The EB-5 Investor Visa Program, created in 1990, was designed to place foreign investors on a path to citizenship through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. To begin that process, foreign investors are required to make a minimum investment of $500,000 and demonstrate that the investment led to the creation of at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

There are two main types of EB-5 visas:

  • The Individual EB-5 requires direct investment in any for-profit of business that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
  • The Regional Center EB-5 visa requires investment in approved regional centers creating at least 10 direct, indirect or induced jobs per investor.  

In exchange for making a minimum investment of $1 million (or $500,000 if the funds were invested in certain high-unemployment or rural areas) into a new U.S. business, foreign investors are placed on a glide path to U.S. citizenship for themselves and their immediate families.

The Regional Center program, which must be extended periodically by Congress, is designed to help facilitate the collection and distribution of investor funds. NAR works with organizations that support permanent reauthorization for the regional center program to push for needed reforms to make it more accountable and transparent.

Invested funds, provided either through the Individual or Regional Center EB-5 visas, are an important source of funding for real estate development projects across the country.


Over the past several years, NAR, in coalition with other stakeholder groups, has successfully lobbied to reauthorize the EB-5 regional center pilot program. Most recently, the regional center program was extended by Congress through June 30, 2021.  

Where Are We Now?

While the Regional Center program expired on June 30, 2021, the EB-5 Individual Visa is still operational and available for use by foreign investors. Several bills have been introduced in 2021 to reform and reauthorize the regional center program on a short-term basis — NAR supports the reauthorization bills and is working in coalition with other organizations to educate congressional members about the importance of reforming and reauthorizing this program.

We anticipate future opportunities will be available to sign onto a stakeholder letter to urge comprehensive Congressional reform of the program, in lieu of piecemeal regulatory or legal changes.

On July 24, 2019, a Final Rule to reform and modernize the EB-5 program went into effect on November 21, 2019. However, on June 22, 2021, a court ruling vacated these regulations, which means the EB-5 investment requirements revert back to the pre-2019 maximum investment of $500,000.

To view NAR Issues Summary on this issue visit: https://narfocus.com/federalissuestracker and click “Visa - Investors” under "Business"

Regulatory Contact: 
Russell Riggs, rriggs@realtors.org, 202-383-1259 


Foreign Investors

Cross-border investment is expected to rise as domestic investors seek high returns abroad and foreign investors take advantage of a weakened dollar.