What is the EB-5 Regional Center Pilot Program?
To encourage immigration through the EB-5 program, congress created a pilot program in 1993. After changes in the US congress in Sept 2012 the name has been changed to “Immigrant Investor Program.” The program provides investors with expanded opportunities to demonstrate Job creation. In 1990, under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. § 1153(b)(5) the US congress created the fifth employment-based preference (EB-5) immigrant visa category. Each year, the provision allots 10,000 immigrant visas to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis that their investment in a new commercial enterprise will benefit the US economy.
The program specifically sets aside 10,000 visas annually for foreign investors who apply through a United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) designated regional center investment program. As of November 2019, an investor seeking an EB-5 immigrant visa through a designated regional center must generally make a qualifying investment of US $1.8 million. Certain high unemployment or target employment areas (TEA) qualify for a lesser investment of $900,000. Additionally, the foreign investor must demonstrate that at least 10 jobs were directly or indirectly created through the investment.
Who should invest in an EB-5 Regional Center?
EB-5 regional center foreign investors are people from all walks of life, including professionals, businesspeople, persons wanting to facilitate a child’s education, and retirees. If your goal is to become a permanent resident without actively managing a business, it is often less expensive and more convenient to utilize the regional center EB-5 category projects where your investment funds are placed into active projects.
Minimum capital to apply for an EB-5 visa?
When you invest through a regional center, the minimum capital requirement is US$900,000 when you select a project in a rural area or targeted employment area (TEA); for all other projects, the capital requirement is US$1,800,000. American Immigration Group, LLC (AIG) selects all of its projects within TEA designations, to ensure that our immigrant investors receive the best investment opportunities.
Investors’ involvement in the EB-5 Regional Center?
The EB-5 regulations require your involvement in the EB-5 Regional Center Immigrant Investor Program. The regulations deem a limited partner in a limited partnership that conforms to the Uniform Limited Partnership Act as sufficient engagement in the EB-5 enterprise. However, the Uniform Limited Partnership Act, adopted by most states of the United States, prohibits the limited partner from actively participating in management.
Do I have to live in the location of the project?
No. The EB-5 visa program allows you to maintain your Permanent Residency by living anywhere in the U.S.
Are EB-5 visas available to any country?
Legally yes. However, people from countries that do not have reliable tax and other financial documentation will need to be more actively involved in proving the authentication and source of investment funds to process an EB-5 visa application.
What does United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) do?
USCIS is a division of the Department of Homeland Security. USCIS is a government agency responsible for the implementation, administration of immigration and naturalization laws, rules and regulations, functions and policies in the provision of services.
Relevant law and regulations to study?
Please go to the United States Citizenship and Immigrations Services (USCIS) website. For a direct link to investment visa information, please click: https://www.uscis.gov/eb-5
Do Immigration lawyers file (I-526 and I-829) petitions?
Every Foreign Investor who invests with American Immigration Group, LLC (AIG) shall enter into a separate representation agreement with an attorney of their choice. We can refer you to immigration attorneys we know and work with however, our investors are free to choose any attorney they like to represent them.
The attorney shall prepare the I-526 Petition for you as a Foreign National Investor. Upon approval of the Petition, the appointed designated Immigration Attorney can prepare your Applications for Conditional Permanent Residency. Before the end of the two-year Conditional Permanent Residency, the appointed designated Immigration Attorney can prepare for you the Immigrant Petition to Remove the Conditions of your Permanent Residency; the final step necessary for you to obtain unconditional Permanent Residency.
What information or documentation is required?
Professional Background: You must prepare complete biographical information for each applicant and the principal applicant must prove the source of the investment funds. A résumé with copies of college diplomas and other educational certificates, if applicable, should be included. Any memberships in professional organizations should be documented. Unless the investor inherited the funds, the investor should be presented as a successful professional or businessperson with a business, financial or family history that explains the accumulation of financial net worth that is presented in the financial information. Provide as much documentation as possible that pertains to the career and achievements of the Investor.
Source of Funds: Funds for the investment must come from a lawful source. Lawful sources of funds include profits from the sales of a property, stocks or bonds, profits from business, business transactions, gifts, and inheritances. To prove the source of investment funds, USCIS requires five years of tax returns, five years of bank records, proof of ownership in any businesses, financial statements for each business and business licenses. The idea is to present a track record of an honest course of dealing. If your capital came from a specific transaction, such as sale of a house, inheritance or gift, you must prove the transaction occurred, by providing an official document, such as a closing statement or contract or other official documents. This is not an exhaustive list of documents. Other documents may be required and vary on a case-by-case basis. All documents included in the application must be translated into English in a proper Affidavit format.
Conditional vs unconditional green cards?
Under the regulations, an investor who is approved for the EB-5 immigrant visa receives a “conditional” green card, which must be reissued after two years, subject to removal of conditions. Otherwise, the two cards offer the same rights and privileges. A conditional Green Card is a temporary Green Card valid for two years. One year and nine months after it is issued, a three-month window opens, during which an individual must file another application with the USCIS to verify that all the funds have been invested and the required employment has been created. When the conditional resident status has been lifted, full resident status is granted, and a permanent Green Card is issued.
How soon do I get my “Green card”?
Upon approval of I-526 Petition:
(a) If you are residing outside the U.S. you must wait for notification from the U.S. Consulate in your home country to prepare documents for the visa interview. The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that the investor and his or her family undergo medical, police, security and immigration history checks before the conditional permanent resident visas are issued. At the interview, the consulate officer may address these issues and information printed on the I-526 application, including asking the investor to summarize the nature of his or her immigrant investment.
(b) If you are in the United States, then you may apply for adjustment of status by filing form I-485, and supporting documents, the application may be filed at the appropriate office of the USCIS.
What are the processing procedures?
The foreign investor must complete three phases of the application process to become a permanent US resident: Step 1 : To obtain immigrant investor status, the foreign investor must submit a completed Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur Form (Form I-526) to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) along with supporting documentation clearly demonstrating that the investment meets all EB-5 requirements.
Step 2: If the foreign investor is residing within the US and has received Form I-526 approval, he or she may obtain conditional resident status by submitting a completed Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) to USCIS. If residing outside the US, the foreign investor must apply for an immigrant visa at a US Consulate abroad.
Step 3: During the 90-day period prior to the expiration of the conditional period, the investor should file a completed Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions (Form I-829) to USCIS. In this petition, the foreign investor must demonstrate that the investment was sustained over the two-year conditional period, and the required jobs were created. Upon approval of the I-829 petition, the conditional nature of the green card is lifted, and full permanent residence is granted to the investor and the investor’s family members less than 21 years of age.