To secure permanent residency status, also known as a Green Card, through the EB-5 program,...
A primary requirement for the EB-5 program is an initial investment in a new commercial enterprise....
Answers to Common EB-5 Visa Investor Questions
Here are the questions we most frequently hear from investors:
The total cost of the EB-5 process includes the minimum investment amount of $800,000 for projects located in designated Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs), which encompass rural and high-unemployment areas, or $1,050,000 if located elsewhere.
Apart from the investment, investors should budget for an administration fee ranging from approximately $40,000 to $100,000, as well as legal fees ranging from $15,000 to $25,000. Additionally, there is a USCIS filing fee of $3,675.
How long can I expect to wait for my EB-5 Green Card?
Previously, EB-5 processing times have been unreliable. Prior to the pandemic, USCIS reported an average processing time of 14.2 months for EB-5 petitions. However, several factors indicate that USCIS is likely to process EB-5 petitions more expeditiously in the future.
Firstly, USCIS has implemented various measures to enhance the efficiency and timeliness of the EB-5 adjudication process. This includes streamlining procedures, improving digital systems, and allocating additional resources to handle the growing number of petitions.
Furthermore, the introduction of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization Rule is expected to bring significant changes to the program. The new rule prioritizes the processing of certain EB-5 petitions, particularly those filed by investors in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) and investors prepared to quickly create jobs. This prioritization enables USCIS to expedite processing and reduce overall wait times.
USCIS has also been actively addressing the backlog of pending EB-5 petitions by increasing staffing levels, enhancing training programs for adjudicators, and implementing strategies to improve efficiency and productivity.
Under the Biden administration, which is generally more immigration-friendly, there are expectations of improved processing times. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, who previously led USCIS, is anticipated to contribute to these improvements.
Additionally, during the 2008 recession, EB-5 played a significant role in economic recovery, indicating government support for the program during the current economic rebound. USCIS has been steadily hiring staff since the enactment of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. Congress has set expectations for USCIS to achieve processing times of no longer than 6 months and to collect fees sufficient to meet this target.
In summary, these measures and reforms demonstrate USCIS's dedication to enhancing processing times for EB-5 petitions and delivering more efficient services to investors.
What kind of chances can I expect to be successful?
The chances of success in the EB-5 program can vary based on various factors. From fiscal years 2018 through 2020, the approval rates for I-526 applications were 92%, 90%, 78%, and 75%. However, it's important to note that these statistics represent averages and include cases where investors may not have conducted thorough due diligence or fell victim to fraud.
To increase your chances of success it is crucial to rely on proper third-party due diligence. Conducting comprehensive research, verifying the credibility of the project, and seeking professional guidance can significantly enhance your prospects. By carefully evaluating the investment opportunity, assessing the business plan, examining the project's compliance with EB-5 regulations, and considering the reputation and track record of the project developers and regional center, you can mitigate risks and improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Additionally, working with reputable professionals, such as experienced immigration attorneys and consultants specializing in EB-5, can provide valuable insights and guidance throughout the application process. Their expertise can help you navigate the complexities of the program, ensure compliance with all requirements, and maximize your chances of obtaining EB-5 approval.
What is the EB-5 process for getting a Green Card?
The EB-5 process involves the following four steps:
- Select a qualifying EB-5 project.
- File your investor petition (Form I-526E).
- Once your I-526E petition is approved, file Form I-485 if you are already in the U.S., or file Form DS-260 if you are in your home country, to receive conditional permanent residency (a Green Card). The Green Card will be active for two years, until conditions are removed.
- File Form I-829 after 1 year and 9 months to remove conditions on permanent residency.
Where do I invest? How do I find EB-5 projects?
When it comes to deciding where to invest and finding suitable EB-5 projects, there are a few avenues to consider. While some investors conduct their own research online or receive recommendations from their immigration attorney, it is important to approach these options with caution. Merely relying on online information or a list of "preferred regional centers" may not provide a thorough evaluation of investment opportunities.
Investors with strong business backgrounds may feel confident in conducting their own due diligence. In such cases, working directly with a regional center can offer advantages, such as a potential reduction in administrative fees when not involving an agent. However, it is highly recommended that investors in this scenario obtain an EB5 due diligence report and personally visit the project site. This allows them to assess the project firsthand, meet with the developer and management team, and make an informed investment decision.
On the other hand, working with a broker dealer agent provides investors with a broader selection of investment options. The due diligence process is typically conducted at the EB-5 Funds’ expense, relieving investors of this responsibility. Additionally, a registered U.S. broker acts as a fiduciary, guiding investors throughout the investment selection process, addressing their inquiries, and serving as a liaison with the regional center.
It is crucial for investors to prioritize thorough due diligence and engage in a comprehensive evaluation of potential EB-5 projects. This ensures that they make informed decisions, mitigating risks and maximizing the likelihood of a successful investment outcome.
We recommend that all potential EB-5 investors visit eb5Marketplace.com for a list of EB-5 investments with complete due diligence.
What does an expedited project mean?
When an EB-5 project is granted expedited status by USCIS, it indicates that the project is deemed to serve an urgent government or public interest. This designation results in shorter processing times for the associated petitions. In some cases, we have observed that investors in expedited projects have received approval in less than six months, or even considerably sooner.
However, it is crucial to note that the expedited status of a project does not imply reduced immigration or financial risk for the investor. Investors should maintain a comprehensive approach to due diligence and thoroughly evaluate the investment project, regardless of its expedited status.
Are the majority of EB-5 investments $800,000?
In the realm of EB-5 investments, the majority of investments are structured to meet the requirements of a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). By locating the investment in a TEA, investors become eligible for the lower investment threshold, which currently stands at $800,000.
Investing in a TEA not only allows investors to make a lower capital investment but also provides a new class of visas that have no waiting line, and investments into a rural area qualify for priority processing.
While the majority of EB-5 investments are structured as TEA projects, there are also non-TEA projects available for investors who choose to invest $1,050,000. These non-TEA projects may offer different investment opportunities and project types, catering to investors with varying preferences and objectives.
Ultimately, the decision to invest in a TEA or non-TEA project depends on an individual's financial capabilities, investment goals, risk tolerance, and alignment with their personal preferences.
How long does the process of filing an I-526E typically take?
The process of filing an I-526E petition typically takes between one to two months, but it can extend up to six to eight months depending on various factors.
The timeline is influenced by factors such as the investor's decision-making process in selecting an investment, conducting due diligence, and gathering and translating necessary documents to demonstrate the source of funds.
The majority of the time is spent on these preparatory tasks, ensuring that all required documentation is in order and meets the USCIS requirements. It is important for investors to take the necessary time to conduct thorough research and review before proceeding with the filing to ensure a successful and well-documented application.
When do I make the EB-5 investment? Before or after I file my I-526?
It is advisable to make the EB-5 investment before filing the I-526E petition. While the regulations allow for filing the petition while in the process of investing, it is generally recommended to complete the investment and obtain the confirmation letter from the regional center before submitting the I-526E petition.
This approach ensures that all necessary documentation and evidence of the investment are in place, providing a stronger case for the petition and potentially expediting the processing time. By making the investment prior to filing the I-526E, investors can demonstrate their commitment to the program and enhance the overall credibility of their application.
What Return on Investment Can I Expect From My EB-5 Investment?
Investors often inquire about the potential Return on Investment (ROI) they can expect from their EB-5 investment. It's important to note that EB-5 offerings typically do not offer the same ROI as general investments due to specific considerations unique to the EB-5 program.
At eb5Marketplace.com, our investment platform offers projects that have undergone thorough third-party due diligence. Recently, these investments have provided ROIs ranging from 0.25% to 8% per annum. However, it's crucial to understand that these returns are specific to investments available and vary depending on the individual project's characteristics.
EB-5 investments typically have additional costs associated with structuring the investment within the program's requirements. Furthermore, there is a level of uncertainty regarding when the invested capital will be available to the project. Consequently, projects offering EB-5 opportunities usually provide lower ROI compared to traditional investments in order to attract investors quickly.
It's essential for investors to consider the unique aspects of EB-5 investments when evaluating ROI expectations. Factors such as the project's business model, financial projections, market conditions, and the timing of capital deployment should be thoroughly assessed.
While ROI is an important consideration, investors should weigh the benefits of the EB-5 program - obtaining permanent residency in the United States.
Ultimately, investors should conduct comprehensive due diligence, seek professional advice, and make informed decisions based on their specific investment goals, risk tolerance, and understanding of the unique dynamics associated with EB-5 investments.
When will I get my EB-5 money back?
The timing of when investors can expect to receive their EB-5 funds back is dependent on several factors. It is crucial for investors to have a clear understanding of the nature of their investment and the terms outlined in the operating agreement.
Firstly, it's important to recognize that investors are making an equity investment in the New Commercial Enterprise (NCE), which then provides a loan to the Job Creating Entity (JCE). Therefore, the return of the investment is contingent on two key factors: the repayment of the loan by the JCE and the subsequent liquidation of the NCE by the Manager.
To assess the timing of the loan repayment by the JCE, investors should thoroughly review the loan terms. This includes understanding when the loan begins, the timeline for repayment, and any provisions for possible extensions. By having a clear understanding of the loan terms, investors can estimate when they may receive their initial investment back from the JCE.
Furthermore, once the funds are returned to the NCE, there may be opportunities for reinvestment. The specifics regarding the timing of liquidation of the NCE are typically outlined in the operating agreement that investors sign. This agreement provides details on when and how the NCE will be dissolved, allowing investors to have an idea of when they might expect to receive their capital back.
Investors should carefully review the operating agreement and consult with legal and financial professionals to ensure a thorough understanding of the investment structure, timing, and potential returns. By having a comprehensive understanding of these factors, investors can make informed decisions and have realistic expectations regarding the timeline for the return of their EB-5 funds.
In the context of EB-5 investments, it is important to emphasize that there can be no guarantee or assurance of when an investor will receive repayment of their funds. In fact, if such a guarantee exists, it can raise concerns and potentially lead to the denial of the investor's EB-5 petition by USCIS. This concept is commonly referred to as "impermissible redemption."
The EB-5 program is designed to promote job creation and stimulate economic growth, rather than guarantee specific returns or timelines for investors. USCIS expects that investors' capital contributions remain truly at risk and that the funds are not simply an interest-free loan with a guaranteed repayment schedule.
To maintain the integrity of the program and ensure compliance with its regulations, USCIS carefully examines the terms and structure of EB-5 investments. Any arrangements that provide investors with guarantees of repayment within a certain timeframe can be considered impermissible redemptions and may result in the denial of the investor's petition.
If I get denied, is my money returned right away or is it locked in the investment?
In the event of an investor's denial in the EB-5 program, most investments do have provisions in place to return the investor's capital. However, it is important to note that the specific terms and structure of these provisions can vary depending on the regional center investment involved.
The conditions required for a full refund of an investor's money upon denial can differ from one investment to another. It is crucial for investors to carefully review the offering documents and agreements associated with their specific investment to understand the conditions under which a refund may be provided.
In some cases, there may be a separate fund or mechanism established to handle potential repayment in the event of a petition denial. This fund is designed to ensure that investors have a means to retrieve their capital in such circumstances.
It is also important to consider the entity responsible for making the repayment. Since the investor's capital is typically already invested by the time of a petition denial, the process of returning the funds may involve coordination between various entities within the investment structure. Understanding which entity is responsible for repayment and the mechanisms in place to facilitate it can provide clarity to investors in such situations.
Investors should seek guidance from immigration attorneys and investment professionals who can help them navigate the specific terms and provisions of their investment and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the potential scenarios and outcomes, including the procedures for capital repayment in the event of denial.
What does ‘at risk’ mean?
The term ‘at risk’ in the context of the EB-5 program refers to the requirement that an investor's capital must be invested in a manner that involves the potential for both financial gain and the possibility of loss. This means that the investor's funds must be put at risk with the intention of generating a return on the investment.
It is important to understand that the "at risk" requirement prohibits any guarantees of returns, including guaranteed interest rates. If there are any guarantees made to the investor, such as rights to own or use real estate, the value of those guarantees will be deducted from the total amount of capital considered to be at risk.
To meet the ‘at risk’ requirement, the investor's capital is typically invested in a New Commercial Enterprise (NCE), which then invests in or loans the capital to a Job Creating Enterprise (JCE). The purpose of this investment is to support a business that creates jobs and engages in business activities using the invested capital. However if the business is not successful, there is a risk of losing the investor's capital.
This ‘at risk’ requirement must be maintained for two years following the investment being made.
What are the differences between an equity investment and a debt investment?
Understanding the differences between an equity investment and a debt investment is crucial for EB-5 investors. Sometimes, investors may misunderstand the nature of their investment and believe they are making a loan when, in fact, they are making an equity investment into a New Commercial Enterprise (NCE). The NCE may then provide a loan or potentially make an equity investment into a project.
Investors need to comprehend the risks associated with debt and equity investments and familiarize themselves with various types of debt structures, as well as the rights and remedies associated with each investment structure.
Debt investments can be secured with the assets of the Job Creating Enterprise (JCE) or unsecured. Debt investments generally have a higher priority of repayment compared to equity investments. It is crucial for investors to thoroughly review the loan documents to understand the rights and remedies afforded to the lender, which in this case is the EB-5 investor's fund.
In the case of a preferred equity investment, investors should carefully review the operating agreement of the developer (JCE) to understand the rights and benefits associated with their investment.
It is important to differentiate between the investment into the NCE, which is always in the form of equity, and the investment into the JCE, which can be structured as either debt or equity. Understanding these distinctions will help investors make informed decisions regarding their EB-5 investment.
How do I know whether an EB-5 project uses an in-house regional center or a third-party rental center?
To determine whether an EB-5 project utilizes an in-house regional center or a third-party rental center, a thorough review of the Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) is necessary. The PPM should provide information about the relationship between the Regional Center and the Issuer (NCE). It should clearly identify the principals involved in the Regional Center, NCE, and Job Creating Entity (JCE). It is crucial to examine the PPM for any disclosures of conflicts of interest.
It is important to note that conflicts of interest can arise even if the parties involved are unrelated. These conflicts may stem from the structure of compensation, common ownership, or incentives provided to specific parties. Evaluating and understanding these potential conflicts is of utmost importance for investors.
How do I know a good EB-5 regional center from a bad regional center?
To distinguish between a well-functioning and a poorly managed EB-5 regional center, it's crucial to understand the role of a regional center as a project sponsor and supervisor. The regional center's primary responsibility is to oversee the activities of the EB-5 issuer and all associated managers and promoters, ensuring compliance with regulatory and securities requirements. When evaluating a regional center, investors should consider the following aspects:
- Compliance and Regulatory Track Record:
- Assess the regional center's history of regulatory compliance, including adherence to securities regulations, immigration requirements and other relevant regulations.
- Look into any past legal issues or sanctions imposed on the regional center.
- Project Evaluation:
- Evaluate the regional center's due diligence process for selecting projects.
- Examine the regional center's assessment of project viability, including market research, financial analysis, and risk assessment.
- Consider the track record of successful project execution by the regional center.
- Transparency and Investor Protection:
- Review the regional center's disclosure documents, such as the Private Placement Memorandum (PPM), to ensure clear and comprehensive information is provided to investors.
- Look for transparency regarding the regional center's ownership, affiliations, and potential conflicts of interest.
- Assess the regional center's investor protection measures and mechanisms for handling escrowed funds.
By focusing on the regional center's role as a project sponsor and supervisor, investors can assess the center's commitment to regulatory compliance, securities compliance, and investor protection. This approach helps identify regional centers that prioritize transparency, due diligence, and adherence to regulations, promoting a more secure and reliable EB-5 investment opportunity.
Which is preferable, use of escrow or EB-5 funding directly?
Although regulations do not mandate the use of escrow, it has been a common practice in EB-5 projects until recent years. However, due to complex EB-5 visa requirements and longer processing times, more projects are opting for direct funding or implementing some form of holdback arrangement.
Developers prefer an immediate release of funds so in such cases it is important to assess the mechanisms in place to return the funds if a EB-5 petition denial occurs. Questions regarding fund replacement and the difference between "best efforts" and "reasonable efforts" should be addressed. Certain regional centers may assume the responsibility of advancing funds in case of issues.
Escrow serves as a protective measure for investors, particularly with project developers with disclosed conflicts of interest between the New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) and Job Creating Enterprise (JCE).
Some regional centers have hold-back provisions, where a portion (10-20%) of EB-5 funding remains in escrow until all investors have been approved. Other regional centers offer guarantees for fund return in case of denial. It is important to thoroughly evaluate such guarantees, ensuring that the guarantor's net worth and liquidity have been assessed to uphold their commitment. In some instances, guarantees may not provide the promised protection for investors if not properly vetted.
Investors should be aware that repayment of administrative fees is not a common practice in the EB-5 program. Administrative fees typically cover the costs associated with administrative and marketing functions that have already been performed. Once the fees have been paid, they are usually considered non-refundable as they have already served their purpose in supporting the operational aspects of the investment process.
What advantages does an EB-5 Green Card compared with other visas?
The EB-5 Green Card offers several advantages compared to other visas in the United States.
First and foremost, the EB-5 visa provides permanent residency status, which grants individuals the ability to live and work anywhere in the United States. This is a significant benefit as it offers long-term stability and the opportunity to establish roots in the country.
Another advantage is the educational opportunities it provides for children. EB-5 investors can take advantage of reduced tuition rates at U.S. universities, allowing their children to receive quality education at more affordable costs. This can be a major incentive for families seeking to provide their children with excellent educational prospects.
Unlike certain other visa categories, the EB-5 program does not impose language requirements. This means that applicants are not obligated to demonstrate proficiency in English or any other specific language. This can be advantageous for individuals who may not have strong language skills or are more comfortable in their native language.
Furthermore, after holding an EB-5 Green Card for a minimum of five years, individuals become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship. This presents a pathway to become a full-fledged U.S. citizen with all the accompanying rights and privileges.
Can an EB-5 investment be a loan?
When it comes to EB-5 investments, it is crucial to grasp the distinction between an equity investment and a loan. EB-5 investments are required to be equity investments, meaning that investors become partial owners of the entity they invest in. This equity investment offers the potential for financial gain but also carries the possibility of loss, as it is inherently 'at-risk.'
It is important to note that while investors provide equity investments, the entity they invest in, referred to as the EB-5 Fund or New Commercial Enterprise (NCE), has the flexibility to allocate and deploy the capital as it sees fit, as long as it aligns with the primary objective of job creation.
In certain cases, the NCE may opt to lend the capital raised from investors directly to the Job Creating Entity (JCE) or through an intermediary. This enables the JCE to utilize the funds for job creation initiatives, business expansion, or other qualifying activities. By investing or lending the capital to the JCE, the NCE indirectly supports the crucial requirement of job creation within the EB-5 program.
It is essential to understand that while investors' capital is being deployed for job creation purposes, it is not structured as a loan directly from individual investors to the JCE. Instead, it operates within the framework of an equity investment made by investors into the NCE, which then reinvests or lends the capital to the JCE.
To make well-informed decisions, investors should diligently review the offering documents, business plans, and legal agreements associated with their EB-5 investment. This comprehensive understanding will shed light on how the capital will be utilized, the associated risks, and the potential returns to expect.
Additionally, investors should carefully assess the security or collateral their investment is receiving when intermediaries are involved between the NCE and JCE. Understanding the rights and remedies of all parties involved will play a significant role in the ultimate outcomes for EB-5 investors.
By gaining a thorough comprehension of the nature of an EB-5 equity investment and the subsequent reinvestment or lending activities of the NCE, investors can make informed choices that align with their investment objectives and ensure the protection of their interests.
Can I get a loan for my EB-5 investment?
Yes, it is possible to obtain a loan for your EB-5 investment, and the loan proceeds can be used as part or all of your qualifying capital investment. However, it is important to note that the loan must not be secured by the investment project itself.
Previously, EB-5 investors were not permitted to use unsecured loans for their investment capital. However, a ruling by the D.C. Circuit court in 2020, specifically the Wang v. USCIS case, acknowledged that investors can indeed utilize the proceeds of unsecured loans for their EB-5 investment. This ruling opened up new possibilities for financing EB-5 investments.
Can a gift be the source of my $800,000 investment?
When it comes to the source of funds for an EB-5 investment, gifts can indeed be a valid source. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows investors to use gifted funds to meet the required investment amount.
However, USCIS requires thorough documentation and verification of the gift funds to ensure compliance with the EB-5 program's regulations. When utilizing gifted funds, investors must demonstrate the lawful transfer of the funds and provide evidence that the gift is an actual gift and not a loan or other form of indebtedness.
To satisfy USCIS requirements, investors typically need to provide documentation such as a gift letter, which outlines the details of the gift, including the amount, the relationship between the gift-giver and the investor, and a statement affirming that the gift does not need to be repaid. Additionally, USCIS may require evidence of the lawful source of the gift-giver's funds, such as tax records, bank statements, or other financial documentation.
It is also important to consider potential tax implications associated with gifted funds. Both the investor and the gift-giver may want to consult with a tax professional to ensure compliance with applicable tax laws and to properly report and register the gift money for tax purposes.
Can cryptocurrency be a source of funds for my investment?
Investors may consider using cryptocurrency as a source of funds for their EB-5 investment, but there are certain factors and challenges to consider.
First and foremost, it is crucial to provide proof that cryptocurrency funds are obtained legally and that you are the rightful owner. This documentation is essential to demonstrate the legal origin of the funds and establish your ownership of the cryptocurrency assets.
One of the challenges associated with using cryptocurrency as a funding source is the perception of anonymity that is often associated with digital currencies. While cryptocurrencies offer certain degrees of privacy, it is important to ensure transparency in the source of funds and address any concerns regarding the legitimacy of the assets.
Typically, the process involves converting the cryptocurrency into conventional currency and then using those funds for the investment project. However, challenges may arise if the conversion process takes place in a country that lacks legal protocols for cryptocurrency exchanges. This can potentially complicate the documentation and verification process required by USCIS.
To navigate these complexities, it is advisable to consult with an immigration lawyer who is familiar with cryptocurrency matters. They can guide you through the process and help address any concerns related to the legal origin of funds. The lawyer will assist in presenting the cryptocurrency investment to USCIS in a manner similar to the sale of traditional assets, providing all necessary transparency and documentation, including evidence of taxes paid, to ensure compliance with immigration requirements.
Can my EB-5 investment be my own business?
Yes, it is possible for your EB-5 investment to be your own business, which is referred to as a "direct investment." However, direct investments have certain restrictions and requirements compared to investments made through Regional Centers.
One key difference is that direct investments do not allow for the inclusion of indirect or induced jobs when counting the required 10 full-time U.S. jobs. This means that all job creation must be directly tied to the business itself, making the process more stringent and requiring active management of the investment.
It is important to note that the majority of EB-5 investments, over 95%, are made through Regional Centers. This is primarily because investments made through Regional Centers offer certain advantages such as passive investment opportunities, greater flexibility in job creation, and often faster processing times.
While direct investments can be an option for EB-5, they typically come with more stringent requirements and complexities. It is advisable to consult with experienced professionals, such as an immigration attorney and investment advisor to thoroughly understand the implications, requirements, and potential challenges associated with pursuing a direct investment for your EB-5 visa.
Who in my family should be making the EB-5 petition and investment?
Determining the appropriate petitioner for the EB-5 petition and investment requires careful consideration and planning. The investor's specific goals and circumstances play a crucial role in making this decision. If the investor's intention is for their child to benefit from the EB-5 program and they themselves do not plan to reside in the U.S., the child, depending on their age, may be the suitable petitioner. Alternatively, the investor's spouse could also be a viable petitioner.
It's important for investors who do not plan to live in the U.S. to proceed with caution. The U.S. immigration authorities are likely to scrutinize EB-5 cases more carefully due to the presence of many EB-5 immigrants who do not establish residence in the United States. Understanding the differences in requirements for permanent residency and taxation as a U.S. person compared to other countries is crucial. Investors may find it beneficial to consult with a tax lawyer to navigate the complexities of tax planning and ensure they are well-informed about the implications of making an EB-5 investment.
Can my parents be derivatives on my EB-5 petition?
No, parents are not eligible to be derivatives on an EB-5 petition. The derivative beneficiaries for an EB-5 petition are limited to the investor's spouse and unmarried children who are under 21 years old. These immediate family members can be included in the investor's petition and benefit from the investor's EB-5 application. However, parents do not fall within the eligible category of derivative beneficiaries for the EB-5 program.
Can I apply for EB-5 when on an H-1B visa?
Yes, it is possible to apply for an EB-5 visa while on an H-1B visa. This option is often chosen by individuals who are already working in the United States on an H-1B visa and wish to pursue permanent residency through the EB-5 program.
One of the advantages of this approach is that it allows investors to maintain lawful status in the U.S. during the EB-5 process. The H-1B visa provides temporary work authorization, and investors can continue working for their H-1B sponsoring employer while simultaneously pursuing the EB-5 pathway. Additionally, in the event that an H-1B holder has been terminated from their employment, they have the option to file a concurrent EB-5 petition and remain in the U.S. while their petition is being adjudicated.
However, it's important to note that the H-1B visa and the EB-5 visa are separate immigration programs with distinct requirements. While being on an H-1B visa can provide certain advantages during the EB-5 process, applicants must still meet the eligibility criteria and fulfill the investment requirements of the EB-5 program.
Navigating the dual processes of maintaining H-1B status and applying for EB-5 can be complex. It is highly advisable to seek guidance from experienced immigration attorneys who specialize in both H-1B and EB-5 matters. They can provide valuable insights, ensure compliance with legal requirements, assess potential implications, and help determine the best approach to pursue permanent residency through the EB-5 program while on an H-1B visa.
Can I go to the U.S. on an E-2 visa, and later change to EB-5?
Yes, it is possible to initially enter the United States on an E-2 visa and later transition to an EB-5 visa. The E-2 visa allows individuals to enter the U.S. based on a substantial investment in a U.S. business that will generate job opportunities. The required investment amount for an E-2 visa is generally lower, around $200,000, compared to the minimum investment amount of $800,000 for the EB-5 visa.
The advantage of starting with an E-2 visa is that it allows you to establish your presence in the U.S. and operate your business while potentially exploring the possibility of transitioning to an EB-5 visa in the future. To do this, you would need to increase your investment to meet the higher EB-5 investment threshold of $800,000 or $1,050,000 and ensure that at least 10 full-time jobs are created as a result of the increased investment.
If you are considering pursuing an E-2 visa initially and then exploring the option of transitioning to an EB-5 visa later, it is advisable to seek guidance from brokers and experienced immigration lawyers who specialize in these visa categories. They can provide you with valuable insights, assist you in navigating the process, and ensure that you meet the specific requirements of each visa program.
After becoming a U.S. resident, how long can I leave the country for?
After obtaining U.S. residency, as a permanent resident, you are generally allowed to leave the country for a period of up to six months at a time without jeopardizing your status. This means you can travel internationally for personal or business reasons while maintaining your U.S. residency.
However, if you plan to be outside the United States for an extended period, such as a year or more, it is important to take additional precautions to preserve your residency status. Remaining outside the country for an extended period without proper authorization can potentially result in the abandonment of your permanent residency.
To ensure compliance with U.S. immigration regulations and to safeguard your residency, it is advisable to consult with an immigration lawyer who can provide specific guidance based on your circumstances. Your immigration lawyer will advise you on the necessary steps to take before leaving the country for an extended period, such as obtaining a Re-entry Permit.
A Re-entry Permit is a travel document that allows a permanent resident to stay outside the United States for up to two years without abandoning their residency. It serves as a proof of your intention to maintain your U.S. residency while temporarily residing abroad.
Can I continue to travel in and out of the US, while my I-526 is pending?
In general, individuals with a pending I-526E petition can continue to travel in and out of the United States, but the ability to do so may depend on the type of visa they hold. For example, if an investor has a B visa or is eligible to use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), they should not encounter any significant issues with traveling. However some clients have reported instances where they were stopped and questioned at the airport, although these incidents have not resulted in major problems thus far.
Once an investor's I-526E petition is approved, traveling outside the United States may become more challenging. It is crucial to explain to clients the limitations and allowances of their visa, the concept of dual intent, and what steps to take if they are stopped at the border.
Consider that applying for a non-immigrant visa after the approval of an I-526E petition can be complicated. The fact that the investor has already expressed immigrant intent through the I-526E petition can make establishing non-immigrant intent challenging and require careful navigation.
To ensure a smooth travel experience and avoid potential complications, it is advisable to work closely with an experienced immigration attorney who can provide guidance specific to the individual's situation and visa type. They can help clarify the travel restrictions and assist with any issues that may arise during the immigration process.
Can my child pay to go to university at lower tuition rates once they have a Green Card?
Absolutely, having a Green Card can provide significant benefits for your child's education. One of the major advantages is that they will be eligible for in-state tuition rates at public universities and colleges, which are typically much lower than the rates charged to international students. This can lead to substantial cost savings and make higher education more affordable.
In addition to the reduced tuition fees, students with Green Cards also have access to various scholarships, grants, and financial aid opportunities that are typically reserved for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. These additional resources can further offset the cost of education and make it more financially feasible.
Furthermore, having a Green Card can improve your child's chances of being accepted into universities and colleges. Many institutions have separate admission quotas for international students, and the competition for those spots can be fierce. As a Green Card holder, your child is not considered an international student, which often gives them an advantage in terms of acceptance rates and the overall admissions process.
Note that eligibility for in-state tuition rates and financial aid may vary from state to state and institution to institution. It is advisable to research and understand the specific requirements and benefits offered by the educational institutions your child is considering. Consulting with the university's admissions office or a knowledgeable education consultant can provide valuable information and guidance in navigating the application process and maximizing the available benefits for your child.
By leveraging their Green Card status, your child can enjoy significant advantages in terms of lower tuition rates, increased access to financial aid, and improved acceptance rates, all of which contribute to a more affordable and accessible path to higher education in the United States.
I haven't paid taxes, individual or business, because my country of residence doesn't require it or it isn't customary. Is this a problem?
If you haven't paid taxes, whether individual or business, because it is not required or customary in your country of residence, it may not necessarily pose a significant problem for your EB-5 petition. While it is generally advantageous to provide income tax returns as supporting documentation, the absence of tax returns alone is not likely to make or break your petition.
In the event that USCIS requests copies of your income tax returns as part of the evidence for your petition, you will need to address this requirement. One option is to try to obtain the tax returns, even if they were not previously filed, and submit them as requested. However, if obtaining the tax returns is not feasible, you can explore alternative solutions.
One approach is to consult with an attorney in your country of residence who can provide a letter explaining the legal reasons behind your inability to provide the tax returns. This letter can serve as a substitute for the tax returns and help address the USCIS request for evidence.
It is important to note that while not having tax returns may not be a disqualifying factor, it is still advisable to make every effort to obtain and submit them if possible. Providing comprehensive and thorough documentation can strengthen your petition and increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
What happens if the petitioner passes away during the EB-5 process. Are Green Cards transferable or is money returned?
The outcome in the event of the petitioner's death during the EB-5 process can vary depending on the specific terms outlined in the legal documents and the stage of the process. It is essential to carefully review the escrow terms and clauses to understand the implications.
If the petitioner passes away before the approval of their EB-5 petition, the situation becomes more complex. In such cases, it is crucial to consult with an immigration attorney to determine the available options and potential courses of action. The fate of the Green Card and the possibility of transferring it would depend on the specific circumstances, applicable laws, and the discretion of immigration authorities.
Similarly, the handling of the invested funds would depend on the contractual agreements. Review the terms and conditions of the investment to determine if there are provisions for the return of funds in the event of the petitioner's death.