The EB–5 Regional Center Investment Program is an added component to the United States EB-5 program that was created by Congress in 1990 to offer foreign nationals a pathway to obtain a United States Visa (permanent or green card) for themselves and qualified family members.

A Regional Center is a private or public entity approved by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to enlist multiple immigrant investors and to pool and manage their investments through designated projects within a geographical area.

The U.S. Immigrant Investor Program is called EB5 which is an acronym for: Employment Based 5th Preference, as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act Section 203(b).

Success for immigrant investors in the program results in a permanent U.S. Visa for themselves and qualified family members under the age of 21.

The EB-5 Visa Program offers a path to citizenship for foreign investors and their families. With over ten thousand green cards set aside each year, this arrangement provides green cards in exchange for investing $500,000 in a project located in a targeted employment area. With each investment, the community benefits with the creation of at least 10 new jobs, and the investor gains the privilege of permanent residency and the freedom to pursue other ventures without having to manage their investment.

To participate in the EB-5 Program, investors must file I-526 petition with the USCIS. After I-526 approval, investors will file a separate I-829 petition to receive permanent residency.


The I-526 Petition

Filing the I-526 petition is the first step in the EB-5 Program application process. USCIS requires all investors to produce the following:

  • Evidence that the invested capital comes from a “lawful source”
  • Evidence that an investor’s accumulated wealth is sufficient for an EB-5 investment
  • Evidence that the investor has transferred funds to the Regional Center’s escrow account or project account
  • Copies of passports for each family member on the petition
  • Documents related to the petitioner’s education and employment history, such as résumés, diplomas, and other relevant documents
  • Birth and marriage certificates for all family members on the investor’s application
  • Additional information may be required on a case-by-case basis

To fulfill the above requirements, investors must coordinate with an immigration attorney.


The I-829 Petition

Upon approval of the I-526 petition, the investor and all family members listed on the petition will receive a conditional green card that lasts for two years. Within 90 days of the conditional green card’s expiration, investors and their attorneys must file the I-829 petition to demonstrate the following:

  • Evidence that the investor invested the required amount of capital
  • Funds were invested in the project and “at risk” at the time of the I-829 petition filing
  • The commercial enterprise created, or can be expected to create, at least 10 full-time jobs as a result of the investor’s funds.

Upon USCIS approval of the I-829 petition, investors and their family members will receive permanent U.S. green cards.