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EB-5 Immigration through Investment

Law Offices of Yu & Associates


What is EB-5 Immigration Through Investment?

The EB-5 program allows foreign nationals who invest in U.S. enterprises or "designated regional centers" to come to the U.S. and become permanent residents. EB-5 applicants can start a new enterprise or invest in an existing one to create new jobs, or they can participate in a pilot program whereby they invest in a "designated regional center."

How Many EB-5 Immigrant Visas Are Available Each Year?

Approximately 10,000 visas are available for this category each year. Among these, 5,000 are reserved for entrepreneurs who invest in designated regional centers.

How Much Am I Required to Invest?

Under the regular program, the required investment amount is USD $1,000,000. Investors who invest in a "targeted employment area" or a USCIS approved "designated regional center" are required to invest USD $500,000.

What is a "Targeted Employment Area"?

A targeted employment area is an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 per cent of the national average rate or a rural area as designated by OMB.

What is a í░Designated Regional Centerí▒?

A "Designated regional center":

  1. Is an entity, organization or agency that has been approved as such by the USCIS;
  2. Focuses on a specific geographic area within the United States; and
  3. Seeks to promote economic growth through increased export sales, improved regional productivity, creation of new jobs, and increased domestic capital investment.

A Designated Regional Center is an organization that coordinates the investment of immigrant investors among a set of enterprises in a defined geographic area. Whereas the regular EB-5 program calls for the investors to create or revitalize and personally run a new or troubled enterprise by themselves, the Regional Center programs do not require the investors to manage or run the businesses or be responsible for creating jobs.

How Do I Make My Investment?

Under the regular EB-5 program, the applicant must create an original business; purchase an existing business and simultaneously or subsequently restructure or reorganize the business such that a new commercial enterprise results; or expand an existing business by 140 percent of the pre-investment number of jobs or net worth, or retain all existing jobs in a troubled business that has lost 20 percent of its net worth over the past 12 to 24 months. If participating in the Regional Center pilot program, the applicant invests the required amount in the center, but does not need to personally oversee an enterprise or be responsible for creating new jobs.

What Are the Other Requirements for EB-5 Petitions?

The investor's enterprise must create full-time employment for not fewer than 10 qualified individuals; or maintain the number of existing employees at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least two years, where the capital investment is being made in a "troubled business." In the case of Designated Regional Centers, however, the investor is not personally responsible for creating jobs; this is handled by the Regional Center.

In addition, all investors must prove through documentation that the capital used for the EB-5 investment was obtained lawfully.

How Can I Prove My Assets Are Lawfully Gained?

The investor needs to provide evidence showing that his or her assets were obtained through lawful business, salary, investments, property sales, inheritance, gifts and other means. USCIS may require the investor to explain where and how he/she obtained his investment amount by providing audited financial statements or certificates for qualified accounts, court records, salary statements, tax statements, business transaction documents, bank statements, real estate documents, inheritance and estate documents, etc.

What Are the Benefits of the EB-5 Regional Center Immigration Program?

The advantages of choosing EB-5 immigration through a Regional Center are as follows:

  1. 5,000 immigrant investor visas are set aside each year for applicants who invest in Regional Centers;
  2. Regional Center EB-5 petitions are given priority by USCIS and get approval faster than regular EB-5 applications;
  3. Only need to invest $500,000 rather than $1,000,000 as in regular EB-5 cases;
  4. Burdens of investing in a new enterprise and proving creation of jobs are reduced, no requirement for direct hire of at least 10 full time workers;
  5. No requirements for day to day managerial control and policy formulation;
  6. Lower risk through diversification of investment portfolio and pooling of funds with other investors;
  7. Live, work, and retire anywhere in the U.S.;
  8. The ability to travel outside of the U.S. and return to the U.S. without a visa.

What Are the Filing Procedures for the EB-5 Immigration Visa?

An applicant for the EB-5 visa must file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur with the appropriate regional USCIS Service Center including fees and relevant evidence supporting the application. If an EB-5 application is approved, the alien investor becomes a conditional permanent resident for 2 years. After 2 years, the immigrant investor should file an application to remove the condition and then can obtain a permanent green card after USCIS reviews the application.

Are There Any Additional Fees Involved in the Immigration Process?

Yes. In addition to the investment amount of $500,000, the USCIS fee for submitting the original immigration petition is USD $1,435. The fee for applying for conditional resident status is USD $1,010 and the fee for removing the condition and becoming a permanent resident is USD $2,850. Additionally, if the investor participates in a Regional Center program, the Regional Center will charge an administration fee. If you hire a lawyer to handle your case, the lawyer will also charge a separate fee.

Can My Family Members Come With Me to the U.S.?

Yes. The investor's spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old may come to U.S. together with the investor and apply for permanent residency together.

How Long Will It Take to Become a Permanent Resident?

It may take only a few weeks to several months to get approval for a temporary/conditional green card, after which the alien investor obtains an immigration visa and conditional green card and can live in the U.S. The immigrant investor needs to file a request to remove the condition on his/her residence about two years after the conditional green card is granted. It will then take USCIS several months to review your case, after which would should receive an indefinite permanent green card.

Must I Be Able to Speak English?

No.

Do I Need to Have Business Experience or Education?

No. A minimum educational level or prior business experience are not requirements for the EB-5 immigration application.

 

The above is intended as a general introduction and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion for your particular case. Please contact the Law Offices of Yu & Associates with any specific questions. Tel: (301) 838-8986, Email: syu@yulegal.com, Address: 110 N Washington St., Suite 328E, Rockville, MD 20850.



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