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About the EB-5 Investment Visa


What is the EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa?


Created in 1990 by the Immigration Act of 1990, the EB-5 Investment Visa provides a method for eligible Immigrant Investors to become lawful permanent residents — informally known as "green card" holders — by making an investment to finance a business in the United States that will employ at least 10 American workers. 


There are two kinds of EB-5 Visas. Columbia International Finance specializes in the TEA-based path. TEA stands for “targeted employment area,” a rural or high unemployment area. This visa requires the investment of $800,000 in an approved Regional Center.

What are the steps of the EB-5 Investment Visa application process?

1. INVESTOR completes pre-screening questionnaire for review by CIF
1a. Columbia International Finance gives INVESTOR Private Placement Memorandum outlining EB-5 investment project
1b. INVESTOR signs subscription agreement
1c. INVESTOR deposits investment into bank escrow account and pays CIF fee
1d. INVESTOR'S attorney submits I-526 application to USCIS
1e. Escrow account releases majority of investment funds to Job Creating Enterprise

If investor receives I-526 approval

2. Escrow account releases remainder of investment funds to Job Creating Enterprise

If investor's I-526 application is denied

Escrow account returns investment funds back to INVESTOR
3. INVESTOR files application for immigrant visa or adjustment of status
4. INVESTOR interviews with U.S. Consulate and is issued a conditional Green Card
5. INVESTOR'S attorney submits I-829 application to USCIS for unconditional (permanent) Green Card

If Green Card is approved

Conditional status of Green Card is removed and becomes permanent

If Green Card is denied

INVESTOR files appeal. If appeal is denied, escrow returns investment funds to INVESTOR

How does the EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa compare to the H-1B Visa?

The EB-5 Visa is an investment visa that provides a pathway to permanent residency. Here are some other major differences between the two visas: The H-1B Visa is based on employment and is viable only so long as that employment position is retained. Here are some other major differences between the two visas:



  • Requires a bachelor’s or higher degree

  • Must work in a specialty field

  • Completely dependent on employment

  • Spousal employment status now in jeopardy

  • Must live and work in specific place



  • No degree required

  • Work in any field of employment –or not at all

  • Spouse and unmarried children under 21 qualify for conditional green cards and are allowed to work.

  • Live anywhere in the U.S.

What are the EB-5 visa costs?

The EB-5 program currently requires a $800,000 "at-risk" investment in a qualified U.S. construction project through an approved Regional Center. You will also pay fees to your immigration lawyer and the regional center.

What are the EB-5 wait times to permanent residency?

Wait times change and depend on a variety of factors. For most recent information, please visit:

Do I need an immigration attorney? What role does the attorney play?

An immigration attorney is an important part of the process to make sure your interests are protected and your application meets all the legal requirements. To avoid conflict of interests, the attorney should have absolutely no financial ties to the Regional Center. We can refer you to immigration attorneys with whom we have worked in the past and who are familiar with EB-5 projects.


What is a Regional Center?

An EB-5 Regional Center is an organization designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that sponsors capital investment projects for investment by EB-5 investors. The Regional Center manages the investors’ funds directly, professionally, and independently. Regional Centers ensure that the required number of jobs for each investor has been met and oversee the developer’s construction team to guarantee on-budget/on-time performance.

When will I see a return on my investment?

Funds are kept “at risk” by program rules until the projected job creation has been documented, and until the investor has received their removal of conditional residency restrictions. 

More information available here at USCIS EB-5 FAQ

If you have more questions, contact us HERE.

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