Overview

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.

According to VisaGuide.World, "If you invest in high-unemployment or rural areas, you must prove that your investment has created at least ten jobs, either directly or indirectly. Indirect jobs are those that result from the investment in the commercial enterprise, but the employed individuals work for other companies. These can include jobs in the supply chain of the commercial enterprise." 

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.

History

Over the past several years, NAR, in coalition with other stakeholder groups, has successfully lobbied to reauthorize and reform the EB-5 Investor Visa, especially the Regional Center program. Most recently, the regional center program was extended by Congress through September 30, 2027. 

Where Are We Now?

Currently, the EB-5 Visa and Regional Center Program is operational and available for use by foreign investors, but significant visa application and processing backlogs exist due to understaffing at the USCIS headquarters and regional offices.

The Regional Center Program expired in June, 2021, but the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act renewed and reauthorized the program through Sept. 2027. In addition to renewing the Regional Center Program, the legislation also instituted accountability, oversight and transparency reforms which NAR supported. These reforms will provide better oversight and monitoring of where the funds are coming from and what kinds of projects the funds are supporting and will help keep the program viable for the long term.


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 

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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.