EB-5 visa program allows individuals to invest $500,000 or $1 million in the US economy in exchange for green cards for the investor and his family. EB-5 program offers different investment projects. We offer a wide spectrum of projects to our clients and let the pin down a few that they are most comfortable with.
Here is a summary of the process:
Our law firm checks the projects very thoroughly in the US and constantly monitors them. We send you our feedback from the legal stand point (our law firm cannot guarantee financial success of a project , we can verify the legitimacy of it only). Normally, the investors are able to get their money back.We put the money into the escrow. Prepare the USCIS forms. Disburse the money. Get the forms approved. The client enters the US and gets a green card for 2 years. 2 years later, we have to show that the project created work places for Americans and it actually hired them. We documents it, get permanent green cards for the investors.
Investment opportunities are available across most industry sectors:
- Mixed use retail
- Sports stadiums
- Agricultural developments, including wineries and farms
- Electric vehicles
- Entertainment venues
- Convention centers
- Office buildings
Some countries have treaties with the US that allow foreign nationals use E-2 visas. E-2 visa is investor visa as well but not as heavily regulated as EB-5. In short, an investor can enter the US for less money than with EB-5. The requirement is that he must be seriously invested in a US business and, ideally, should be involved in managing it.
RE: EB-5 Permanent Resident Status Through Investment
There are several ways to gain permanent status in the United States through immigrant investing. A person can invest either $1,000,000 or $500,000 to create or maintain a minimum of 10 full-time jobs in the United States for a period of no less than two years.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each type of investment. The risk involved with the $500,000 investment is mainly due to the location requirement of the investment. It must be made in a “Targeted Employment Area” – which is an area of high unemployment or distress. The benefit of investing $1,000,000 is the investor has the option of investing in any type of enterprise anywhere in the United States. However, regardless of the amount of investment, if the enterprise fails within a two-year period, the investor could lose all the invested capitol.
Types of Investments: New Enterprise, Troubled Business, and Regional Center
Regardless of the amount of investment, there are three types of investments: New Enterprise, Troubled Business, and Regional Center.
Investing in a new enterprise allows the investor to have more control over the day-to-day operations. This can help ensure the investment is spent wisely and that the requirements are met for the investor’s permanent residence in the United States. The investor must show the creation of 10 jobs or possibly more if expanding an existing business. Additionally, the investor usually must live in the same location as the enterprise.
Investing in a troubled business may also allow for more control over the day-to-day operations of the business, depending on the agreement made between the investor and the troubled business. This agreement may allow for a better return on investment then the other investment options, depending on the circumstances of the troubled business. In contrast to a new enterprise, the investor does not need to create 10 new jobs, but maintain 10 already existing positions.
A regional center is the most common method of investment. Locating and coming up with investment ideas for such an area can be time consuming and difficult. The USCIS has approved Immigrant Investor Regional Centers that promote investment plans in targeted employment areas. Thus, you can take advantage of the plans already in place when determining where to invest your money.
So you are aware, these regional centers are not endorsed by the USCIS nor do they minimize the risk involved to the investor. However, the centers do have a track record of previous investment plans. By doing some investigation into the past dealing of the centers, you can see their relative success and perhaps feel more confident in investing.
The investor does not take part in the day-to-day operations of the enterprise, nor does it require the investor to live in the place of investment. While lack of control of the investment may be perceived as a drawback, it can also be a benefit depending on the reputation and management of the regional center. Also, the option to live anywhere in the United States is a major plus. As for the creation of jobs, the investor doesn’t have to directly create 10 jobs; the investment can create the jobs indirectly.
Targeted Employment Area
Regardless of the type of investment, if an investor wants to invest only $500,000, then it must be in a targeted employment area. These areas are considered rural at the time of investment, meaning they have an unemployment rate at 150% of the national average or the area is outside a metropolitan statistical area or outside a municipal area with a population of 20,000 or more.
Additionally, the new commercial enterprise must be “principally doing business” in the Targeted Employment Area. This means that the enterprise is regularly, systematically, and continuously providing goods or services that support job creation in that location. The enterprise may provide goods or services in multiple locations, but the location most significantly related to job creation is the one where the enterprise is principally doing business.
States typically designate targeted employment areas as long as they follow the USCIS requirements above. The USCIS will defer to the state’s decisions on what boundaries constitute a rural area; however, it is the USCIS that ensures compliance if investing in an area of high unemployment. To assist investors, many states list their targeted employment areas on their state websites.
An Investor’s Investment Must Be “At Risk”
No matter how an investor decides to invest, if there is an agreement that guarantees any amount of the investment will be returned to the investor, then that amount will not be at risk, and will not be considered as an investment towards an investor’s eventual permanent residence. A loan to a company would not qualify as an investment. So even if an investor is investing with a Regional Center, be sure the investment is at risk.
A Legitimate Source of Funds
The funds used to invest must have a legitimate source. This means that they were NOT acquired directly or indirectly by unlawful means, such as criminal activities. USCIS requires a lot of documentation on the source of funds.
Sources of Investor Funds
The funds can come from a variety of legitimate sources. The investment can come from your lawful income, a gift, inheritance, and transactions such as the sale of business, real estate, or stock. The USCIS requires documentation of how you acquired the funds. Often, they will require five (5) years of personal income tax returns, personal bank account statements for the past couple of years, and a salary verification letter from pervious employers. If you own your own your own business, they will require five years of business income tax returns, business registration documents, articles of incorporation, share certificates and other similar business documentation, and the business’ bank account records for the past couple of years. The documentation required depends the source of the investment funds.
Type of Enterprise
An investor must invest in a new enterprise. A new enterprise is one established after November 29, 1990, or an enterprise established before this date if it went through re-organization or substantial change. Things to note about the ta new enterprise:
- The investment must be in a for-profit entity;
- There is no requirement for the type of business to invest in; however, the type of company may have important tax and management implications;
- Unless the investment is in a regional center, investors are required to participate in the operational management of the invested enterprise (in limited circumstances a waiver for this requirement may be sought);
There are no age requirements set out by the USCIS. However, some states require people to be of a certain age to enter into a contract.
Multiple EB-5 investors can combine their money to invest in an enterprise. That is generally how a regional center acquires the necessary funds for their enterprise. Each investor is still required to create or maintain at least 10 jobs, and all jobs created from a pooling arrangement will distributed equally among the investors. This means that if there are 4 investors and only 36 jobs are created, each investor will be attributed with creating 9 jobs. No investor is given preferential treatment over the others in the pool.
Process of Obtaining an EB-5 Green Card
The EB-5 visa is a three-step process:
- File an I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur,
- File an I-485 Conditional Permanent Residence by Adjustment of Status for aliens inside the United States or Consular Processing for aliens outside the United States, and
- File an I-829 Removal of Conditional Residency.
An I-526 requires a $1500 filing fee with the USCIS accompanied by supporting documentation showing that the immigrant investor has invested or is investing in a U.S. enterprise and the investment will create 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. After approval and a visa number is available, the investor needs to adjust their status through an I-485 if they are inside the United States, or apply for an immigrant visa through consular processing if they are outside the United States. Consular processing involves a visa interview, biometrics, collection of necessary documents, and a medical exam by a Department of State Panel Physician.
Once approved, the investor is granted conditional permanent residence. Unfortunately, the documents cannot be sent together to save time. After conditions have been met for the EB-5 permanent residence, namely creating 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers for a period no less than 2 years, form I-829 is filed to remove the conditions of your permanent residence.
|Filing Fees, Embassy Fees, and other Fees||Initial Attorney’s Fee||Fees Due Upon Arrival||RFE or Audit Response Fee|
|I-526+ Green Card (I-485)||$1,500$1,070||$7,500$1,000||$5,000None||$1,500$500|
|I-526+Consular Processing||$1,500Embassy Fees||$7,500$1,000||$5,000None||$1,500N/A|
Evidence Required for Submission of I-526
- Evidence of lawful capital
- Evidence of the existence of the enterprise (such as the last three years of tax returns)
- Evidence of the required investment
- Evidence of the investor’s day-to-day operation of the enterprise (does not apply to investors in regional center)
- Title and description of the investor’s job duties (even as limited partner in an investment through a regional center there are job duties)
- Evidence showing the creation of at least 10 full time jobs for U.S. workers or a reasonable business plan to show that the jobs will be created
- If the investors are investing $500,000:
- Evidence showing the 10 full-time jobs have been or will be created in the targeted employment area
- Statistical proof that the targeted employment area meets the requirements set by the USCIS and a state agency’s letter stating the area is classified as a “high unemployment” area.