Coming to America as an Entrepreneur

How do I qualify for an EB-5 visa?

Immigrant Entrepreneurs have changed the face of America.  According to a 2016 study by the National Foundation for American Policy, immigrants have launched half of America’s startup businesses valued at over $1 billion.  Mega companies like Uber, SpaceX, and Stripe all include at least one immigrant founder.  Despite the fact that so many immigrant entrepreneurs ultimately find success in our country, it can be difficult for an entrepreneur to find a visa that allows him/her to lawfully enter and work in America.  One potential path for lawful entry for immigrant entrepreneurs is through the EB-5 visa.

Overview of the EB-5 Visa.

The EB-5 visa was created in 1990 to aid the U.S. economy through the creation of jobs and investment of capital made by foreign investors.  Since that time, tens of thousands of foreign investors have lawfully come to the U.S. to invest in a new “commercial enterprise”.  The EB-5 visa program is widely regarded as a success, but it has not been without controversy.  Recently, several high-profile instances of fraud have led to some lawmakers pushing for an end to the program.  Ultimately, however, the EB-5 visa continues to be offered.

Qualifying for an EB-5 Visa.

To qualify for an EB-5 visa, the foreign investor must invest in a new commercial enterprise.  An enterprise will qualify as new if it was established after 1990 or existed before that time, but has been restructured or reorganized so as to create a new entity, or expanded through investment by at least a 40 percent increase in net worth or number of employees.  A commercial enterprise could include nearly any entity formed for the lawful purpose of conducting business, including a corporation, business trust, or partnership. 

Job Creation and Capital Contribution.

There are two main criteria to qualify for an EB-5 visa.  First, your capital contribution must create full-time positions for at least ten (10) employees.  If the commercial enterprise is located within a Regional Center, the jobs can be created either directly or indirectly.  If the commercial enterprise is not in a regional center, then the positions must be created directly to count towards the criteria.

Further, the minimum qualifying investment for foreign investors seeking an EB-5 visa is generally $1 million.  If the commercial enterprise is in a targeted employment area, which will usually consist of a rural area or one with high unemployment, then the minimum to qualify may be lowered to $500,000.

Recent Changes to the law now also permit the capital infusion to be not only “Cash” but it can be monies that are borrowed or received through a “loan”.

If you are a foreign investor looking to enter the U.S. on an EB-5 visa, contact the immigration lawyers at NPZ Law Group.  Our experienced immigration firm boasts a high level of client satisfaction and knowledge of the most recent immigration law changes. Please feel free to contact us by visiting our website at or you can e-mail us at or you can call us at 201-670-0006 ext. 107.