Direct EB-5 Resources

The permanent direct EB-5 program has been the focus of new interest, now that the regional center program has expired until the industry can agree on legislation that Congress will agree to pass. Direct EB-5 offers valuable opportunities, and many challenges.

I will write more as time permits, but for the moment note that I have a detailed and well-documented Direct EB-5 Page to address questions about how direct EB-5 works.

I mention this page again, because I am receiving advertisements for direct EB-5 deals that appear non-compliant. I can see that the promoters are accustomed to regional center EB-5, and have not thought through all the implications of a basic direct EB-5 difference: that the New Commercial Enterprise and the Job-Creating Entity must be formally one and the same, meaning that all NCE requirements also apply to the JCE and vice versa. This well-known structural fact has a cascade of less-obvious practical consequences for direct as opposed to regional center EB-5, including differences with respect to preexisting business investment, investment terms, investment structure, investor role, investor source of funds, timing considerations, and exit options. (See my Direct EB-5 page for discussion and examples.)

Direct EB-5 is personal for me because I have written over a hundred direct EB-5 business plans – many of them in 2015-2017 during the surge of direct EB-5 demand that occurred around the last cliff-hanger regional center program sunset date in 2015. Every plan meant a business and entrepreneurs that I got to know, and it’s been satisfying and sometimes painful to follow their stories. I’ve had years now to watch outcomes unfold, in USCIS review and in business development. There have been successes I’d love to see again, and tears that I’d like to help avoid going forward. Everyone attempting direct EB-5, take time to educate yourselves. Work with people who have walked a distance on the direct EB-5 path, and learned the hard lessons of practical experience.

I’ll end with a chart that illustrates how the direct EB-5 opportunity has been used over the years, according to numbers of EB-5 visas issued. Note that direct EB-5 accounted for a majority of EB-5 visas until the regional center opportunity gained popularity following the financial crisis in 2008. Direct EB-5 got another boost around 2015, when the fight over regional center program authorization legislation encouraged people toward the relative stability of direct EB-5. That boost was gradually depressed by long processing times and practical challenges that particularly impact direct EB-5, combined with a complacency around short-term regional center program extensions. Direct EB-5 demand may revive again now in 2021, as the regional center program fights for authorization, and direct investors may be able to skip ahead in waiting lines and take advantage of a temporary window for reduced investment amounts. Note that direct EB-5 investors have historically been more tolerant of higher investment levels than regional center investors. A significant percentage of direct EB-5 visas to date were based on investments at the $1 million dollar level, even twenty years ago.


About Suzanne (
Suzanne Lazicki is a business plan writer, EB-5 expert, and founder of Lucid Professional Writing. Contact me at (626) 660-4030.

37 Responses to Direct EB-5 Resources

  1. R Mohanarangam Lokesh. says:

    Hi suzzane,

    How many pending I526- direct applications are there totally until now?

    Is there any benefits in processing times if the direct Eb-5 is located in the TEA?

    My PD is DEC-2019

  2. VJ says:

    Hi Suzanne
    can you give us information about what going on i 485 level i keep reading your blog and its always more about i 526.
    my i 526 was approved after 30 + moth, living in the country i field i 485, i765 and i 131 last year i got receipts date in sep-t21 and oct -21, but then after no update yet ,not even finger print or EAD, for EAD processing time state 14 to 55 moth which was used to be 3 moths when i filed, they kept increasing the times, and for i 485 used to be 9 to 11 month when i filed but now 9 to 55 months.

    • VJ says:

      my petition was for direct investment

    • Ramagiri Mohanarangam Logesh says:

      Hello VJ,

      I am glad to hear that your i526 is approved.

      In regards to the creation of job, did you wait until I526 was approved? Or you created jobs before the i526 was approved?

      also spending the investment at risk , when did you start using the investment before i526 approval or after i526 approval?

      I am also a direct eb 5 investor only

      looking forward for your response

    • Indian says:

      Congratulations at least direct investments are getting cleared, not like RC investors but happy for you, if you don’t hear anything by September 2021 WOM is the best way. my friend who was also an RC investor of 2016 was delayed at the i485 stage he filed a WOM and he got his GC in 2 months after filing it’s not the case with i526 where most of WOM were rejected including mine, and since you already have approved i526 direct investment which is more complicated than RC. you must be having a good law firm, so go with them or you have many attorneys Filing WOM for 4000 USD

  3. Don says:

    American immigration laws have gathered dust for decades. Reform efforts have stalled amid partisan bickering. Businesses warn it’s costing the country talent.

    And that’s why some U.S. politicians cast a jealous glance northward on Tuesday.

    A group of lawmakers held a congressional hearing titled, “Oh, Canada! How Outdated U.S. Immigration Policies Push Top Talent to Other Countries,” in a misspelled reference to the national anthem.


  4. RP says:

    Any update on regional center re-authorization?

  5. Thengai Mandai says:

    FYI I’m an RC investor with a pending I485, 765 and 131 and received an appointment letter dated July for my biometrics next month. So looks like they’re still moving things along despite the program lapse. Not sure how soon/if my applications will actually be adjudicated though until the program is reauthorized but just wanted to share.

    • Darshan says:

      thanks for letting us know! i am in the same situation and i’ve been wondering whether i will receive 765/131 or not while 485 is frozen. I haven’t received biometrics appointment yet.

    • JZ says:

      Thanks for sharing, Thengai! Would you mind letting us know when you filed the I485/765/131?

    • powerofdreams says:

      That is great news – I’m in the exact same boat as well. Submitted those exact same forms in early Feb – when did yours go in? T.I.A

  6. Thengai Mandai says:

    All forms were filed in March this year.

  7. RP says:

    Whats the latest update on regional center re-authorization?

  8. Mohsin says:

    Hi guys, has anyone heard of or done business with ?
    I came across their website while doing a google search, so I called them and spoke with their CEO. Their CEO seemed pretty knowledgeable, but he recommended using EB-1c instead of Direct Investment EB5, claiming that I’d get my permanent green card in about 18 months as I already have my own business in Canada. He also said that I’d have to invest a lot less and there are no location restrictions.

    Some of his statements did make me curious though.

    1. He claimed that it would take me at least 3-4 years to get my conditional green card and over 8 years to get my unconditional green card under EB5 visa category.
    2. He claimed that the investment amount is a lot higher in the EB5 visa category and regional centers have no realistic hope of getting reauthorized for the next 6 months or longer.
    3. He also claimed that there are very high chances of delays under EB-5 visa category the USCIS has reduced staff at the IPO unit that handles EB5 visa applications?

    • Bhavesh says:

      Hi Mohsin,

      My sister and her husband signed up with them in March 2019, and they recently became permanent residents, and their process took more than 18 months to complete, but I guess that delay was caused by the pandemic.

      They are competent but the CEO is rigid on pricing, and if they hadn’t done a good job with my sister in getting them their L1 visas quickly, we’d never have signed up with them.

      We didn’t use them for EB1c as we didn’t have our own business to qualify, so we decided to go with them for the direct investment category EB5, which is current for us. They advised us to use E2 visas to migrate to the US, and then filed our I526 under direct investment category for the same business, and our EB5 visa petition is still awaiting adjudication because the USCIS seems to believe in taking their own sweet time and letting visas go to waste.

      Here are the pros and cons of going with the Smart Business Broker’s team, based on our experience:

      Fees seemed to be a little on the higher side for EB5, but 2 years ago, not too many people were focusing on direct investment category EB5 visa investors, and they did offer good terms including a fee refund guarantee.
      They had a mandatory buyout clause if you’re doing a joint venture for EB1c visas, so at the end of the 3 years, all that the client will get is their money back and permanent residence status, and they require EB1 investors to move on after 3 years.
      Theirs seems to be a small firm and we have only met or spoken with a total of10 people from their firm in the past 2 years, and that includes the CEO, 2 attorneys, 2 CPAs, 3 members of the relocation team, and their accounting and support staff. Their Orlando offices aren’t very large and even the office in California is only about 400 square feet.

      They’re definitely competent and they got the job done for my sister’s L1 and PR, and our E2, and so far they have always been diligent.

      They were honest and transparent in accounting, and accounted for everything that was spent, and even emailed receipts or cancelled checks for all expenses over $100. As we’re doing E2 + Direct Investment, we already have full control over our business and don’t have to worry about any losses or keeping track of our investment.

      They offered excellent relocation assistance, and guided us in buying homes in safe neighbourhoods with great schools. They ensured that our transition to the US was painless.

      My sister got her money back on time, so thankfully no capital loss, and they paid her dividends on schedule.

      Overall, I’d definitely recommend them.

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