EB5 Visa and H-1B Visas: What’s the difference?

The fifth preference employment based visa (EB5) was created in 1990 as a way for foreign investors to gain United States permanent residency (and eventual citizenship if desired), through an investment in a new or pre-existing American business that sees the creation of at least 10 new full-time jobs for American workers. The H-1B visas are described by the government’s website as being temporary work visas for “Persons in Specialty Occupation.” In this article, as a Citizenship Lawyer, we will take a closer look at the H-1B and EB5 Immigrant Investor visas to see how their paths to a Green Card Visa compare and contrast.

H-1B Visa: As per the government’s website, to the H-1B Visa requires:


…the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring completion of a specific course of higher education. (65,000). This category also includes fashion models and Government-to-Government research and development, or co-production projects administered by the Department of Defense (100).


Supporting Documents: In order to successfully complete an application for H-1B Visa, the individual must submit the completed Form DS-160 along with the following documents:

  1. A passport, valid for travel to the U.S. with a validity date of at least six months beyond the applicant’s intended period of stay in the U.S.
  2. One 2 x 2 photograph

EB5 Visa – In stark contrast to the H-1B Visas, lays the [Immigrant Investor Visa According to the government’s web page, to qualify for the Eb5 Visa Program : you must:

  1.  Invest or be in the process of investing at least $1,000,000.  If your investment is in a designated targeted employment area (A Targeted Employment Area is defined by law as “a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average.) then the minimum investment requirement is $500,000.
  2. Benefit the U.S. economy by providing goods or services to U.S. markets.
  3. Create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. workers.  This includes U.S. citizens, Green Card holders (lawful permanent residents) and other individuals lawfully authorized to work in the U.S. (however it does not include you (the immigrant), or your spouse, sons or daughters).
  4. Be involved in the day-to-day management of the new business or directly manage it through formulating business policy – for example as a Limited Partner, corporate officer or board member.

We see in this comparison that the H-1B and EB5 immigrant investor visas are very different in nature and offer disparate paths to a Green Card Visa. While the H-1B visas allow persons in specialty occupations and highly specialized knowledge to enter the United States as temporary workers, the EB5 visa relies on an immigrant’s investment to create new full-time jobs for the American workforce.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011 at 9:51 pm and is filed under Immigration. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.