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EB-3 Visa vs. EB-5 Visa: Exploring the Differences

Updated: 5 days ago

If you want to reside in the United States, the EB-3 and EB-5 visa programs offer different residency options. They have in common that they are employment-based visas that allow their holders to acquire a green card.

EB-3 Visa: Us Employment-based  Immigration

However, they have unique requirements, benefits, and considerations. They are meant for two different types of applicants and require diverse investment amounts. This article aims to help you understand the EB-3 and EB-5 visas.

The EB-3 visas aim to attract foreign talent

To be eligible for an EB-3 visa, you must have a job offer from a U.S. employer, the necessary skills, education, or experience, and satisfy all other criteria set by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

An adult first preference visa is a type of work visa awarded to employees with skills, professionals, and low skilled employees, or others.

If you apply to the EB-3 class, you will be subject to a priority date system, which means you may have to wait for a visa to become available. Usually, the priority date is when the petition is filed with USCIS.

The time needed to process EB-3 visas can differ based on your country of origin and the demand from other people. Sometimes it might require years before getting this type of visa.

EB-5 Visa: Immigrant Investor Program

The EB-5 visa, known as the U.S. Immigrant Investor Program, aims at attracting foreign investors willing to invest in a new commercial enterprise in the United States. Given bellow are some of the key aspects about EB-5 visa:

The EB-5 program requires that investors invest significantly in a qualifying U.S. business. Depending on whether you make this investment in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or any other part in the country, you may be required to invest different minimum amounts. Currently, this minimum stands at $1.05 million for non-TEA projects and $800,000 for TEA projects.

Because the EB-5 program's crucial objective is creating jobs in America, you must show that your investment will create or maintain a minimum of ten full-time homegrown employee options within two years of your investment.

Although the EB-5 program offers faster processing times than other immigrant visa categories, the approval speed varies depending on the location of the project, your country of origin, and the USCIS processing times.

Initially, by becoming an EB-5 investor, your direct family (dependents) receives a temporary 2-year residency permit in the U.S., which can be extended. To be given unconditional permanent residency, you must show that you met all the program qualifications and even created job opportunities.

Regional Centers: Many EB-5 investors prefer to invest in USCIS-designated regional centers. These are companies or entities that help set up EB-5 investments in TEAs and other areas in the country. You can benefit from investing through a regional center by having the opportunity to include indirect job generation when calculating the job creation number. 

The difference between the EB-3 and the EB-5 visa is the investment

The main difference between obtaining the EB-3 visa and the EB-5 visa is that for the first you do not to make any fixed investment in a U.S. business or create jobs. You only need to prove your eligibility for the job position you have been offered.

Also, as successful EB-3 visa recipients, you and your family members obtain a lawful status of permanent residence to live in the U.S.

However, in some instances, EB-5 processing periods are quicker than those for EB-3; there can be waiting times for both visas.


There are several pathways to becoming immigrants in the U.S., two of which are the EB-5 or EB-3 visas. Either alternative offers different benefits, which will appeal to you depending on your personal characteristics, financial status, and future plans.

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