investment option would cost $11,810 plus the investment amount.

  5. The EB‑5 investment is considered risky, and the return on the capital can be expected within 5 to 7 years. Still, it’s important to note that there is no guarantee of project success or the total return of invested funds.

  6. While the EB‑5 visa program does not consider a way to obtain US citizenship, it offers a genuine opportunity to pursue American citizenship within 5 years after getting permanent resident status.

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence by investment programs in the EU, the Caribbean, Asia, and the Middle East. Take advantage of our global 15-year expertise — schedule a meeting with our investment programs experts.

Will you obtain a EB-5 visa to the USA?

Practical Guide

Will you obtain a EB-5 visa to the USA?

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is an EB-5 visa?

    The EB‑5 Investor Visa is a US permanent resident visa program allowing foreign investors to invest in the US economy and receive a Green Card. The program was established by Congress in 1990 to attract foreign investors and stimulate economic activity in areas of high unemployment or rural areas, known as Targeted Employment Areas.

  • Am I eligible for an EB-5 visa?

    The EB‑5 Immigrant Investor Visa program is available to foreign investors over 18 with a clean criminal record who meet eligibility requirements and can provide a sufficient amount to invest in the US economy. The spouses and unmarried children under 21 can apply together with the investor.

  • What is the minimal investment in an EB-5 visa?

    There are 2 investment options to choose from to meet the EB‑5 visa requirements:

    • $800,000 for investing in a Target Employment Area project;

    • $1,050,000 for investing in a non-Targeted Employment Area project — or making a direct investment.

  • How much does an EB-5 visa cost?

    The main investment can be either $800,000 or $1,050,000. Apart from that, there are additional visa costs and fees: administration fees, visa costs, petition filing fees, immigrant lawyer and document translation charges.

    The minimal amount for applying through a Regional Centre would be $79,310 + $800,000 investment amount. The minimal amount for applying through a direct investment would be $11,810 + $1,050,000 investment amount.

  • Can I get my EB-5 investment amount back?

    The EB‑5 investment may involve risks such as loss of investment, no guaranteed capital return, or even a business project collapse.

  • Can I become a USA citizen with EB-5?

    Yes, you can. After 5 years of obtaining a conditional residence permit and in case of meeting the requirements, the investor can apply for US citizenship.