The EB-5 Visa and Commercial Real Estate

Los Angeles, and Santa Monica where I work, both attract investors from all over the world. Real state is big business here, and naturally, foreign investors want to know how to get involved.

Good news: you can.

The EB-5 visa is a U.S. sponsored government program that allows foreign citizens to invest in commercial enterprises in America and to obtain lawful permanent residence status – a green card. This is a path to US citizenship for interested investors, especially commercial real estate investors. Read on to learn more.


The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created in 1990, launched the EB-5 visa in 1992, and became popular after the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Foreign investors finance business in the United States that employ American workers. These businesses are located nationwide in areas with high unemployment and need economic development needs.

Foreign investors and their immediate family are eligible to live in the U.S. through this program.


Each year, the program is renewed by the current administration. As of 2019, new requirements are in effect. You can find the EB-5 application here.

  • Standard minimum investment: $1.8 million
  • Minimum TEA investment: $900,000
  • Job Creation: minimum of 10 American workers employed full-time
  • Business: must own a commercial enterprise (sole prop, partnership, corporation, JV, trust, etc.)
  • Location: rural areas and/or high-unemployment areas; possibly others

Additional Details

  • Approximate maximum of 10,000 EB-5 visas are issued each year
  • Yearly applications range from approximately 16,000 to over 60,000
  • Cannot include noncommercial activity, such as owning private residences
  • Foreign investors may wait from three years to more than 16 to receive a green card
  • Foreign investors receive no immigration benefits while waiting and must keep capital invested while waiting and for two years after conditional residency is granted
  • Capital can be re-deployed while foreign investors wait for residency

Should you invest with a private equity fund? Read about that HERE.



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