EB-5 Visa: Considerations for the Russian Investor



The EB-5 visa has become a very popular way for obtaining permanent residency in the U.S. for many Russian people. This type of visa does not involve excessively long wait times for Russian nationals and requires no labor certification to prove unavailability of U.S. workers, no close family member in the U.S. to petition on behalf of immigrant, no assertion of exceptional or extraordinary ability, no showing of persecution or showing of fear that they will be persecuted on account of race, religion, nationality, and/or membership in a particular social group or political opinion, no business to operate directly on a daily basis, and no employment sponsorship needed.

The program was created by Congress in 1990 to encourage the investment of foreign capital into the U.S. economy. Under current legislation (likely substantially changing soon) in return for a minimum investment amount of $500,000, permanent residency can be obtained for the Russian investor, his or her spouse, and children under the age of twenty-one.

Direct Investment Vs. Regional Center EB-5

The Russian investor must decide whether to apply for their “green card” through the direct investment method or through a regional center.

Direct investment is often preferred by foreign investors seeking to open and operate their own commercial enterprise in the U.S. These investors want to have full control over their investment and are looking to build a successful business.

The regional center investment is the most popular EB-5 investment method. According to the U.S. Department Report of the Visa Office, in 2017, 93% of all EB-5 visas were issued based on investments in regional centers. This method allows each investor to become part of a new commercial enterprise (NCE) as more of a passive investor with minimal or no daily management responsibilities.

The Russian investor should note that although there are over 900 registered regional centers to choose from, there is only a short list with a solid track record of success. Morley & Associates introduces clients only to those regional centers that have: (1) repaid all the investors in numerous projects; (2) had a minimum of 500 I-526 approvals with no project-related denials; and (3) no negative history.

Avoiding Unnecessary Taxes

The Russian national is strongly advised to speak with an experienced tax professional before making any investment in the U.S. The experienced tax professional should be familiar with the terms of the Convention between the United States of America and the Russian Federation for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and Capital .

Filing the I-526 Petition

The initial I-526 petition must be filed in the U.S. Once the petition has been approved, EB-5 visa applicants residing in Russia must attend an immigrant visa interview at the Embassy or a Consulate in Russia.


As a leading U.S. law firm involved in the Russian EB-5 market, Morley & Associates is well-versed in specific issues facing Russian EB-5 applicants. Obtaining the right impartial advice is critical. Contact a U.S. lawyer at Morley & Associates today to help you navigate through the process.

About The Author

Matthew MorleyMatthew R. Morley is an American immigration attorney based in Moscow practicing in the area of US immigration and nationality law. He is the founding member of Morley & Associates. If you are interested in learning more about the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program and our legal services, please contact us at info@matthewmorley.com.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.