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Helping Investors Obtain Visas in the United States

Every year, about 140,000 immigrants come to the United States through immigrant visas that are employment-based. These visas are divided into 5 different preference categories, the fifth of which are immigrant investors or immigrant entrepreneurs. Employment Fifth Preference, or E5 visas, are available for investors who are foreign nationals seeking to come to the U.S. to engage or participate in new commercial enterprises that will benefit the economy of the United States through capital investment and job creation. Of all of the employment-based visas that are issued, immigrants who are investors receive typically up to 7.1 percent of them.

In order to be eligible for an immigrant investor visa, you must be able to invest in a qualifying commercial enterprise, without borrowing funds, the following minimum qualifying capital dollar amounts:

  • $1 million (in U.S. currency); or
  • $500,000 (in U.S. currency) in a rural area or an area experiencing high unemployment rates. These areas are considered targeted employment areas.

In addition, within two years, an investment that qualifies must create full time jobs for at least ten United States citizens, green card holders (permanent residents), or any other immigrants who have authorization to work in the U.S. However, these ten positions cannot include the investor themselves, or the investor’s children or spouse.


The immigrant investor E5 visa is broken down into four categories. These categories include:

  • C5 – Creating employment outside of a target area
  • T5 – Creating employment in a target rural area or area with a high unemployment rate
  • R5 – An Investor Pilot Program that is not in a target area
  • I5 – An Investor Pilot Program that is in a target area


In order to obtain an investor visa, you will be required to file a petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and once your petition is approved, you must complete a visa application, provide all of the necessary immigrant visa documents, and undergo medical examinations. If your petition is approved, your spouse and your unmarried minor children will also be able to apply for immigrant visas with you.

It’s important to note that because employment-based immigrant investor visas are limited in number, it may take longer before a visa is issued. Unfortunately, the amount of time it actually takes to obtain an investor visa is unpredictable as it depends on your case, whether application instructions are followed properly, whether additional administrative processing is required, and again, whether an investor visa is actually available. If you are deemed ineligible for an investor visa, you will be informed by the consular officer who will also advise you as to whether you are eligible for a waiver of the ineligibility.