The investment can occur in a single business, or it can be pooled with others as part of a USCIS-sanctioned "Regional Center" program. The majority of EB-5 visas are issued in connection with a Regional Center investment.
Traditionally EB-5 Regional Centers comprised of large-scale infrastructure projects, often in rural or low-income urban areas. Such projects have included shopping malls, ski resorts, and condo complexes. The largest EB-5 regional center, for a Vermont ski resort, has recently been taken to task by the Securities and Exchange Commission for fraud.
For the first time ever, a sports stadium will be built using the EB-5 Regional Center mechanism:
Mr. da Silva, the majority owner of Orlando City of Major League Soccer, is asking investors from Brazil, China and elsewhere to pay $500,000 each for a stake in the stadium he is building near downtown Orlando. In return, the foreign investors receive annual dividends, two season tickets and something even more valuable: a green card that allows them, their spouses and sometimes even their children to live and work in the United States.
Mr. da Silva, though, is building a $156 million stadium, not a high-rise building or a shopping mall, and he is marketing to foreigners not because lending is tight, but because lawmakers in Florida would not provide subsidies for the stadium in the Parramore neighborhood of Orlando.Traditionally sports stadiums have been financed through public-private partnerships that often fail to produce the promised revenue for government funders. It remains to be seen whether Orlando City's EB-5 investors will enjoy any profits from their investments.