An EB-5 is a type of immigration visa that provides a way for eligible immigrant investors to become “green card” holders, or permanent US citizens. It was created by Congress in 1990 as a means to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. It is one of the five employment-based, or EB, preference programs offered by the US.

From the 10,000 visas authorized by the Immigration and Nationality Act annually, around 3,000 are set aside for immigrants and their eligible family members, who invest in a new commercial enterprise in targeted employment areas (TEA) like rural areas and areas with high unemployment.

Upon admission to the US, immigrant investors and their families receive conditional permanent resident status for a two-year period. These restrictions are removed after applicable requirements are satisfied.

Do you need a business plan for an EB-5 visa application?

Unlike the E-2 visa that does not specify the need for a business plan, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is clear on the need for a “comprehensive” and “credible” business plan.

According to the USCIS, a comprehensive plan should contain a description of the business, its products or services, and its objectives. Moreover, it lays out the sections that should be included in the plan, which include a market analysis, competitive analysis, marketing strategy, organizational structure, including its personnel’s background and staffing requirements, and the financial projections. The agency also requires to list all permits and licenses obtained by the company.

It is not advisable to put little effort in a business plan intended for an EB-5 application as USCIS warns that its officers will review the plan in its totality.

What you should include in your EB-5 business plan

Based on what USCIS’s requirements, your EB-5 business plan should contain the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Analysis
  3. Industry Analysis
  4. Market Analysis
  5. Competitive Analysis
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Operations Plan
  8. Financial Plan

Writing the Executive Summary

The executive summary is not mentioned specifically, but it would be a good idea to provide one for the officer who will be reviewing your plan. This section will give him or her an overview of your business in a concise format.
In a single page, your executive summary should be able to inform the reader about what your company does, its advantages over its competitors, the opportunities in your industry and market, the details of your investment, and how your business can help the US government in its goals of creating jobs for Americans.

Writing the Company Analysis

The “description of the business, its products or services (or both), and its objectives” should be the main focus of your Company Analysis. This section provides a more detailed description of your business than the Executive Summary. Here, you can be as thorough as possible in detailing your company’s background and objectives, products or services, business model, value proposition, further growth plans. 

It is highly advisable to include a section explaining why you need the visa and how your direct handling of the company will result in its further growth. Again, it is a good idea to let the reviewer know how your business can help the government achieve the economic goals of EB-5.

Doing Market Research

The USCIS has made it clear that it wants details on your competitors and your target market. In your business plan, this will take the form of Industry, Market, and Competitive Analyses. Altogether, these three sections will help you prove that your business has the potential to succeed in the US, based on credible industry and market trends and indicators.

To create the Industry Analysis section, you’d first need to identify the correct classification of your industry, which can be done by researching its North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code. You can use that code to search in the internet for news, special reports, and studies about the performance and outlook of your company’s industry. Alternatively, you can also purchase prepared industry reports from market research firms, but keep in mind that these reports can set you back thousands of dollars.

The Market Analysis section provides a detailed account of the type and size of your company’s target market. You can take advantage of a number of free tools online, such as the Statistical Atlas, which you can refer to in order to determine exact number of individuals in a locality, and the American FactFinder for the estimated number of businesses in the US or a particular state.
The section that covers your “competing businesses and their relative strengths and weaknesses” is the Competitive Analysis section. Here, you can provide an overview of your competitors, their offers and price points, and their promotional strategies, among other information. You can also use this section to build your company’s credibility by offering its competitive advantage.

Creating the Marketing Plan

The USCIS insists on discussing the “marketing strategy of the business, including pricing, advertising, and servicing”, thus, you need to include a Marketing Plan section. You should include in this section your main promotional strategy and the advertising and sales tactics that you’re planning to employ to effectively market your product in the US, which should include their projected costs.

Writing the Operational Plan

The US government requires applicants to “set forth the business’s organizational structure and its personnel’s experience. It should explain the business’s staffing requirements and contain a timetable for hiring, as well as job descriptions for all positions.” You can include this information in the Operational Plan section of your document.

The Operational Plan section offers detailed information about your management team, advisory group, and key hires. This section should also provide information about your day-to-day processes, the equipment you intend to purchase and use, and your working environment.

Financial Planning

Lastly, the USCIS wants applicants to add their “sales, cost, and income projections” to their business plan. These figures should be part of your five-year financial plan.

The Financial Plan section will offer the agency a realistic view of your company’s viability and an estimate of its financial future. A thorough business plan should contain a detailed financial plan with a five-year profit and loss projection, cash flow projection, projected balance sheet, and breakeven analysis.

Where to find help writing an EB-5 business plan

Individual writers and companies dedicated to crafting business plans tailored for visa applications can be found all over the world. Their rates vary, but expect a standard business plan to cost upwards of $1,500. A more affordable route is conducting research and creating the draft yourself and then commissioning a professional to complete and polish the plan for you.

If you need professional help in writing your EB-5 visa business plan, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We have successfully completed more than 3,000 business plan projects for companies in sundry industries and look forward to working on your business plan project.

About the Author
Managing Director , Go Business Plans
Ishan Jetley is the founder and managing director of Go Business Plans. Ishan has helped fund more than 400 businesses. He has helped businesses raise $150 million in business working capital, inventory and commercial property loans.