US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

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What is The US EB-5 Visa Program?

The US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, is a US government immigration program which launched in 1990. In 1993, the government created a pilot program called the EB-5 Regional Center Program which allowed groups of investors to passively pool their investments into single projects for a green card. Under the US EB-5 Program, the investor, the investor’s spouse, and children under 21 years of age (at the time the application is submitted) to obtain a US Green Card and Permanent Residency. The applicant will invest a refundable amount of USD $800,000 in an approved EB-5 Regional Center project. 

A Regional Center is an administrative body that has been certified by the US government to oversee EB-5 Visa eligible projects and take on foreign EB-5 investors. The Regional Center also ensures that the project creates 10 full-time jobs for US permanent residents or citizens on behalf of each EB-5 investor. 

Step Global has been privileged to be the only GCC consultancy firm associated with the top five Regional Centers in the EB-5 industry. Thus, conveniently providing investors from this region with access to all the leading EB-5 immigrant investor programs in one place.

Oldest EB-5 advisory team in the region

Associated with the leading top 5 Regional Centers

Highest EB-5 approval rate in the region

US Green Card Benefits

Access to the world's most prominent educational institutions and lower domestic tuition rates
Comparatively relaxed physical requirements to maintain permanent residency
Access to quality healthcare and world-renowned hospitals, clinics and institutions
Visa-free travel to the US with a Green Card & visa-free travel or visa on arrival to over 195 countries with a US passport
Legally live and work in the United States without sponsorship
Access to social security retirement benefits

Investment & Requirement

EB-5 Eligibility Criteria

EB-5 Visa Eligibility Criteria:

The applicant must invest USD $800,000 in an approved EB-5 project which may fall in any of these categories: 

  • targeted employment area (TEA)
  • rural 
  • infrastructure

Any project outside the above reserved categories requires an investment of USD $1,050,000. 

The applicant’s funds will be used by the project to create 10 full-time jobs for US permanent residents or citizens.

The funds must be from a lawful source of income.

F-1 Student Visa Vs. EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 visa offers a solution to most of the concerns faced by international students seeking to study in the United States. Here are some of the most compelling reasons families from the UAE and across the GCC choose the EB-5 Program over other US immigration routes such as the F-1 visa or H-1B visa.

It is well known that the tuition fees for international students in US universities can be exorbitantly high. US public universities offer varying tuition rates for in-state, out-of-state, and international students under F-1 visa. Unfortunately, international students with an F-1 visa application pay on average three times more than domestic students. However, obtaining a green card through EB-5 and becoming a US permanent resident, can be a way for students to achieve domestic tuition rates. These savings can amount to more than $35,000 per year depending on the university, which can be particularly beneficial for families with multiple children or for children who will go on to do multiple degrees in the US.

Every foreign applicant to a US university is competing with students across the globe for a limited number of scholarships available. However, with an EB-5 green card, students are eligible to apply to a larger number of scholarships offered only to US residents, thus increasing the probability of being selected. The various states and the US government also provide grants and 0% loans which are not available to international students but are accessible only for Green Card holders and US citizens.

International students may face difficulties in finding positions both off-campus and on-campus during their education, whether paid or unpaid. F-1 students are limited in the number of hours they may work during their education, are sometimes limited to employment only on campus, and can many times only apply for unpaid positions. 

Green card holders and US citizens are not subject to such restrictions and can work freely, thereby, allowing them to enter a greater employment pool, and also avail themselves of useful work experience opportunities that could help in obtaining employment post-graduation. For example, many of the top law firms in the US will only hire students who have worked for them summer upon summer as an intern.

One of the biggest advantages of a green card via the EB-5 program, is that it removes all the stress of securing an H-1B work visa and employment after graduation. Many F-1 students become increasingly disappointed and frustrated when they find they are forced to leave the US after their studies because they are unable to secure an employer to sponsor them or they are not selected in the H1-B lottery.

F1 Student Visa

EB-5 Visa Application Process


No, to date there are no language requirements to apply to the EB-5 visa program.

No. To date, there are no age restrictions for the EB-5 investor program.

The transfer of your capital is made once the legal team has completed compilation of your I-526E application and immediately prior to its submission with USCIS. The confirmation of your transfer will be included in your application. However, Step Global, an immigration consultant in Dubai, may ask for partial finance and payment plans for our clients depending on the project. This provides investors the flexibility to enter the application queue immediately with a deposit while continuing to fund the total investment in installments over time through a payment plan. 

Should any or all parts of your investment be returned, it can only happen after the sustainment period and/or I-829 petition is filed to ensure to the US government that your funds remained invested. The terms of repayment should be specified in writing within the project offering documents and legal contracts signed between the Regional Centers, developers, and investors at the time of the initial investment.

If your application I-526E is denied, the capital investment which was placed in the U.S. escrow account will be returned to you within a commercially reasonable period of time. The terms of return of capital investment should be specified in writing within the project offering documents and legal contracts signed between the Regional Centers, developers, and investors at the time of the initial investment. Any Sponsorship, legal, and consultancy fees will be deemed non-refundable upon payment.

Yes, a student who is also a green card holder is considered a domestic student and thus pays significantly less for college and university tuition than international students. For instance, undergraduate residents at the top public university in 2022 – the University of California – Los Angeles – paid approximately $13,268 in annual tuition, compared to approximately $43,022 for international students. This means that you can save approximately $30,000 on a yearly basis per child. A student holding a U.S. green card and willing to obtain a master’s degree will save up to $150,000 within five years. This benefit is especially helpful for families who choose to send multiple children to the US for post-secondary education or children who are obtaining multiple degrees.

Yes, you can travel in and out of the US while the EB-5 application is in the process if you have a valid visitor visa. Once your I-526 petition is approved and a conditional green card is issued you can live in the US while awaiting the approval of your I-829 petition for you to become a US permanent resident.

As of March 15, 2022, the US government also introduced the concept of Adjustment of Status (AOS) Concurrent filing for EB-5 applicants. This means that those already in the US on any legal visa status can apply to adjust their status from within the US while waiting for their EB-5 application to be processed. Along with this submission, they can submit for an Employment Authorization Card and Travel Document. Within months, the applicant will have the ability to legally live and work in the US without employer sponsorship while they wait for their EB-5 green card application to process and their visa to be obtained.

In order to apply for US citizenship, you must stay in the US for two and a half years out of five years as a permanent resident/green card holder. This is easy for students who are already studying in the US.

Step Global is an immigration consultancy and advisory firm based in Dubai specializing in facilitating the Canada Startup Visa Program and the Portugal Golden Visa Program, which grant permanent residency in Canada and Portugal, respectively.

Dubai residents may choose to invest in the US EB-5 Investor Visa route if they’re looking to migrate to the United States to access new job opportunities. Many Dubai Residents also apply to the EB-5 Investor visa to unlock educational benefits for their children studying in the United States such as lower tuition fees, access to scholarships and limited program spots, and overcome job limitations during education. The EB-5 Visa Program also allows F-1 international students who have graduated from a US university and were unable to secure an H1-B visa to remain in the US and work without the need of employer sponsorship.

In 2023, the industries or businesses that qualify for the EB-5 visa are generally diverse. While there are no strict industry restrictions, it’s important to meet the program’s criteria for job creation and capital investment. It’s advisable to consult with the Step Global immigration professionals to ensure your business aligns with the program’s guidelines. For those who are not planning to establish a business in the US, they can select and invest in one of the government-approved projects which will be presented to applicants by the Step Global lawyers directly.

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