In the absence of legislative reforms, I believe Congress should indeed consider allowing the program to expire.

L. Francis Cissna | Director

US Citizenship & Immigration Services

What is wrong with the Program? 

  • Endemic Fraud 

  • National Security Threat

  • Political Corruption

  • Questionable Benefits

EB-5 operates as a cash-for-visa program. Created by the Immigration Act of 1990, the program permits foreign nationals to apply for a conditional visa by making a $1,000,000 investment in an American business that creates at least 10 jobs.  


Alternatively, visa-seekers can invest $500,000 in a “targeted employment area”—areas that are rural or have high unemployment.  Once certain job creation requirements are considered satisfied, the visa holder can apply for a green card (i.e., permanent residence).  


The program is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS"), a component agency of the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"). Click here for more background on the program from the USCIS Director Francis Cissna. 

The Regional Center Program was added in 1992 as a pilot program and is set to expire September 30. Regional centers are third-parties approved by USCIS to pool EB-5 investments from foreign nationals to distribute to American development projects. Regional centers are typically privately-owned, for-profit companies, through which nearly all EB-5 visas are now granted. The Regional Center program is also the source of much of the fraud in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.

What can be done?

The EB-5 Regional Center Program expires on September 30. Congress should allow it to expire. 

More FAQs & Facts

Horn Lake, MS

Bankrupt Crony Capitalism

$141.5 million

The EB-5-financed venture of former Virginia Governor and Hillary Clinton's brother goes bankrupt

Portland, OR

Bio-Fuel Fraud


Oregonian pitches futuristic fuel technology to defraud EB-5 visa-seekers

Pomona, CA

High Velocity Fraud

$150.0 million

Pair of Ponzi scheme perpetrators used EB-5 Program to perpetuate plot

Costly path-to-citizenship program comes under fire

October 13, 2018

The most scandal-plagued US visa program lives on because Congress is too busy to fix it

October 4, 2018

[W]hile it was originally well-intended, the EB-5 program has too often been prone to instances of fraud and abuse, with foreign investors exploiting our system, undermining our laws and ultimately buying their way to citizenship without fulfilling their required contributions to the American economy as required by law.


The EB-5 Regional Center program is a bipartisan source of corruption and cronyism. Let it die.

September 19, 2018

It’s time to end the EB-5 program.

July 17, 2018

[T]he EB-5 program — has strayed further and further from congressional intent and has been repeatedly tarnished by scandal and political favoritism.

May 16, 2018