Many aspects of the EB-5 program are challenging, and each professional involved will naturally consider a particular aspect as the most difficult. Some of the most challenging parts of the EB-5 process include documenting the lawful source of funds, ensuring that the business plan is compliant with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines, and carefully researching potential regional centers.
USCIS has set a high evidentiary standard for investors who submit Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor. In this petition, investors must prove that their EB-5 investment funds were sourced lawfully. To accomplish this, applicants must submit copious documentation that traces the EB-5 capital to its original source. Since EB-5 investors can use any legal source of funds and come from all over the world, there is no predetermined set of documents required for Form I-526; USCIS will evaluate each investor’s unique situation. Therefore, an immigration attorney will be invaluable in compiling the necessary evidence and ensuring that there is enough proof.
For example, EB-5 investors who use loaned funds do not only have to show that the loan itself was executed legally—they must also provide information on the lender and the collateral used to secure the loan.
On the other hand, a project’s business plan must be comprehensive and clearly show how the new commercial enterprise (NCE) will fulfill all USCIS requirements. Moreover, every financial projection in the business plan must be verifiable and supported with credible evidence.
Before committing to a regional center-sponsored project, potential EB-5 investors must carry out careful research on the regional center. The regional center must possess official USCIS designation and be in good standing with the agency. Additionally, investors should examine the regional center’s track record to ensure that it has sponsored other EB-5 projects successfully. A history of EB-5 petition denials would indicate that a regional center is unreliable.