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The EB-5 visa is an exciting investment opportunity, but it is essential to understand the financial commitments involved. This guide breaks down the EB-5 cost and application process, helping you make informed decisions and plan effectively.
Investment: Direct vs Indirect
One of the primary requirements for the EB-5 visa is to make a qualifying investment in the United States. There are two types of investment opportunities you can consider:
A direct investment is for investors who wish to create a new start-up or invest in a new commercial enterprise. A new commercial enterprise is an existing business established after or on November 29, 1990.
This business can be in any industry if deemed profitable, meets the minimum capital requirements, and employs 10 full-time U.S. workers. While there is no maximum investment, a direct investment requires at least $800,000 if made in a targeted employment area or $1.05 million if made in a non-targeted employment area.
The USCIS defines a targeted employment area as an area with an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate, including cities and towns with a population of 20,000 or more outside of metropolitan statistical areas.
On the other hand, an indirect investment is suitable for investors seeking to invest passively in targeted employment areas, which are government-selected regional centers. As of April 2023, there are 640 approved regional centers across the United States. Click here for the full list of these regional centers. Being an indirect investor means that you will be passively investing in one of these regional centers; thus, you will not necessarily be actively managing the business like you would if you selected the direct investment route.
An indirect investment requires a minimum of $800,000 into a qualifying targeted employment area project.
The main difference between the two options, aside from the direct investment route requiring a minimum of $1.05 million capital in a non-targeted employment area, is that the direct route is the more hands-on opportunity for investors who seek active management participation. The indirect route typically does not need the investor to actively participate in the project’s management as it is a passive and pooled project opportunity.
EB-5 Cost: Filling Fee
Another required EB-5 cost is the petition filing fees. Here are the filing fees for each step of the EB-5 application process:
Form I-526 filing EB-5 cost: $3,675
Form I-485 filing EB-5 cost: $1,140 (this is if adjustment of status is required, for applicants already in the U.S.)
Form I-829 filing EB-5 cost: $3,750
Legal and Immigration Attorney Fees
While it is possible to file your case without an immigration attorney, we strongly recommend hiring one specializing in EB-5 visas to ensure your EB-5 case is compelling and presented accurately and completely.
The EB-5 visa is one of the most complicated in the U.S. immigration system. Not all immigration attorneys handle EB-5 cases due to their complexity, which is usually reflected in the fees. We strongly advise you to set aside at least $15,000 to $25,000 for your immigration attorney fees. Some very experienced and competent EB-5 immigration attorneys can charge up to $50,000.
Lastly, ensure you hire an immigration attorney with a flat fee, as hourly rates may become more expensive in the long run.
Many EB-5 investors utilize escrow services to securely hold and manage their funds until certain conditions are met. Escrow accounts ensure the proper handling and disbursement of your investment, offering peace of mind that your financial commitment is managed with transparency and accountability. It also demonstrates your commitment to the investment. Escrow fees vary depending on the escrow agent, but it is often a percentage of the total fund.
Medical examination fee – The medical examination occurs after the I-526 approval and before the interview. The USCIS does not regulate medical examination fees; it depends on the qualifying doctor or institution conducting it, but it can typically range from $100 to $500.
Travel – You should factor in travel expenses if you are required to travel for your EB-5 application, whether for the medical examination, interview, legal consultation, or other purposes. This can include airfare, accommodation, transportation, and meals. Travel costs are variable and depend on your location and the frequency of travel.
Translation services – If your documents are not in English, they must be professionally translated. EB-5 cost for this service vary depending on the provider, but many charges per page.
Business plan – A well-written, complete, and compelling business plan is a must for a successful EB-5 case. Hiring professional services can save you the hassle of ensuring your business plan meets the EB-5 visa’s requirements. EB-5 cost for business plan depend largely on the provider, but it typically starts at $3,500.
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