The EB-5 investor visa program was created in 2005. Since then, it has been responsible for the creation of more than 130,000 new jobs in the US and a total direct foreign investment of more than $6.5 billion.
The EB-5 program allows foreign national to invest in the US in order to program to gain permanent resident status for themselves and their family. They can either invest a minimum of $1 million to start their own business or invest a minimum of $500,000 in an approved Regional Center affiliated commercial enterprise.
Regional Centers the Most Popular Option
Since April 2014, more than 480 Regional Centers have been approved to be part of the EB-5 program. Florida alone has 70 regional centers and, in fact, is one of the top three states for EB-5 activity.
China Leads the Application Pack
While applications for permanent residence through the EB-5 program come from countries all over the world, China leads the pack by a mile, accounting for an estimated 75.42% of all applications. It’s followed by South Korea with 5.67%, Taiwan with 1.79%, and the United Kingdom with 1.78%.
Other leading countries in the EB-5 program are Iran, India, Mexica, Venezuela, and Russia.
Chinese nationals also accounted for more than 80% of the visas issued under the program. A total of 6,900 visas were issued through the program for Chinese national last year, a significant increase from when the program was launched in 2005 when only 16 visas were granted to Chinese investors.
But this could soon change. The US State Department announced recently that beginning in May, the availability of EB-5 investor visas for Chinese nationals will be delayed for an estimated two to three years. The purpose of the move is to relieve the significant backlog of application reviews coming from people from China.