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What legal responsibility does a U.S. citizen bear toward an EB-5 partner?

A U.S. citizen who has partnered with an EB-5 investor bears only the responsibility assigned in the partnership agreement or business arrangement. Regarding illegal conduct, the U.S. citizen bears no responsibility and is otherwise not liable for the actions of the EB-5 investor.

EB-5 businesses are allowed to subscribe non-EB-5 investors, including U.S. citizens. In these cases, non-EB-5 investors do not need to comply with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations; they are not required to create at least 10 jobs, fulfill the at-risk criteria, or provide USCIS with legal source of funds documentation.

Project developers should note that they can subscribe as many EB-5 investors as their job creation potential allows; the important thing is that each EB-5 investor is allocated a minimum of 10 jobs. USCIS requires that EB-5 investors have at least some involvement in business management. However, EB-5 investors do not need to be majority partners in the company; their level of involvement will largely depend on whether the project is direct or sponsored by a regional center. Since regional center investors usually sign on the project as limited partners, they are typically exempt from day-to-day operational responsibilities and need to participate only in important policy and management decisions.

Regardless of how many investors have subscribed to a project or whether non-EB-5 investors are involved, foreign nationals must carefully evaluate their investment opportunities to avoid unreliable or even fraudulent projects. The project developer must have a promising track record, and a reasonable contingency plan for a capital shortfall should be in place. If the project is regional center-sponsored, the regional center should not have a history of visa petition denials. Moreover, it must possess official USCIS designation—if a foreign national invests in a regional center-sponsored project without USCIS designation, their I-526 petition will be denied.