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Understanding Direct Investment in the EB-5 Program

Understanding Direct Investment in the EB-5 Program

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program offers foreign nationals the opportunity to invest in U.S. businesses and obtain permanent residency. There are two main pathways within this program: Regional Center investments and Direct Investments. This blog focuses on the Direct Investment pathway, highlighting what it entails and providing examples.

What is a Direct Investment?

A direct investment in the EB-5 program involves an individual investor directly infusing capital into a U.S. business, either by starting a new business or investing in an existing one. The primary requirement is that the investment must create at least 10 full-time, permanent jobs for U.S. workers. Unlike investments through Regional Centers, which pool funds from multiple investors for larger projects, direct investments require a more hands-on approach from the investor.

Key Requirements

  • Minimum Investment Amount: The standard minimum investment is $1,050,000, but this amount is reduced to $800,000 if the investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), which includes rural or high-unemployment areas.
  • Job Creation: The investment must create and sustain at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers within two years of the investor's admission to the United States.

Examples of Direct Investment Projects

  1. Restaurants: Opening or investing in a restaurant can be a viable EB-5 direct investment. This type of business typically requires a significant workforce, making it easier to meet the job creation requirement.
  2. Manufacturing Plants: Establishing or expanding a manufacturing facility is another common example. These businesses often need a large number of employees, thus fitting well with the job creation mandate.
  3. Retail Stores: Investing in retail businesses, such as a chain of grocery stores or specialty shops, can also qualify as a direct investment. The retail sector's constant demand for customer service roles helps meet employment criteria.
  4. Healthcare Facilities: Clinics, elder care facilities, and other healthcare-related businesses are also popular choices. These establishments not only fulfill the job creation requirement but also provide essential services to communities.
  5. Technology Startups: For those interested in the tech industry, investing in a startup can be an attractive option. While riskier, successful startups can grow rapidly and create numerous jobs.
  6. Hotels: Investing in hotels is a prominent example of a direct investment. The hospitality industry requires a significant number of employees, from management to housekeeping, which helps in meeting the job creation requirements. Additionally, hotels cater to both tourism and business travel, ensuring a steady demand for services.

Benefits and Challenges


  • Control: Investors have direct control over their investment, allowing for closer management and oversight.
  • Job Creation Clarity: Direct investments often provide clearer documentation and evidence of job creation, which can be advantageous during the immigration process.


  • Risk: Direct investments can be riskier, especially if the business fails to generate the required jobs.
  • Involvement: This pathway requires active involvement and management, which might not be suitable for all investors.

Final thoughts

Direct investments in the EB-5 program offer a hands-on approach for foreign investors looking to obtain U.S. residency. By directly investing in a U.S. business and fulfilling the job creation requirements, investors can make a significant impact on the local economy while securing their immigration status. From restaurants and retail stores to manufacturing plants, tech startups, and hotels, there are numerous opportunities for those willing to take an active role in their investment.

However, direct investment applications require a thorough and comprehensive business plan that clearly demonstrates how the investment will create the required jobs and meet all EB-5 requirements. To ensure your project is realistic and compliant, reach out to Visa Business Plans for invaluable assistance. We specialize in crafting detailed and compliant business plans that support your EB-5 direct investment petition effectively having helped hundreds of EB-5 direct investors call the U.S. home.

The information provided in this blog is intended solely for informational purposes. While we strive to offer accurate and up-to-date content, it should not be considered legal advice. Immigration laws and regulations are subject to change, and individual circumstances can vary widely. For personalized guidance and legal advice regarding your specific immigration situation, we strongly recommend consulting with a qualified immigration attorney who can provide you with tailored assistance and ensure compliance with current laws and regulations.

Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in four different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.

Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.

At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.

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