How to Apply for US Investor Visa

There are various ways of immigrating to the United States of America, one of them is through the Immigrant Investor Visa. The US investor visa allows an individual who wishes to work in the US without an employer to become eligible for a visa. This visa allows this person to move to the US and start his/ her own business. However, this opportunity is not for all countries, and those countries that qualify for this visa have to meet several criteria and go through several steps before they can be granted the visa.


Step By Step Approach to Applying For a US Investor Visa

Step 1:        Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria

The first step in applying for a US investor visa is to ensure you meet all the requirements. The primary requirements for an EB-5 visa include the following:

  • You must meet the minimum capital amount of over $ 1 million in a new commercial area (i.e. areas outside the Targeted Employment Area (TEA)) or $800,000 in areas of high unemployment rate (i.e. areas under the Targeted Employment Areas)
  • Your investment must create at least ten (10) new full-time job opportunities for qualifying US workers for at least two (2) years
  • You must prove that the capital you are going to invest with is lawfully sourced and comes only from legitimate means. It is advisable to provide documents that prove the legality of your funds
  • Your investment must be approved by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This allows you to take advantage of indirect job creation, which can expand the scope of qualifying employed positions in the school

Step 2:        Choose the Right Investment Option

Once you satisfy all the eligibility requirements, you need to select the vestment option that matches your preference. There are only two investment options available to make you eligible for a US Investor Visa:

The Direct Investment

The direct investment method means you create your own commercial enterprise or acquire it through any legal means. This means you will be responsible for managing the day-to-day operations and ensuring the success of the investment. If you acquire an existing business, you must prove that the business/investment has directly created at least 10 new jobs for permanent residents or citizens of the US.

Investment in Regional Centers

There are various regional centers approved by the USCIS that allow you to take advantage of indirect job creation. This basically means the people your investment hires are going to work for other companies. Here, the investor visa applicants are majorly concerned about the immigration aspect of their investment and not necessarily the monetary returns. You can find the list of USCIS-approved regions here.


Step 2:        Complete the Form I-526

The next step after determining your eligibility is to fill out the investment visa application form, Form I-526. You will be required to fill out the form to prove your eligibility for the EB-5 visa. You will be required to fill in details about your investment, business plan for the investment plan, your source of funds, etc. You will also be required to provide supporting documents. You can find the form on the USCIS website. Once the USCIS reviews your application, it will be sent to the National Visa Center (NVC) for processing. The National Visa Center will reach out to you and request you pay the relevant processing fees and also submit the required documents. The NVS will also provide information on how you will pay the fee and also where to pay the fee.


Step 3:        Apply for an Immigrant Visa and Schedule an Interview

Once you have submitted your documents and paid the necessary fees to the NVC, you will be required to apply for an immigrant visa. You will provide details about your personal information, your purpose of travel, and other necessary details. After filling out the application form, you will need to schedule an interview at the US Embassy or consulate of your home country.

The NVC will send you information about the documents you need to bring along for your interview. The interview will let the USCIS officers verify your information and ask you further questions about your proposed investment.


Step 4:        Temporary Green Card Issuance

Once you have completed the interview and everything goes well, the US Embassy will issue your immigrant investor visa, which comes with a 2-year conditional permanent residency. This is called the two-year Green Card. During this two-year period, you must ensure to meet the job creation requirements and as well maintain your investment. You should make sure you keep accurate records and documentation of information related to your investment and job creation in the US.

After receiving your temporary green card, you can proceed to file Form I-485.  Form I-485, which is the Adjustment of Status form, will help you remove the conditions of your temporary residency and grant you permanent residency in the United States once approved. However, the filing is only for applicants that are already in the United States



Step 5:        Filing of Form I-829

Form I-829 is known as the Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions Form. It is usually filled near the end of the two-year condition period i.e. conditional permanent residency. To be able to file this form, you must have met all the requirements of qualifying for the investor visa which includes full-time job creation for at least two years and your investment remaining in place. You will be requested to provide supporting documents such as your financial records, tax returns, payroll documents, etc. to back up your claims.

Once your Form I-829 is approved, all conditions of your provisional residency will be removed and you will be granted permanent residency in the US. However, if you are already living in the US, you do not need to file for this form. You can just file for Form I-485 to lift the conditions and obtain your permanent residency.


Step 6:        Applying for Citizenship

After holding US permanent residency for at least five years, you may be eligible to apply for US Citizenship if you wish. This typically involves you filing Form N-400, which is the Application for Neutralization form. After filing the form, you will undergo an interview and examination to test your knowledge of the history of the United States and its rules and regulations.

The process of applying for a US investor visa is usually around the period of 13 months, starting from the time you submit your application with the USCIS. The processing period might be longer depending on your country and other factors pertaining to your situation.



The process of applying for a US Investor visa is a very complex and expensive one. It is highly recommendable to seek the experience of legal representatives such as an immigration attorney or consultant who specializes in investor visas to guide and help you throughout the process and ensure that your application is complete, accurate, and meets all requirements. By following the laid out guidelines, you can familiarize yourself with the steps and increase your chance of having a successful application.