The United States Employment Based Immigrant Visa in the Fifth Category (“EB5”) provides for two types of EB5 Work Visa filings:

  • EB5 Regional Center Filings (“Regional Center EB5”)
  • EB5 Direct Filings (“Direct EB5”)
In return for investing USD 800,000 or USD 1,050,000 in an EB-5 project, the Regional Center EB5 and Direct EB5 programs both enable investors and their dependent family members to obtain Permanent Residency status in the United States. Permanent Residency status is commonly referred to as a “Green Card”.

What is EB5 Direct?

EB5 Direct is an EB5 filing which is not made through an EB5 Regional Center. EB5 Regional Center projects have the advantage of being able to count certain indirect and induced jobs. An EB5 Direct project can only count jobs direct created by the project, otherwise known as “W2 jobs”.
EB5 Direct is frequently used by an individual investor to obtain a Green Card by investing in their own or a family member’s business. This is often referred to a “own business EB5”. While the EB5 Regional Center program was suspended in 2021 EB5 Direct also became a popular way for project developers to raise capital from multiple investors.

What is EB5 Direct Used for?

Common uses for Direct EB5 include:

  • Investing in an existing business
  • Investing in a family-owned business
  • Starting your own business
  • Adjusting an E2 Visa to a Green Card
  • Adjusting and L1 Visa or other non-immigrant visa to a Green Card
  • Offering investors the ability to obtain a Green Card

Any project that requires the requisite amount of investment capital which creates at least ten jobs potentially qualifies for EB5 Direct. Examples of projects our clients have undertaken include:

  • Opening gas stations
  • Adding convenience stores to gas stations
  • Opening and expanding trucking and transportation businesses
  • Opening a chain of hair salons
  • Building hotels
  • Building factories

In order to obtain US Permanent Residency through Direct EB5 investors need to:

  1. invest a minimum of USD 800,000 in a qualifying project; and
  2. evidence that their investment has created ten (10) new jobs

Direct EB5 requires an investment of USD 800,000 if the project is located in a Targeted Employment Area (“TEA”) or Rural Area and USD 1,050,000 if the project is not located in a TEA or Rural Area. A Targeted Employment Area is an area designated by the Department of Homeland Security as being less economically developed or suffering from high unemployment.

It is strongly recommended that EB5 investors retain an experienced EB5 Direct lawyer to guide them through the following process:

  1. Identify a qualifying business or investment project
  2. Determine the funding needed for the project
  3. Determine whether the project is suitable for Direct EB5 investment
  4. Determine whether the project is located in a Targeted Employment Area
  5. Devise a project funding strategy
  6. Make sure you are able to prove the lawful source of your EB5 investment capital
  7. Retain a corporate lawyer familiar with Direct EB5 to work with your EB5 lawyer to properly structure your EB5 Direct project
  8. Prepare a business plan clearly documenting how your EB5 investment will directly create ten new jobs
  9. Ensure all regulatory and licensing requirements have been met
  10. Fund your Direct EB5 investment. Our firm typically Direct EB5 investment into an escrow account to be spent on items in the business plan most closely tied to job creation
  11. Prepare and file an I526 package
  12. After approval of your I-526 you will receive a Conditional Green Card.
  13. Two years after receiving your Conditional Green Card you will need to file form I-829 to remove the conditions on that Green Card.
Raising Capital Using EB5 Direct

Although the recent passage ot the RIA made it harder to raise capital from foreign investors using Direct Eb5 it is still possible to do so. This is especially the case where smaller numbers of investors are involved.
It also remains possible to combine EB5 Direct and EB5 Regional Center approaches in the same project.
At Davies & Associates we place a team of lawyers around every client seeking to use raise EB5-capital. This team involves a senior and experienced EB5 lawyer together with corporate lawyers, typically a taxation lawyer, real estate lawyers and corporate lawyers. Our firm also has a specialist team which works to prepare EB5 Direct Business Plans.
Our deep knowledge of international markets and EB5 investors uniquely positions us to assist business owners seeking to raise capital through EB5.

Direct EB5 FAQ

No. Jobs created for Direct EB5 generally need to meet the following conditions:

  • Require at least 35 Hours per week
  • Be newly created or to be created in the two years following I526 approval
  • If created in the future must have compelling evidence

The Integrity and Reform Act of 2022 (“RIA”) made several changes to the Direct EB5 Program. These changes included an attempt to restrict the use of “Pooled Direct EB5” to a single investor. Pooled Direct EB5 involves multiple investors making an EB5 qualifying investment in a single project. Despite the changes in the RIA there remain ways in which an experienced EB5 Direct lawyer can structure an EB5 Direct project to allow multiple investors to obtain a Green Card from a single EB5 Direct project.

Mark Ivan Davies leads our firm’s Direct EB5 team. Mark is consistently voted one of the Top 25 EB5 lawyers in the world, is frequently quoted by the world’s major newspapers and has been recognized by the White House for his contributions to the legal profession. Please contact us here if you've any question


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