EB-5 Visa Investment Options

The EB-5 Investment Visa offers one of the most efficient paths to becoming a permanent resident in the U.S.

One of the first and most important decisions investors must make is selecting the right investment option.

This guide provides a complete breakdown of the two main EB-5 Visa investment types. We will explore the key benefits of each and how they compare to one another.

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Direct investments

As the name suggests, direct investments involve investing directly in either:

  • A new commercial enterprise OR;
  • Expanding an existing business

Direct investors must actively manage the business and create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. This must be done within two years of being granted conditional residency.

Key benefit

Direct EB-5 investments offer investors greater control over the project. This means they are hands-on with the day-to-day running of the business and the decision-making process.

Regional centers

Regional centers are the most popular investment option for EB-5 visas. In fact, 95% of EB-5 investors choose to invest in regional center projects.

Regional centers are organisations approved by the USCIS that sponsor various EB-5 projects. They pool investment funds from multiple investors, which are used to finance projects such as real estate development.

The USCIS publishes a complete list of approved EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program regional centers. This page shows all USCIS-approved regional centers, their locations and ID numbers.

To learn more, read our guide to EB-5 regional centers for a more detailed breakdown.

Key benefit

By investing through the EB-5 Regional Center Program, investors can benefit from both indirect and direct job creation.

The USCIS policy statement defines indirect jobs as “those that are held outside of the new commercial enterprise but are created as a result of the new commercial enterprise.”

Ultimately, this makes it easier to fulfil the EB-5 job creation requirement.

Targeted employment areas (TEAs)

Targeted employment areas (TEAs) are a crucial part of the EB-5 Visa Program.

A TEA is simply a specific area that has a high unemployment rate or is considered a rural area. TEAs not only reduce the minimum amount needed by investors but also funnel money into areas that need it most.

TEA status is based on two main criteria:

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Unemployment rates

An area can qualify as a TEA if its average unemployment rate is at least 150% of the national average.

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Key benefit

Investing in a TEA significantly reduces the cost of the EB-5 Visa. Investments in non-TEA projects start at $1,050,000. However, under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA), projects in a TEA start at $800,000.

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Rural area

Based on definitions used by EB-5 regulations, rural areas are those not within a metropolitan statistical area and have a population of fewer than 20,000 people.

TEAs can be accessed through either investment option (direct or regional center). To learn more, read our EB-5 targeted employment areas (TEAs) guide.

Direct vs. regional center

As we have outlined, there are two main EB-5 Visa investment options – direct and regional center investments.

The minimum investment for both starts at $1,050,000 or $800,000 if the project is in a TEA. And while the process is different, both grant a U.S. Green Card (resident status).

The question is, which EB-5 Visa investment route is right for you?

While the two share similarities, there are some fundamental differences, and the choice between the two depends on several factors, such as:

  • Investment objectives
  • How involved the investor wants to be in the business

The direct investment method typically offers more control but requires active management and a greater commitment of time and resources. Meanwhile, regional center investments provide a more passive approach.

For regional center investors, satisfying the job creation criteria is often much easier. This is because both indirect and direct employment count towards the requirement.

This is one of the reasons why regional centers are overwhelmingly more popular than their counterpart.

Explore EB-5 Visa investment options with Holborn

The EB-5 Visa offers one of the fastest routes for foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency status in the U.S. Green Card holders have numerous benefits, such as living, working and studying anywhere in the country.

If you want to learn more about the EB-5 program, {download our factsheet}. Alternatively, speak to one of our specialists, who can explain, in detail, all of the EB-5 investment options to help you make a more informed decision.

Holborn Pass is an international leader in investor visas. Our team provides expert advice and end-to-end service to support you throughout the EB-5 process.

We are part of the wider Holborn Assets Group, a leading, award-winning financial advisory company with over $2 billion in assets under management (AUM).

To find out how we can assist you in securing your EB-5 Visa, book a consultation with one of our advisers.

Frequently asked questions

Whether you choose to invest directly or through a regional center, the minimum amount is as follows:

  • $1,050,000 OR;
  • $800,000 if the project is in a targeted employment area (TEA)

The simple answer is yes. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows investors to use almost any form of collateral to fund their EB-5 investment. However, there are some points to consider.

The first is that the loan must be secured against the investor’s personal assets. Some examples of ‘personal assets’ include but are not limited to:

  • Real estate
  • Stocks/shares or other securities
  • Gold

Foreign investors must also prove that any loaned capital came from a lawful source. To learn more, read our guide on EB-5 Visa requirements.

There are two primary EB-5 visa investment options:

  • Direct investments
  • EB-5 regional center investments

A direct investment involves investing directly in a new commercial enterprise. It must directly create 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. EB-5 regional center projects pool investors’ funds into large projects. This option counts direct and indirect job creation towards the employment requirement.

There are several benefits for EB-5 investors who choose to go down the regional center route. For example, fulfilling the job creation requirement can be achieved through indirect job creation. This makes it much easier to meet the EB-5 program’s criteria. Regional centers also typically handle the management and day-to-day running of the project.

The average processing time is around 12 months. However, you should be aware that EB-5 processing times can vary depending on factors such as:

  • The investor’s country of origin
  • Their chosen investment option (direct or regional center)

Read our guide on the EB-5 Visa Process to learn more.

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