Free EB-5 Project Evaluation

Why the EB-5 Visa Is Popular Among Canadian Investors

The U.S. and Canadian flags side by side, representing Canadian lawful permanent residents through business immigration in the U.S.

The number of Canadians living in the United States has reached its highest in a decade, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Approximately 797,000 Canadian-born individuals were living in the United States in 2019, according to data from the Migration Policy Institute. By 2021, this number had increased to approximately 885,000. Over 126,000 Canadians immigrated to the U.S. in 2022—a 70% increase from a decade before.

This increase in Canadian migration to the U.S. can be tied to several factors. One of them is the strong American economy, with its active job market and higher salaries, attracting Canadians who seek better career and investment opportunities.

Also, lifestyle preferences and availability of a wider range of amenities, entertainment, and recreational activities in the U.S. have attracted some Canadians. Politics, climate, and the cost of housing are considered to be important factors, too.

Data also shows that the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is a popular visa option for Canadian citizens seeking permanent residency in the United States.

In fiscal year (FY) 2023, 124 EB-5 visas were issued to Canadian investors, followed by 17 EB-5 visas issued in FY 2024 so far (through consular processing only). This makes Canada the 14th top country for EB-5 visa issuance so far in FY 2024, without taking into account any adjustment of status data.

In this article, we will explain why the EB-5 visa has become a popular route for Canadians to pursue the U.S. Green Card, and what Canadians who want to get an EB-5 visa should keep in mind.

What Attracts Canadians to the EB-5 Visa?

A city view with the American flag in the foreground, symbolizing the attractiveness of the U.S. for an eb-5 canadian investor.

Established in 1990 with the aim of boosting economic growth, the EB-5 program allows foreign investors and their immediate family members (spouse and unmarried children under 21) to obtain Green Cards through a required minimum investment amount of $800,000 (in a targeted employment area) or $1,050,000 (in other regions) that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

The EB-5 visa offers several attractive benefits that make it a good option for Canadians looking to invest in the United States:

Permanent U.S. Residency (Green Card)

The primary attraction of the EB-5 investment visa is the lawful permanent residence (a Green Card) for foreign investors and their immediate family members. This gives them the ability to live, work, and study anywhere in the United States without restrictions.

Fast-Track to U.S. Citizenship

EB-5 investors and their families are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship after holding a Green Card for five years. This fast pathway to obtain citizenship makes the EB-5 visa unique among other U.S. visas.

Educational Opportunities

The dependent children of EB-5 investors can attend U.S. universities and colleges and pay the same tuition rates as U.S. citizens, which provides access to world-class higher education at more affordable costs.

Business Opportunities

The EB-5 visa allows Canadian investors to freely start or invest in businesses across the United States, opening doors to new markets and investment prospects.

Tax Benefits

After years of strong growth, the Canadian economy has recently slowed down. Similar to other countries, Canada has faced high inflation, which has caused interest rates to rise, leading to slower GDP growth and reduced demand for goods and services.

Americans typically pay lower taxes than Canadians. For instance, in 2021, Canada collected $14,493 per capita in taxes, while the United States collected $11,365 per capita.

Canada’s increasing tax rates are also a cause for concern for its local entrepreneurs and investors.

EB-5 Application Process for Canadians

To qualify for the EB-5 visa, Canadian investors must follow these basic steps:

  1. Choose a low-risk EB-5 project and make the required investment in a new commercial enterprise.
  2. File Form I-526E, Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  3. Upon I-526E approval, apply for conditional permanent residency (Green Card) through consular processing if residing in Canada. If you’re already in the U.S. in valid nonimmigrant status, you may qualify for EB-5 concurrent filing to apply for adjustment of status while submitting I-526E.
  4. Approximately 21-24 months after receiving the conditional Green Card, file Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, to have the conditions on your Green Card removed and obtain permanent residency.

This is just a basic outline of the entire process, which can vary greatly depending on each investor’s specific circumstances. It is highly recommended to work with an experienced immigration attorney at each step of the process.

The processing times for each step are different, and the overall timeframe can depend on the details of the case. Applicants can check the USCIS processing times page for current estimates. EB-5 investors from Canada can significantly reduce their wait times by investing in rural targeted employment area projects.

Challenges for Canadian EB-5 Investors

While the EB-5 visa offers many benefits, Canadian investors should also know about the potential risks and challenges associated with the program:

Investment Risks

As with any investment, there are inherent financial risks involved in EB-5 projects. Investors must carefully evaluate the viability and potential returns on the investment, as well as the reputation of the EB-5 regional center or project developer.

Immigration Risks

Meeting the EB-5 program requirements does not guarantee the approval of the investor’s Green Card application. Factors such as job creation and source of funds documentation can impact the success of the application.

Fraud Risks

Canadian EB-5 applicants must conduct thorough due diligence to ensure the legitimacy of any EB-5 investment opportunity. If possible, they should review other Canadian investors’ testimonials and speak directly to regional center principals.

Processing Times

While the EB-5 visa application process for Canadian investors is relatively faster compared to many other nationalities, the overall wait time can still take more than a year from the time of investment to getting permanent residency.

The First Step From Canada to the United States

A U.S. flag with dollars on it, representing minimum investment capital to boost economic growth.

The EB-5 visa remains a popular route for Canadian investors to access new business opportunities and obtain a U.S. Green Card for themselves and their families.

Prospective applicants should stay informed about the latest EB-5 updates to ensure a smooth investment and immigration process. Working with experienced EB-5 professionals can help Canadian investors navigate the program and maximize its benefits.

EB5AN, a top EB-5 firm, has several low-risk EB-5 projects for Canadian investors. These are some of the safest EB-5 projects on the market, with benefits like job creation guarantees, fast I-526E processing, and fully secured funding that doesn’t rely only on EB-5 investment capital.

Canadian nationals interested in the EB-5 program can book a free consultation with EB5AN to see if they qualify and to discuss the details of their specific circumstances.