The EB-5 visa program allots 10,000 green cards yearly to immigrant investors who create at least 10 full-time jobs in the U.S.  Historically, the EB-5 visa program has been underutilized, however, interest has dramatically increased in recent years.  For the 2012 fiscal year, 7,641 EB-5 petitions were granted compared to 793 during the 2007 fiscal year, an increase of 864% over five years.

The EB-5 visa program targets wealthy foreign nationals and requires one of the following minimum investments:

  • $1,000,000 in a new commercial enterprise or troubled business, or
  • $500,000 in a new commercial enterprise or troubled business in a Targeted Employment Area.

The investment must be maintained and result directly or indirectly in the creation or preservation of 10 full- time jobs (at least 35 hours per week) for a two-year period. A troubled business is defined as a company in existence for at least 2 years which has incurred losses during the 12 to 24 month period prior to investment of at least 20% of its net worth. A Targeted Employment Area is either a rural area outside a metropolitan statistical area with 20,000 inhabitants, or a high unemployment area with a rate of unemployment equal to 1.5X the national average.