Given the popularity of the program, the process has become standardized and relatively consistent. A first step could be to contact us to learn about the regional center or to check with the USCIS website for the latest information and updates. That said, the typical process is as follows:
1. Contact a member of our team to review and discuss the necessary details and updates relating to the EB-5 Visa program.
2. Work with the regional center and immigration counsel to discuss the capital commitment and research the required documentation needed to prove the investor’s money is from a lawful source. Furthermore, some time should be dedicated to understanding the details and viability of the project/investment.
3. Once those steps are completed, an investor can make the capital investment into an approved Regional Center project.
4. File an application with the USCIS. Please note, the application to petition citizenship requires that the USCIS certify the EB-5 eligibility of the applicant and the funds to be invested.
5. Upon approval of the application, if the investor is in the United States, they may apply for an Adjustment of Status to their Conditional Permanent Resident status. If the investor is overseas, they must wait for notification from the National Visa Center to prepare documents for the Immigrant Visa Interview at the US Consulate or Embassy in the country of residence. It should be noted that the purpose of the Adjustment of Status or the Immigrant Visa Interview is to ensure the investor is not subject to grounds of exclusion.
6. Upon being granted the Conditional Permanent Resident status, the wait period is 21 months to confirm that 100% of the investment has been made and the 10 required jobs have been created (if required).
7. Once the wait period of 21 months has ended and before month 24, the application to remove Conditional Permanent Resident status (Form I-829) will be filed.
8. A full Lawful Permanent Resident status or “Green Card” will be granted for indefinite resident status and work permission in the United States once Conditional Permanent Resident status is removed. US Citizenship will be possible 5 years after the Conditional Green Card is issued and once satisfactory residence and additional criteria have been met.
A Summary of the Process
The key to beginning the process centers on completing the initial investor qualification documents, paying any required deposits, and submitting the required USCIS documents. Assuming a non-US person meets all the initial investor qualification requirements, a prospective non-US investor must pay an application fee to reserve their position in the investment and submit any additional documentation. Upon acceptance of the documents an Offering Memorandum, Limited Partnership Agreement and Business Plan will then be provided to the investor, all after the receipt of the initial deposit for the project. The investor is provided a due diligence period as part of the process. Additionally, during this period, it is important that the investor prepare and submit all the necessary documents as required by the USCIS. If the investor chooses to terminate the agreement within this review period, then the initial deposit may be refundable. The actual amount of the Initial Deposit is specific to each project Offering Memorandum, but is normally USD $50,000. A portion of the Application Fee and possibly a portion of the interest payment to the single purpose entity may be reserved and used directly to maintain the operation of the Regional Center.
Qualified non-US investors will have the full details for each investment, time tables, fee structure, etc. provided within the Offering Memorandum, Limited Partnership Agreement and Business Plan. Please refer to these documents and your independent financial and legal advisors before considering or making any investment. All investments are fully “at-risk”, as required by the USCIS regulations.
Amount of capital
The basic EB-5 Visa investment amount is USD$1,050,000. However the required investment is USD$800,000 for an established business in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) which is defined as an area with an unemployment rate of 150% (or more) above the U.S. national average or in a rural area (defined as being within the boundary of a city or town with a population of 20,000 or less).
Types of capital
Investment in the EB-5 Visa program can be made in the form of cash, cash equivalents, equipment, inventory or other tangible property. However, capital does not include loans made by the investor to the venture, however the investor may borrow the investment money if it is secured by assets owned by the investor, provided the investor is personally liable for repayment of the loan. Yet, the investor may receive a gift of funds, if all applicable taxes required by law have been paid.
Source of capital
When the investment is made into the respective project, the USCIS is notified. The current guidelines indicate a required investment for a TEA at USD$800,000. Prospective investors are eligible to invest the required amount alone, create a qualifying business with other foreign investors and/or with a U.S. citizen or other people not seeking classification as a foreign investor. In these types of cases, all persons seeking classification as a foreign investor must have invested the required amount of USD$800,000 however each investor can use the same employees to reach the required 10 new jobs requirement.
The USCIS requires validation that all capital investments are classified as “at risk” with no guarantees being made by the project to the investor. This is to confirm that the capital will actually be used for the purpose of creating jobs and profit-generating activity. Proof of actual business activity is also required and the use of capital investment for expenses or reserve accounts unrelated to job creation does not constitute “business activity”.
Verification of Lawful Source
Proof that the capital has been invested by the actual investor is required. The documentation should trace the capital from the investor directly to the investment. The USCIS also requires that the investor provide documentation that proves the source of their investment funds was obtained legally. Proof of documentation is provided through previous tax returns and financial statements.
For the most accurate and current information refer directly to the USCIS website.
The two primary things to know about investing in this process revolve around the initial deposit and the complete investment. So, please consider the following:
The Initial Deposit
A prospective investor is required to give an application fee to reserve a position. The deposit is fully refundable after 45 days, which is also the time frame allocated for investment due diligence. An Offering Memorandum, Limited Partnership Agreement and Business Plan will be provided to the investor, upon receipt of the initial deposit for the respective project. Additionally, an Investor Questionnaire will be provided and needs to be completed in its entirety for submission and review to USCIS. If the investor chooses to terminate the agreement within the 45 day review period, then the initial deposit is refundable.
Complete the Investment
To complete your EB-5 investment application, the remaining deposit must be paid within the 45 day review period. The remaining balance of the required investment, plus any additional administration fees are to be paid within 60 days thereafter. At this time the funds are then invested into the investment project to stimulate the local economy and the invested funds will also begin to earn bank interest until fully invested into the project. (Please note: the full amount of a Regional Center administrative fee will vary depending on the Regional Center subscription agreement.)
For the most accurate and current information please refer directly to the USCIS website.