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The Importance of Immigration Counsel in the EB-5 Process

Many foreign nationals who would like to immigrate to the United States through the EB-5 program may feel somewhat intimidated at first. After all, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) carefully evaluates every EB-5 investment to ensure compliance with its regulations. In addition, the EB-5 investment process is complex and takes several years. It is also important to note that foreign nationals are not automatically guaranteed to receive permanent resident status after making an EB-5 investment.

U.S. business owners may find themselves in a similar situation. The lawful, secure source of capital offered by the EB-5 program is especially desirable in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic hardships. However, EB-5 business owners must take great care to follow USCIS requirements when creating their projects; if they fail to do so, their EB-5 investors will not qualify for U.S. green cards.

Fortunately, both EB-5 investors and business owners can rely on EB-5 immigration counsel to guide them throughout the process. It is crucial for anyone interested in the EB-5 investment industry to work with an experienced immigration attorney. These professionals can help ensure compliance with USCIS regulations.

Immigration Counsel for EB-5 Investors

The first step investors must take is to choose an EB5 investment project. Immigration attorneys can help investors evaluate projects, favoring those with the lowest immigration risk—that is, projects that comply with USCIS regulations, such as the at-risk and job creation requirements. It is particularly important to choose an EB-5 project that can create at least 10 jobs per investor; job creation is one of the main objectives of the EB-5 program.

Once an EB5 investment has been made, investors must submit Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor. This lengthy visa petition must contain detailed information about the EB-5 investment and the EB-5 business. It must also trace the invested funds back to their source in great detail. This last requirement can be especially challenging, so immigration attorneys will be invaluable in gathering the source-of-funds documentation.

Once an EB-5 investor has their I-526 petition approved and nears completion of their conditional residency period, it will be time to file Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status. This petition must, in essence, demonstrate that the EB-5 investment capital remained at risk throughout the conditional residency period and that at least 10 jobs were created. Immigration attorneys can help EB-5 investors identify the necessary evidence and submit their I-829 petitions before the deadline. (I-829 petitions must be submitted within the last 90 days of an investor’s conditional residency.)

Immigration Counsel for EB-5 Business Owners

From the very start of an EB-5 business’s creation, an immigration attorney can help the owner comply with USCIS regulations as the business’s structure and operations are determined. The way EB-5 funds are received and used is a crucial aspect of any EB-5 business due to the at-risk requirement, which entails that all EB-5 investors must be open to either gains or losses. Immigration counsel can also make sure that a project’s business plan, exit strategy, and other details are EB-5-compliant.

Evidently, immigration attorneys play an essential role in the EB-5 investment industry. Both investors and project developers would do well to find experienced immigration counsel before getting involved in the EB-5 program.