EB-5 Diligence for Investors

Chapter 1: Will My Green Card Be Approved?

Chapter 1: Will My Green Card Be Approved?

© James C Wolf Apr 2021 (updated June 2021)

In the past several years I have traveled to dozens of cities in China, India, and Europe talking to many people curious about EB-5. These investors ask two basic questions: “Will my Green Card be approved?” and “Will I get my money back?”

The USCIS has approved more than 800 EB-5 Regional Centers. Many have succeeded, many are inactive, and some have failed spectacularly. With so many complex EB-5 offerings out there, how can an investor possibly find a satisfactory answer to these questions?

EB-5 Due Diligence provides the answer. These articles are designed to help the Investor understand EB-5 Due Diligence before making the investment decision.

Overall, EB-5 approval rate is high

The investor should take some reassurance from the overall EB-5 approval rate. For the past several years, the approval rate for all I-526s (initial green card petition) is around 80%[1] and for I-829s (green card renewal), the approval rate is more than 90%.[2] Before agreeing to invest, the investor should understand the EB-5 program requirements, in order to assess the risks of each specific EB-5 project.

“Will my Green Card be approved?”

If the requirements of the USCIS are met, then the Green Card will be approved (initial Green Card and permanent Green Card two years later). The basic requirements for green card approval under the EB-5 program are (1) Money and (2) Jobs.

The Money requirement will be met if the investor shows the legal source of EB-5 funds and that the EB-5 funds are spent on the project as described in the I-526 visa package.

The Jobs requirement will be met if the EB-5 Regional Center uses the economic model described in the I-526 which demonstrates that at least 10 full-time jobs per EB-5 investor were created through the project.

It is no secret why the USCIS may deny an EB-5 green card: the USCIS publishes all decisions of the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) relating to I-526 and I-829 denials.[3]  These decisions show the biggest risk of green card denial for a Regional Center EB-5 case comes from inadequate job creation: either the project managers did not spend the money as promised or the economic model was defective.

To avoid these risks, the investor should focus on projects that provide the investor with transparency for project expenditures and that use economic models specifically endorsed by the USCIS. The RIMS II and IMPLAN economic models are favorably cited by the USCIS for EB-5 job creation. In fact, more EB-5 Regional Centers use the RIMS II and IMPLAN models than any other.


EB-5 Due Diligence for Investors

We give client-centered advice, representing only one side in each EB-5 matter, without conflicts of interest or bias.

We leverage professional experience as an EB-5 attorney, EB-5 regional center operator, EB-5 Issuer, and EB-5 project developer, for benefit of each type of stakeholder.

For further information on EB-5 Due Diligence for Investors, see other chapters in this series.[4]

Schedule a call today with James Wolf, the experienced EB-5 investment attorney, to discuss EB-5 Due Diligence for Investors and your potential EB-5 investment. To set an appointment, click here.


  • Advising innocent partner’s counsel in EB-5 fraud litigation in California.
  • Guidance to EB-5 Forensic Accountants investigating collapsed EB-5 investment
  • Consulting on complex EB-5 cases.
  • Directing and coordinating work of investor representatives in India, Mexico, China.
  • Reviewing EB-5 fraud claims as to potential liability.
  • Advising on potential EB-5 fund raises.
  • Structuring and preparing source of funds documentation.
  • Providing outside counsel review of I-526 and I-824 filings.
  • Immigration counsel in lawsuits:
    • against developer alleging misuse of funds in New Jersey.
    • against regional center alleging mishandling of funds in New York.