Strategic Investment Choices in EB-5 Visa Set Asides

Posted on Feb 21, 2024 by Rakesh Patel and Jacqueline Trevino

In the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, the question of where to invest is just as important as how funds are sourced and obtained. The program offers unique opportunities for investors seeking U.S. residency through investment, with a lower investment requirement of $800,000 USD for those who invest in projects located in rural areas, high unemployment areas, and infrastructure projects. These are called visa set-asides, which were created by the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022.

Rural Areas

Rural areas designated as such by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). These areas are areas other than those within a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) or the outer boundary of any city or town with a population of 20,000 or more, as determined by the latest U.S. census. Rural areas typically have lower population densities compared to urban and suburban areas.

High Unemployment Areas

High unemployment areas, also known as Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), are specific geographical areas designated by USCIS. These are areas where unemployment rates are at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate.

Infrastructure Projects

Governmental entities, such as federal, state, or local authorities, administer infrastructure projects. These projects seek to maintain, improve, or construct public works such as airports, railways, roads, or bridges.

The goal remains the same across these designated categories: to stimulate economic growth and employment opportunities in areas that face economic challenges. For investments made in rural areas, TEAs, or infrastructure projects, the minimum required investment is $800,000 USD. In contrast, the minimum investment rises to $1,050,000 USD for investments made outside these designated areas.

Each fiscal year, a certain percentage of EB-5 immigrant visas are made available to qualified immigrants who invest in these set-asides. 20% of visas are allocated for investments in rural areas, 10% are earmarked for high-unemployment areas, and 2% are reserved for infrastructure projects.

Any unused visas designated for these set-aside categories are held in the same set-aside category for an additional fiscal year. After the second fiscal year, any remaining unused visas are released to the unreserved EB-5 immigrant visa numbers during the third fiscal year.

Investing in an EB-5 set aside is a great advantage due to the current availability of visa numbers for all set aside categories, as indicated on the visa bulletin.  With the visa bulletin being current for these categories, individuals from all countries can concurrently file for their adjustment of status, streamlining the timeline for obtaining permanent residency.

By investing in an EB-5 set aside category at this time, an investor can not only benefit from the lower investment requirement of $800,000 USD, but he or she can also concurrently file for adjustment of status, which provides employment authorization and a travel document while the case is pending.

To learn more about the benefits of concurrent filing, please visit:

Please note that the visa bulletin is updated every month by the U.S. Department of State and is subject to change. The March 2024 Visa Bulletin can be found here:

If you have any questions regarding the EB-5 process, please email us at and