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EB5 Visa Cost: Smart Investments for Your American Dream

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Introduction

The EB5 visa costs can be considered the most pricey aspect of the application process. One of the requirements to acquire the visa and eventually gain permanent resident status is to make a minimum investment depending on the area of your choice.

Under the EB-5 visa, foreign investors can invest in an existing business, buy an existing business, or establish a new business. The investment doesn’t have to be in the form of cash but also in the form of inventory, cash equivalents, equipment, or tangible property.

As with other visa categories, there are several costs related to an EB5 visa application which you must know so you can properly make the required minimum investment and pay the required fees.

Minimum Investment Amount for an EB-5 visa

There are two options for investment given to EB5 foreign investors:

  • A minimum investment of $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), a rural or high-unemployment area.

  • A minimum investment of $1.05 million in businesses located in non-TEAs.

The investment is the highest and most important cost that you would need to consider to acquire an EB5 visa. It is the required minimum amount that you would need to invest to satisfy one of the requirements.

You have the option to either start a business, invest in an existing business, buy an existing business, or invest in a regional centre.

The most recent EB5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 changed the minimum investment amount to reflect the updated cost of living and inflation rates in the U.S.

Form I-526 Filing Fee

To acquire an EB5 visa, you must first file a Form I-526 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur) which will be processed by the USCIS after you have paid the filing fee of $3,675. This fee is paid once, for you and your dependent family members included in your application.

Form I-485 Filing Fee

Upon the approval of Form I-526, you might need to file a Form I-485 if you are in the U.S. under a valid nonimmigrant status. If you have dependent family members, they will also need to file this form individually.

The processing fee for Form I-485 is $1,140 with an additional $85 for the biometrics which can be reduced depending on your age.

Form I-829 Filing Fee

Once you have acquired your EB5 visa, you are given a conditional permanent residence status for 2 years. Three months before the expiry of your status, you can apply for the removal of the conditions on your status by filing a Form I-829 and paying the filing fee of $3,750 with the USCIS.

You and your dependents would need to pay an additional $85 each for the biometrics.

Legal Fees

While you can handle the EB5 visa application by yourself, it is still highly recommended that you seek the assistance and consultation of an EB5 visa lawyer who can help handle your case. Moreover, it is firmly advised that you don’t attempt to file the case yourself. The complexity and rigorous process can be difficult to handle, and even most immigration lawyers choose not to handle EB5 cases due to its complexity.

The immigration lawyer legal fee can depend on different factors including the experience of the lawyer, expertise, their services, and whether they charge a one-time fee or hourly. It’s better to consult with your trusted experienced immigration lawyer regarding their fees.

Adjustment of Status Fee and Immigrant Visa Application Fee

Despite the approval of your Form I-526 petition, this doesn’t confer you the EB5 visa. You must apply for an immigrant visa through the consular processing or adjustment of status through the USCIS. 

Adjustment of status when you go from a nonimmigrant status to immigrant status, and to undergo such process, you need to be lawfully staying in the U.S. under a valid nonimmigrant visa which allows for the adjustment of status. The filing fee is $1,225 per person, which can be less depending on your age.

Visa processing, on the other hand, is the process outside the U.S. with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country. Here, you must file a Form DS-260 for $345 per person.

EB-5 Visa Business Plan Expenses

If you choose to make a direct investment, either to start a new business, buy an existing business, or invest in an existing business, you are required to submit a business plan together with your petition.

Due to the requirements of the business plan, it’s highly recommended that it be prepared by a company that specialises or has experience in EB5 business plans. Please take note that regional centers approved by the USCIS are proposals based on promoting economic growth. Generally, it would cost you $3,500 to have a business plan made by a qualified professional.

Regional Center Administration Fees

You have the choice to either make a direct investment or invest in a regional centre. Regional centres are business entities designated by the USCIS that collect funds from foreign investors to develop projects and other major developments.

If you choose to invest in one, your role in managing the project is very limited. They also charge, generally, an administration fee from $50,000 to $70,000 depending on the regional center. This is because the managing directors will manage the business and handle other management tasks.

Business Entity Formation Expenses

You may set up a new business entity if you choose to make a direct investment for your EB5 visa. To do this, you can work with a lawyer or another company to form your business entity. The fee you will have to pay will depend on the company or lawyer you will work with.

Document Translations

There are a lot of supporting relevant documents that you need to submit together with your case when you apply for an EB5 visa. These documents may be your birth certificate, bank statements, and tax payments among others. If they are in your local language, they must be translated into English by a certified translator before they are submitted to the USCIS.

You will need to work with a certified translating company, and the fees you must pay will vary depending on the company you have chosen or how fast you need the translated documents.

EB-5 Visa Direct Investment Expenses

There are different costs associated with a direct investment once you have chosen to do one. Compared to a regional centre, the investor has a business idea that they will implement in the U.S. Moreover, the requirement of job creation may be done solely by the investor through direct jobs for qualified U.S. employees.

In regional centres, the cost of pre-structuring the investment is paid by the investor through administrative fees. In a direct investment, there is no administrative fee to be paid.

However, any professional fee to ensure that the EB5 investment is compliant is paid by the investor alone. The costs may include legal fees, business plan costs, economist fees, and reporting fees among others.

The investor would need to pay for a TEA report fee costs $500 to $1,000 as they are required to obtain their report. This is because investors who structure their investments located in a TEA will need to prepare a report to be submitted together with their petition to prove to the USCIS that the investment is located within a TEA.

In direct investments, the investor must also show a business plan that complies with the EB5 visa. The cost can vary depending on the nature of the business they want to invest in and depending on the company or individual they hire. Each business plan must be supported by market research regarding the business industry, which can be an additional cost for the investor.

Moreover, due to the complexity of an EB5 direct investment it’s highly recommended that you seek the counsel of the best US immigration lawyer Singapore has to offer who can help increase your chances of getting approved and make sure your application and documents comply with the requirements.

If you’re establishing a new business, you would need to also require the services of a corporate attorney or if your business is related to real estate, you may need to hire a real estate lawyer. You may pay additional legal fees depending on the nature of your business, which you will bear alone.

EB-5 Visa Regional Center Investment Expenses

Investment in regional centres is the most common type of investment for an EB5 visa. Generally, the investor invests in a prepared investment structure where a regional centre has established a new commercial enterprise. This commercial enterprise will make a loan or equity investment known as a job-creating entity (JCE).

A regional centre is pre-structured and requires an administrative fee, which can go from $50,000 to $70,000. Moreover, the immigration lawyer has less work in a regional centre than in a direct investment. Their focus is to ensure that your source of funds complies with the requirements so there’s a chance the legal fee can be less.

Aside from these, you may pay for filing fees such as the Form I-526 petition for $3,675. Please take note that filing fees are subject to changes with the U.S. Government at any time.

Another cost you would need to pay is when obtaining a conditional green card after the approval of your petition. This happens after the visa becomes available since only a limited number of EB5 visas are issued each year. Once a visa number becomes available, if you are outside the U.S. you must have your application processed in the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your home country, which is $345 per person. After the immigrant visa has been issued, you can enter the U.S. and the USCIS will produce your green card and mail it to your U.S. address, which will also cost you $220.

If you are already staying in the U.S. under another status, you would need to file an adjustment of status with a filing fee of $1,140 together with the $85 biometrics fee per person but the fee may be reduced depending on your age.

Three months before the expiry of your visa, you can remove the conditions on your green card by filing a Form I-829 petition for $3, 750 for you and your dependent family members. If your dependent family members enter the U.S. or have their adjustment of status later than you, they may have to file their petition which would require another filing fee.

Travel and Relocation Expenses

Since you’ll be moving and relocating to the U.S., you would also need to factor in travel and relocation costs not only for you but also for your dependent family members if they are coming with you to the U.S. You might need one trip to the U.S. to obtain the conditional green card, but generally, you may factor multiple trips in the U.S.

Tax Considerations

Since you’ll be having temporary permanent residency in the U.S., you might need the help of tax lawyers who can help you determine the tax consequences of obtaining a green card and living in the U.S. You might pay not only legal fees but also taxes that may be due.

Reducing EB5 Visa Cost

The costs of obtaining an EB5 visa can be overwhelming, so we have compiled some tips which you can use to reduce your expenses.

First, it’s important that you carefully research your EB5 investment options. Good research on the legitimacy and record of success can help minimize any risks related to investing.

Second, it’s crucial to work with an experienced immigration lawyer. While hiring a lawyer can be considered an expense, they can minimize any cost you would have to bear throughout your application as they will help make things complete and accurate without any more room for more costly delays. Moreover, they can also provide you with a professional consultation if an EB5 visa is the perfect option based on your circumstances, goals, and needs which may help you before investing.

Another way to minimize your costs is to consider investing in a TEA as this would significantly reduce the minimum investment amount you would need to do to acquire an EB5 visa.

Moreover, you also have the option to look for cost-effective regional centres that have low administrative fees but have a good record of success.

Finally, one of the ways to minimize your costs is to plan your application and budget well. This can help you avoid any unexpected costs.

EB5 Visa Cost FAQs

How do I get my money back after making my EB5 investment in a regional centre?

You can expect to get your money back once the developer has successfully developed and executed the development project through the regional centre. Please take note that any return on investment depends on the repayment of the loan by the JCE and the liquidation of the NCE by the manager.

Can I take a loan to make the costs more affordable?

Yes, you can take a loan to fund your EB5 investment and other costs. However, there are several requirements which you must take note of before making a loan.

Can the EB5 visa work for me?

Yes, the EB5 visa can work for you as long as your investment funds are at risk and have created 10 full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

What is the average rate of return on investment that I can expect?

Secure investments can give a 1% to 3% rate on return, generally.

What can I submit to prove the source of my funds?

You can submit documents to prove the lawful source of your EB5 investment, such as how the money was earned or accumulated. Please note that you should submit all and as many as possible documents relating to the source of funds no matter how they were obtained or earned.

Do I need to open a U.S. bank account?

Yes, you need to open a U.S. bank account so that you can send the funds from your account to a third party. This helps when you have opted for an EB5 Escrow Account where the escrow agent will receive, hold, and disburse the money once conditions are met, which is usually once your application has been approved.

Do I have tax obligations as an investor?

You can consult with a tax professional to understand your tax obligations as an EB5 investor. You may be subject to federal, state, and local taxes on your worldwide income as a conditional permanent resident. There may be deductions and credits, however, which can help you with your tax situation.

What are other sources eligible as sources of funds?

Aside from loans, there are other sources of funds for your EB5 investment such as gifts, settlements and inheritance. They also require sufficient supporting documents to prove their legitimacy during your application.

How much does acquiring an EB5 cost?

To acquire an EB5 visa, you will need to make a minimum investment of $800,00 or $1.05 million depending on if you made your investment in a TEA. Aside from the investment, you also bear additional costs such as filing fees, administrative fees, taxes, legal fees, travel fees, and translation fees among others.

Conclusion

There are a lot of costs that an investor must bear when applying for an EB5 visa starting from the minimum investment amount up to the necessary filing fees and administrative fees. While hiring an immigration lawyer can be an expense, hiring one is highly recommended before your application is filed as they can help you not only ensure that there are no costly delays but also increase the chances of you getting approved.

Jeremy Abernathy

9 January 2024

I had the pleasure of working with Verdie and Nessa to obtain my E2 Visa. Their in-depth knowledge and experience allowed me to be fully prepared in my application and they were able to answer all questions leading up to the Visa interview.

Saeed Muhammad

15 December 2023

Verdie was an amazing attorney, providing exceptional client care throughout the process. He had a great depth of knowledge in all areas on business visas in the US.

Satya Choudhury

20 September 2023

I had a great experience with Davies & Associates. They are very thorough in the approach and their have experts in this field who know the domain very well.I would certainly be leaning onto them for any future needs as well.

Hoshino Ryuichi

12 September 2023

Thanks to them for handling my E2 visa very professionally. I had a study visa from F1 and changed it to E2. I encountered many problems during the application process. Verdie and Etta were very patient in helping me and it took a long time. I highly recommend this place.

Mark I. Davies
Mark I. Davies
Dual qualified as a lawyer in the United States and the United Kingdom, Mark I. Davies is the Global Managing Partner and founder of our firm. Mark also Chairs our Global Business and Investor visa team and focuses his practice on EB5, L1, E2 and other business and investor visa solutions. A former General Counsel, Mark is relied on as primary counsel to major corporations, investors, non-profits and businesses of all sizes.

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