To qualify as an EB-5 investor you have to show the USCIS that you have made a personal investment in a new commercial enterprise and/or job creating entity. The investment by you might be made in either an existing commercial enterprise or a new commercial enterprise. That is, the U.S. commercial enterprise may have been active for the past five years and continuing to employ existing personnel and generating revenues. By U.S.corporate law making a personal investment directly in the U.S. business you are becoming an equity investor which may mean that you are also becoming an owner of the corporation through the issuance of shares or membership certificates of the U.S. corporation. The U.S. enterprise you are investing may have ownership of buildings and other assets. You in fact, are not individually owning those assets or buildings, in fact you are only the owner of the corporation by being an equity investor.
Equity investments are permissible for both direct EB-5 investments and Regional Center EB-5 investments. Investing in an existing business is also permissible, though there are different job creation requirements that will need to be considered. The requirements for the investment is that the funds ($500,000 or $1 million) are placed at risk. That is, while the value of a lease, for example, itself may not be considered, the money invested to lease the property will be.