The EB-5 investment program has enabled thousands of foreign nationals to relocate to the United States and acquire permanent residency. While United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) lays out clear regulations for the program, the EB-5 process is complex and time consuming. Moreover, if an EB-5 project fails to comply with USCIS regulations, its investors’ visa petitions may be denied.
Because of the complexity of the EB-5 process, prospective investors are advised to work closely with an experienced immigration attorney. It is also important for them to begin preparing as early as possible so that they can start gathering the documentation they will need later in the process.
In this article, we describe the early preparations that prospective EB-5 investors should make and how they can begin the EB-5 process.
Preparing for the EB-5 Process
First, interested foreign nationals need to determine whether the EB-5 visa is a viable immigration option and hire an immigration attorney. They should examine the source of funds that would be used to make an EB-5 investment as well as the minimum investment thresholds: $500,000 for targeted employment area (TEA) projects and $1,000,000 for non-TEA projects.
Having hired an immigration attorney and examined basic requirements for EB-5 investors, interested foreign nationals must then select a suitable EB-5 project. They should carefully examine the details of each option and determine whether the project fulfills EB-5 criteria, especially the requirement to create 10 qualifying U.S. jobs.
Making an EB-5 Investment
Having selected a qualifying EB-5 business, investors must then subscribe to the project and make their investment. Then, they must prepare to file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor. In this petition, the investor must provide details such as how the funds will be used and prove compliance with the at-risk requirement. Proving that the funds were sourced lawfully can be particularly challenging.
Preparing the source-of-funds documentation to meet USCIS’s high evidentiary standard can take some time. Investors are advised to start preparing this material as soon as they decide to pursue the EB-5 investment visa. Their immigration attorney will be able to advise on exactly what documentation is required, depending on the specific source of capital used in the investment.
The path to obtaining permanent U.S. residency through the EB5 investment program can be complex. However, with the help of an experienced attorney, foreign nationals will be able to navigate this process with confidence.