Who Does What in the EB-5 Process? – Exploring the Key Players

Posted on Feb 7, 2024 by Rakesh Patel and Jacqueline Trevino

Understanding the complex and dynamic EB-5 process requires an understanding of the key players involved. From immigration attorneys navigating legal complexities to securities attorneys who structure investment projects and economists evaluating the economic impact of proposed projects, each player plays a crucial part in helping investors obtain a green card through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.   

Immigration Attorneys 

As EB-5 immigration attorneys, our primary responsibility and goal is to get our clients a green card. We work closely with investors to ensure they meet the investor program eligibility requirements and prepare and submit their Form I-526 or I-526E petitions. We provide legal counsel on issues such as the lawful source and path of funds and compliance with U.S. immigration laws.  

Tracing the lawful source and path of funds is crucial to the EB-5 application process. It requires verifying that the funds being invested were obtained legally and legitimately. We accomplish this by providing thorough financial documentation such as bank account statements, purchase agreements, loan agreements, real estate documents, personal and business tax returns, and more. Most importantly, we also provide detailed explanations and flow charts depicting how the investor obtained the funds.  


Economists play a pivotal role in assessing the viability and economic impact of EB-5 projects. They conduct thorough economic analyses, assess the eligibility of a project’s TEA designation, determine how much EB-5 capital can be raised for a project, and how many investors can fulfill it. They also evaluate the potential number of jobs the project can create based on its location and capital stack. The findings of an economist can directly influence an investor’s decision to invest in a project. By providing a comprehensive economic analysis, these experts contribute to the transparency and credibility of EB-5 projects. 

Securities Attorneys 

Securities attorneys evaluate whether a project qualifies for EB-5 and ensure it is structured correctly in compliance with securities regulations. These attorneys represent the interests of project developers and regional centers and create their business plans, which indicate the timing and scale of the job creation. They work closely with immigration attorneys to seamlessly integrate investor and developer interests. Structuring deals is crucial since an EB-5 investment is contingent on the existence of a viable project. 

Our office frequently works with Attorney Shae Armstrong and Attorney Paul Patton from Bradley Arant Boult Cumming LLP for EB-5 deal side legal services, as the EB-5 process requires the engagement of both immigration and securities legal representation.  

Regional Centers 

Regional centers are private or public economic units within the U.S. that are involved with the promotion of economic growth and play a crucial intermediary role in the EB-5 process. They serve as designated centers and oversee eligible investment projects. Entities seeking to apply for designation as a regional center must submit Form I-956 (Application for Approval of an Investment in a Commercial Enterprise) to USCIS. If approved by USCIS, it can participate in the Immigrant Investor Program as a regional center.  

Regional centers allow project developers to pool investment capital by sourcing funds from various EB-5 investors. Investing through a regional center is particularly popular among investors as it provides flexibility by allowing indirect and induced jobs to fulfill the EB-5 job creation requirement. 

Hiring a regional center is not required if an investor plans to make a direct investment. In this case, the job creation requirement can only be fulfilled by direct jobs. There are complexities that are unique to direct investments but can be easily overcome with proper legal guidance.  

U.S. Government  

USCIS administers the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and determines which applicants have met the appropriate capital investment and job creation requirements to become a conditional green card holder and eventually become permanent lawful resident in the U.S. The government created this program as a job creation mechanism to help boost the U.S. economy. While the program has been changed over the years, it has definitely achieved its goal of job creation and influx of foreign capital into the U.S. 


The EB-5 process involves a collaborative effort among various key players. Each contributes their expertise to facilitate successful outcomes for investors who seek a green card through the Immigrant Investor Program.  

If you have any questions regarding the EB-5 process, please email us at rpatel@patellegal.com and jtrevino@patellegal.com.