Each EB-5 visa applicant has two investment options, a 'Direct EB-5 investment' or an investment in a project sponsored by an EB-5 Regional Center.
A direct investment means that the EB-5 visa applicant must find his own investment project and must take a direct managerial role in the project’s oversight. While the ultimate goal of an EB-5 investor is to obtain a green card, direct investments tend to be better suited for those who want more hands-on control of their investment and want to make an investment with a higher return on investment.
An EB-5 visa applicant can also make an investment in an EB-5 Regional Center. This option may be better suited for those who are more interested in the immigration goals of the EB-5 program rather than obtaining a maximum return on their investment. Regional Centers must first receive approval and designation from the USCIS in order to administer EB-5 investment projects. Once so designated, the Regional Center is responsible for adhering to all USCIS EB-5 program regulations, taking some strain off the EB-5 investor. Investment through a Regional Center also means the EB-5 investor is not responsible for the direct management of their investment. Given the foregoing, Regional Centers tend to better suit individuals who want a more hands-off approach. Approximately 90% of all EB-5 applicants make the decision to invest through a Regional Center rather than directly.