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Sharad Reddy, EB-5 investor

Sharad Reddy, EB-5 investor

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Frequently asked questions

What is the process to getting permanent U.S. residence?

The EB-5 process has four main steps. 1) Select an appropriate EB-5 project. 2) File your investor petition (Form I-526). 3) Once your petition is approved you’ll receive conditional permanent residency (a Green Card), that lasts two years. To enter the U.S., you’ll file form DS-260 in your home country, or form I-485 if you are already living int the U.S. 4) File for removal of conditions (Form I-829) two years after attaining your conditional permanent residency.

How much does it cost?

A Targeted Employment Area (TEA) investment is $500,000. Add an administration fee that is typically $50,000 to $80,000, and lawyer fees of $15,000 to $25,000, and a USCIS filing fee of $3,675.

How long will it take to get my green card?

Speak with your immigration lawyer about your specific case, but USCIS recently posted average I-526 processing time of 14.2 months.

A consular interview can usually be scheduled within 1-6 months from your EB-5 approval. Adjustment of status (I-485) processing can be very quick, as you are already in the U.S.

What are my chances of success?

The EB-5 petition (I-526) approval rates for the fiscal years 2017–2020 are 92%, 90%, 78%, and 75%, respectively. The application to remove conditions on permanent residency (I-829) have had approval rates of 98%, 96%, 94%, and 95% for those years. These numbers are averages and include investors who have been defrauded and who haven’t done their due diligence. If you conduct proper due diligence, it stands to reason that you should have better than average chances for success.

Due diligence should confirm three general elements: 1) A smart plan with reasonable projections and logical market feasibility. 2) The investment is run by professionals with experience, 3.) The project is fully capitalized to execute on the plan. Without those elements you’re exposing yourself to more risk and lowering your chances of success.

What is an expedited project?

An expedited EB-5 project is one that is considered by the U.S. government to serve a compelling government or public interest. These determinations can result in shorter processing times for both the project (exemplar expedite) and the investor (investor expedite).

How long will my application process take with an approved ‘investor expedite’?

There are a few expedited projects currently in the market, and we’ve seen investors tending to receive approval within six months, and sometimes in just weeks. Remember that an expedited project does not mean that the investment has less immigration or financial risk.

What sort of return can I expect from my investment?

On the eb5Marketplace investment platform, rates of return have ranged from 0.25% - 8% per annum. (However, past performance cannot be a guarantee of future results.)

Why don’t EB-5 investments offers the same ROI as typical investments?

There are two reasons why EB-5 capital is less attractive to strong projects: the cost to properly structure an EB-5 investment, and the uncertainty of when EB-5 funds will become available to the project. Thus, to offset these factors and make EB-5 capital attractive, a strong project will require a significant saving on the cost of EB-5 capital. This saving is reflected in the return offered to investors.

How are EB-5 investments structured?

Regulations require that EB-5 investments must be equity investments. But often the EB-5 fund that collects EB-5 capital then makes a loan to the job-creating entity (JCE). Investors are typically repaid from the redemption of the loan by the EB-5 fund.

Are most investments $500,000?

Yes. To qualify for the $500,000 investment amount (instead of $1,000,000) the project must be located in a qualifying rural area or a high-unemployment area (50% above national average). Most of the investments currently on eb5Marketplace are $500,000 investments.

Can an EB-5 investment be a loan?

Yes. The proceeds of a loan can be used to make an EB-5 investment, but the loan can not be secured by the project being invested in.

Historically, investors were prohibited from using unsecured loans for their investment, but in 2020 the D.C. Circuit court ruled that EB-5 investors can use the proceeds of unsecured loans for their investment capital. Consult with your lawyer.

Would a gift from a relative, or a gift to a child, colleague or friend, qualify for some or all of the $500,000 capital investment?

Yes, you may use a gift to finance your EB-5 investment. However, the details of the gift (person, timing, source of their funds, etc.) need to be evidenced in your I-526 petition, as part or all of your Source of Funds review.

Can I include my parents on my petition?

No. Only spouses and unmarried children under 21 may be included (as derivatives) on a petition.

Can I apply for EB-5 while on H-1B?

Yes. Many investors have chosen this path.

How is an EB-5 visa better than other visas?

It is permanent. You can live and work anywhere in the U.S. and its territories; children can attend university at in-state tuition rates; no language requirements; and it’s relatively simple. Further, an EB-5 visa allows you to apply for U.S. citizenship after five years.

Can I invest funds that originated in cryptocurrency?

Yes, you can, if you can provide clear evidence that the digital assets are of legal origin and that you were the owner.

Proving that this investment capital was obtained legally and was owned by an investor is challenging due to the perceived anonymity of cryptocurrency. Thus, it is critical to develop a source of funds strategy with an attorney who understands cryptocurrency and how USCIS perceives it.

Typically, the investor converts his digital currency into conventional currency before giving his funds to the investment project. However, when proceeds from the sale of digital currency come from a country with no legal framework for cryptocurrency exchange, USCIS may question the legality of these funds. An experienced attorney will help provide evidence of the transaction in terms applicable to the conventional sale of assets, with as much transparency as possible, and all required taxes paid.

Can I invest in my own business?

Yes, and it is referred to as a “direct investment.” Direct investments require an active management role for the investor and must create 10 jobs without multipliers like indirect and induced job creation.

Regional center investing represents more than 95% of all EB-5 investments because it allows passive investment, offers easier job-creation requirements, and typically has faster processing times.

Can I create a new business and immigrate on an E-2 visa, then convert to EB-5 later?

Yes. This can be done through a job-creating business with an investment of approximately $200,000, and then increasing the investment to $500,000, so long as 10 jobs are created. We can introduce potential E-2 applicants to business brokers and immigration lawyers.

Will I get my money back?

All EB-5 investments must be “at risk,” as per USCIS program requirements. But the risk of getting your capital returned in a timely manner is manageable. And investment due diligence is vital.

If my EB-5 petition gets denied, do I get my money back or do I have to stay invested?

Most regional center offerings promise to repay investors if their EB-5 petition is denied; but the terms and structure can differ greatly. Differences include under what circumstances an investor is fully refunded, whether the money is set aside for such a purpose, and from whom the repayment will be made, since the EB-5 capital will have already been invested in the project by the time the application is denied.

After moving to the U.S. how much time can I spend outside the U.S.?

There is a reasonable amount of flexibility in terms of traveling outside the U.S. for periods of up to six months, but you will need a Re-entry Permit if you intend to be outside the U.S. for a year or more. Consult with your lawyer.

Is my child eligible for lower tuition rates once they have a Green Card?

Yes, and the savings can be significant. Children with a Green Card can qualify for in-state tuition fees which are often a fraction of what international students pay. Students can also benefit from scholarships and grants — and better acceptance rates than international students.

Is the EB-5 program set to expire on June 30th, 2021?

The EB-5 regional center program legislation was passed in 1992 as a “pilot” program and has been subject to regular extensions since then. Extensions early on were typically for five-year periods but over the last five years the program has relied on short-term extensions (less than one year).

On multiple occasions in the past the program has expired temporarily only to be reauthorized again.

The program currently has an expiration date of June 30th, 2021, and Congress will be instrumental in its continuation. Leading senators are demanding more investor protections be included in any reauthorization, and this effort is embodied in the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2020; we believe this bill will pass and thereby extend the program until 2026.

We at eb5Marketplace are confident that the EB-5 Regional Center Program will be reauthorized, as it has an opportunity role to play in helping stimulate the U.S. economy — especially as a result of the impact of COVID-19.