Free EB-5 Project Evaluation

Converting from an E-2 to EB-5 Visa & Installment EB-5 Project Investments

Sam (00:00:07):
Hi everyone. This is Sam Silverman, managing partner of EB5 Affiliate Network. Thank you for taking time out of your day today to join us on today’s webinar. Today, we’re going to be discussing making the transition from an E-2 to an EB-5 visa, and we’re also going to be discussing the installment EB-5 project investment option. So, making an EB-5 investment, funding part of the $900,000 with a commitment to fund the remaining amount over a specific period of time. I sent a message in the chat box. Since we’re going to be covering two kind of pretty distinct topics, just to give us an idea of where we should focus most of the time, please respond. If you want to hear more about E-2 to EB-5, put topic A in the box, and send it back. If you want to hear more about topic B, partial EB-5 investment, please respond with topic B, and then, as we go through today’s webinar, please use that same box to type in any questions that you have.

Sam (00:01:07):
And then, at the end of today’s webinar, we’ll have a question-and-answer session and try and address as many of those specific questions as we can. And if you registered, you’ll get a recording of this webinar, and if you want the slides, you can also email us at the email on the screen, and we can send those over to you as well. So, to jump into the presentation today, kind of where we’re going, what questions we’re going to address… what’s the process to apply for EB-5 and E-2? How does EB-5 compare to E-2 in terms of the process, costs, timeline? If the EB-5 waiting period is too long, can I start with an E-2 and then convert? And then, on the partial EB-5 side, can I invest less than $900,000 initially to start my EB-5 process and file my petition? And then, if I decide I want to do a partial EB-5 investment, what additional documents would I need that I would otherwise not need if I was investing all the funds at once?

Sam (00:02:15):
Okay. So, here’s kind of a quick table of contents of how we’re going to break it down today. First, a little bit about our speakers, second, introduction to the topics, E-2 and EB-5 visa overview, then making the transition from E-2 to EB-5, then an installment or partial EB-5 investment, what that looks like, and then questions and answers at the end. So, as I mentioned earlier, I’m Sam Silverman, managing partner EB5 Affiliate Network. I’m joined today by my partner, Mike Schoenfeld, in the middle, and I’ll let Mike quickly jump in and introduce himself.

Mike (00:02:58):
Hi everyone. Thanks for joining today. We look forward to running through both that E-2 and EB-5 programs and how you can transition in between them. As Sam mentioned, I’m one of the managing partners of EB5 Affiliate Network. And prior to founding this company, I used to work at a large private equity firm and at the Boston Consulting Group before that.

Sam (00:03:25):
And it looks like, in terms of preference for topic A or B, it looks like about 70–30 in favor of B. Okay. So, a little bit about EB5 Affiliate Network. We’re a national regional center operator consulting firm and fund manager. We have many regional centers covering more than 20 states, many projects approved. We have more than 1800 investors across all of our regional centers from more than 60 different countries. A little bit about our regional center coverage network—we have regional centers covering more than 20 states. We own all the regional centers 100%. So, this allows us to quickly provide sponsorship for high-quality EB-5 investment opportunities around the country. Joining us on today’s webinar is Ed Beshara. He’s a leading immigration attorney, and I’ll let him jump in and talk a little bit about himself, his practice, and about his experience with EB-5 and partial EB-5 investments as well.

Ed (00:04:34):
Thank you, Sam and Michael. It’s very nice of you to extend the invitation to participate in today’s webinar, but very briefly, I’ve been practicing business immigration law now, which covers E-2s, for 37 years. I’m originally from Australia, I was admitted to the bar in Australia as a barrister and solicitor—yes, as a barrister in Australia, they still wear the white wigs and black gowns, and if I was there today, I’d be doing so, so don’t laugh. But I have an American law degree from the University of Florida Law School in Gainesville. I’ve been an adjunct professor of business immigration law there for several years. And, of course, I really don’t have the time to do it now, but I’ve been practicing in the area of EB-5 for 29 years. And I’ve been a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and of course, IIUSA, Invest in the USA. I’ve been involved with EB5 Investors Magazine, and I’ve known Sam and Michael for quite a few years now, being on the same panels. And, so hopefully, today will be very interesting because we’re going to use our experience in what are the current trends with USCIS and EB-5 offers and how we can offer a benefit to not only existing clients but potential clients as well. But thank you again, Sam.

Sam (00:06:11):
Great. Great. Thank you, Ed. All right. So, to kick us off, we’ll let Ed kind of walk through the differences, and then we’ll jump in and spend a little more time on the EB-5 side.

Ed (00:06:25):
Yes. You know, very quickly, there are different types of visas in which foreign nationals can enter the United States. And we divide those between the non-immigrant visa and the immigrant visa. And quite simply, if you’re trying to get a visa to come into the US for a short, temporary period of time, that is non-immigrant. If you’re trying to come into the US and become a U.S. permanent resident, green card holder, et cetera, then you’re pursuing an immigrant visa process. So, the E-2 is a non-immigrant process. It’s not the green card, and the E-2 is based upon the fact that if someone, a foreign national investor, is a citizen of a treaty country, which means that there’s a list of countries that have treaties with the US. Then, if you are a citizen, if that foreign national is a citizen, they can take advantage by making an investment in a U.S. business, either new, existing, or franchise, and use that investment to obtain an E-2 visa in a matter of months.

Ed:
It includes the spouse and children under 21. Then EB-5 says, “Okay, if you want to get a green card, well, then you need to invest in a business, create 10 full-time jobs. And we’re going to have you file that petition by making a minimum investment, which we’ll talk about later.” But the processing of this EB-5 petition right now could be at least two years before you’re able to apply for the green card. So, now, we are comparing the non-immigrant process—a matter of a few months to get you able to get into the U S—and the EB-5 process, which may take a couple of years before you can get the green card to come into the US. So, we need to look at both of these processes in our strategy meetings with the investor client.

Ed (00:08:19):
So, how do we go from E-2 to EB-5 visas? You know, kind of, the comparison. Well, for the E-2, there is no minimum requirement, but what the U.S. immigration regulations and laws and policies will tell us, and even the foreign affairs manual, which covers the E-2 process, is that one has to make a substantial investment under an E-2. And the question is, what is substantial? You know, over the past few years, back in the 80s, back in the 90s, people could make an investment of $50,000, $75,000, and it was accepted, and it wasn’t irrevocably committed, either. So, today, you know, we’re looking at probably an E-2 investment of $200,000 is going to be what is needed to start the business or to buy the business, the purchase price. And so, the recommended amount is about $200,000-plus. That will show the U.S. consulate or the U.S. immigration service that the investor is very serious.

Ed (00:09:29):
They’re buying into a business that may already have activity or creating something from the ground that will be able to create revenue in a very short period of time. So, there’s no minimum, but it’s what is needed. The question is, what is needed to start this business? You can immediately, in a few months, work and study and live in the US, the spouse of the E-2 principal [investor] can come in and apply for an employment card and work anywhere. A few months is not a lot of time to be able to get into the US, but I think that it’s important to get with various companies like EB5 Affiliate Network to be able to say, okay, which business is the best, because there’s an investment business decision but also, concurrently with that, is an immigration decision process.

Ed (00:10:23):
And that’s where we can come in as well. But if they’re already in the US under a student status or a visitor status, and then they decide, “Well, look, we want to stay. We don’t really want to leave.” You can file an application to get this E-2 petition expedited, and within 15 days is a decision, right? So, I think that with EB-5, there’s a minimum requirement of $900,000, if it’s in a certain rural or target employment area. Since November the 21st of last year [2019], new regulations—and to show that there are certain areas that would qualify for target employment areas, areas of high unemployment before November the 21st, but most of those same areas that would have qualified [before], today, 2020, would not qualify for a TEA. So, one has to be very careful of the analysis done as to whether it’s a TEA or rural or non-TEA or rural. A TEA—$900,000. $1.8 million for a non-TEA—most urban areas.

Ed (00:11:23):
So, if the preference for an investor is “I want to invest in an urban area,” one has to see if it’s a TEA, because we can only include adjacent census tracts to the street address of the location of the business. And one has to determine the amount that’s going to be needed. It’s a 24-month process. You know, when you go online and look at USCIS, their estimate of time, well, it’s going to be more than 24 months, but of course there’s ways and means of saying…. look, if it reaches 24 months, it’s still unreasonable in our opinion, but we can go to federal court file a mandamus action, which is a legal action to force USCIS to react and make a decision. E-2 is wonderful because it’s exempt from the bans that are currently occurring from the administration. So, the administration currently banned all immigration processes, which means processes where you try to get a green card through the U.S. embassy and consulate, except EB-5 and except E-2. So, you can still come into the US under an E-2 or an EB-5. Thank you, Sam.

Mike (00:12:37):
And the way that I like to describe it is that E-2 is the fast, temporary way to come to the US from starting a business. But if you intend to move permanently to the US with the green card, EB-5 is by far the best option.

Ed (00:12:51):
Right. And to follow up, Michael, what you’re saying is exactly right. It may be the first step, and it may be a foundation for an EB-5 later after E-2. I think we’ve gone through some of the overview and requirements, process, and case study. It allows entrepreneurs from treaty countries to come into the US, but then one has to ask that foreign national, “Are you a citizen of which country?” If that foreign national, the principal—and it could be either the husband or wife, and if there is a relationship. Of the husband or wife, you only need that one person to be a citizen of a treaty country—it could be the wife, it could be the husband—but the spouse can still come in with the principal E-2 investor. But the spouse may not be a citizen of a treaty country, or even the children. It doesn’t matter, as long as the principal is a citizen of that treaty country. And, of course, as we said before, the spouse can apply it, tying an appointment, kind of work anywhere in the US, and the children, of course, if they’re under 21, more likely than not, they’re going to school. So, you’ve got huge benefits for family members to accompany the principal investor, who is, of course, a citizen of the treaty country. Thank you, Sam.

Ed (00:14:39):
Okay. So, basically, there are many countries that have the E-2 and E-1 treaty, but remember, please be very careful when you read through the list, because there are some countries that only have the E-1. E-1 sounds like E-2, but E-1 is based upon trade between the country of citizenship and the US, but the E-2 is based upon the investment in a U.S. business. I believe that if you prepare the E-2 petition, as we mentioned before, it could take a month or maybe take a little bit longer to prepare the actual support letter, business plan, et cetera, and submit it to the U.S. consulate. And then, usually, it will take a few months for processing. The appointment is sent to you. You go in, and then, of course, if there’s any further questions, they may ask, but you can take in the entire file that you’ve had to submit previously online to the U.S. consulate.

Ed (00:15:43):
You may be able to have a hard copy of a file that’s probably more extensive than what you had to submit online. The process of going from E-2 to obtaining that visa at the consulate… we’ve got a processing of the timeline. What we’ve included in here is that if you’re a citizen of an E-2 country, well, then it may take three months to prepare the E-2 application and submit it to the consulate, another three months to four months, normally, for processing that at the consulate, and then you’re into the US, even though you may get, as an example, a five-year visa, multiple-entry, which means you can go in and out of the US. Once you arrive in the US, then basically the U.S. customs and border protection inspectors will say, “Fine, everything looks good.”

Ed (00:16:42):
They stamp the passport, and you have a two-year status in the US, right? And remember, let’s say the visa is good until November the 1st of 2020. It ends, the visa ends, but if you’re coming in the middle of October, and you know that the visa they’ve stamped in the passport ends November the 1st, normally the U.S. customs and border protection will still give you a two-year status in the US, which means that the status in the US may go beyond the expiration of the visa. And you can keep on getting extensions of status in the US if you remain in the US. And one has to be very careful and look at the rest of what are called the reciprocity tables for the country that may have the E-2 and determine, by those tables, how long is a visa usually granted for?

Ed (00:17:39):
And [check] if it involves one entry during that period of time of the visa, or does it involve multiple entries? There are some countries that will only grant their citizens—some countries that have the E-2 treaty, but if you’re from that country, you may only get, from the U.S. consulate, a three-month visa with one entry. Now, within that three-month period, you need to make an entry into the US, but once you’re here, you have a two-year status, but the next time you leave, then [you] have to go through the consulate processing again. One has to be very careful of how one advises their clients, but let’s say, number two—if someone does not have citizenship of an E-2 treaty country, you can obtain a second citizenship in a treaty country. And the reason why—there are three countries right now where you can get that second citizenship, and why those countries are mentioned is that they are the countries that have the fastest process to get citizenship in a country that has an E-2 treaty with the US—three months, usually, of processing time. It could be Grenada. It could be Turkey or Montenegro, you know. Of course, you know, Grenada is very popular right now. But thank you, Mike, next slide.

Ed (00:18:58):
Sam, thank you. Okay. About the E-2… we’ve got a South African citizen and entrepreneur, has a manufacturing business making garage door parts. Then they open up a new office in Texas, right, they have $250,000 to invest. The business is owned 80% by John, but he has a full-time manager running day-to-day operations who owns 20%. After six months the business is breaking even and turns a profit after the first year. So, what we have to do? And you look at the key point at the bottom of the slide.

Ed (00:19:33):
Citizens of South Africa normally… of course, South Africa does not have an E-2 treaty with the US. So, we have to ask John, is he a citizen of any other country? Is his spouse a citizen of any other country that may have a need to treaty with the US? The South African does not have a second citizenship. Then we would advise, as we said previously, to go to one of these E-2 countries that can fast track them, obtaining citizenship in those countries to be able to now say “I’m a citizen of a country like Granada, and I’m able to invest in a U.S. business and get the E-2 visa.”

Ed (00:20:21):
One of the things that we want to do is that if they already have the funding to create their own business, fine. I think that one has to be very, very… one has to really ask the particular investor, how certain are they [that they are] going to be able to create the revenue when they come in and set up a new office? It takes a lot of work to not only show that potentially there will be revenue, there will be U.S. employees—because we don’t want the business under the E-2 rules to be called marginal, which means that it’s not likely to hire employees in the US—and we want to also make sure that the revenue is going to be strong enough that the particular investor who may be running the business will earn a salary, and it will be able to support the family through the operations. There also needs to be an irrevocable commitment of funds. And I think that if someone’s going to be investing in their own business or buying an existing business, the U.S. consulates want to see that these funds have been already spent irrevocably.

Ed (00:21:34):
So that means that what we could do with our corporate lawyers, business lawyers—create contracts that are irrevocable. In other words, if we’re buying an existing business or franchise or need to obtain contracts from service providers that will do the building or the renovations of a particular site, if it’s a new setup, a new business, equipment, furniture—all those contracts with either the seller or vendors or service providers have to be irrevocable, which means that once the E-2 is granted and they make an entry into the US, then those funds from the investors may be in an escrow account in the US, which could be irrevocable, will be released to the seller, to the vendors, to the service providers, so that it gives a very strong comfort level to the E-2 investor that “I’m not gonna spend all this money, which could be $200,000, or $250,000—I’m not going to spend it until I know that my E-2 visa is granted and I’ve made an entry into the US.” So, irrevocable contracts, for example, for purchase, an irrevocable escrow account where the funds will be controlled by the escrow agent or trustee and released to the seller or to the vendors only when the foreign national investor obtains a E-2 visa. Thank you, Sam, Mike.

Sam (00:23:10):
Great. Thank you. We’re going to shift now to talk a little bit about the EB-5 visa, and then we’ll talk about how to plan ahead to make the transition from E-2 to EB-5.

Sam (00:23:23):
So, quickly, about the EB-5 visa. So, we’ll go over an overview, talk about the requirements process, and then go through a real case study. So, a little bit about the visa at a high level. So, it’s an immigrant intent visa. As Ed mentioned earlier, there’s two different options—$900,000 or $1.8 million. It depends if the project where the investment is taking place is located in a TEA, a targeted employment area. If it is in a TEA, which can be a high-unemployment area or a rural area, then the investor only has to put in $900,000. If it’s not in a TEA, then it’s $1.8 million minimum. Again, it’s for investors who are looking to make the US their permanent home. It’s not citizenship, but if investors, once they have held a green card for a number of years, do want to pursue citizenship, that’s also available.

Sam (00:24:21):
Of course, there are many benefits with U.S. permanent residency—no work permits or additional visas needed, better chances of admission at colleges and universities, lower tuition rates, and the option, after five years of holding the conditional permanent residency or the green card, you can apply for naturalization or citizenship. So, there’s a lot of benefits to obtaining a green card and, subsequently, citizenship, if that’s the ultimate intent, and EB-5 is going to be the most direct way to do that. A little bit about the process—so, first, determine where your project is located that you’re going to be making the investment. If it is a TEA, [the EB-5 investment amount is] $900,000—if it’s not, then it’s $1.8 million. You have to provide all the documentation showing that you’re a good person—so no criminal record, name, address, phone number, email, where you’ve lived, copy of your passport, government ID. And then also showing that the funds that you’re investing are lawfully sourced, meaning that you have to show that you’ve obtained them legally and you’ve paid tax as appropriate.

Sam (00:25:35):
So, whether you’ve earned it by working at a company as a doctor, or if you’ve inherited money, or you bought stocks that might’ve been value—all of those sources are allowed. Gifts and loans are also allowed. You just have to show how you got the money and that the money has been legally taxed and is in your possession legally. And, again, the second part of that is selecting the project. So, qualification—so, when you’re filing the initial I-526 petition, you’re asking the government to approve not only you as a person or as a family, if you’re married and have kids, but you’re also asking them to approve this specific investment that you’ve chosen to invest in. And so, that means that the project or business that you’re investing the capital in, you have to show that you’re going to create at least 10 new jobs and that the funds are going to remain invested until the end of your two-year conditional, or temporary, green card period. So, your documentation has to establish that not only are you a good person and you have no criminal record and all of the funds that you’re investing have been legally earned and are in your possession, but also that the project that you’re investing in meets the EB-5 rules that the money has to remain invested for the minimum period of time and that you’re going to create at least 10 new jobs as a result of your EB-5 investment into the project.

Sam (00:27:09):
All right. So, a little bit about the process. So, first, choosing a project. So, they are kind of two different types of paths that investors pursue. One is starting your own business, very similar to the E-2 path, where you’re going to create your own, let’s say, apartment building, or your own hotel, or your own Subway franchise. And you’re going to invest either the $900,000 or the $1.8 million. And that business is going to create at least the 10 jobs. And then, you’re going to grow, you’re going to obtain EB-5 green card status as a result of that investment. The other option is to select a more passive option, which is what the majority of investors do. A lot of investors don’t have business operational experience or don’t want to set up a new business in the US and have their immigration rely on them being able to successfully operate that business to create the minimum number of jobs needed.

Sam:
So, a lot of investors will work with companies like EB5 Affiliate Network and others to identify institutional, quality, passive investments where the $900,000 or $1.8 million would be invested in a project and that money would be managed and overseen by a third party to make sure that the jobs are created and that the project goes according to plan. Let’s see, a way to approval… so, investors who are already in the US on another visa type can obviously just remain and continue on that other visa type, but filing for the EB-5 specifically does not grant any immigration status. So, if you’re out of the US, just by filing, you can’t come to the US immediately—you’d have to come on another visa type, potentially E-2 or one of the other visa categories that are available. So, that’s important to keep in mind. Also, obviously, documentation—very important, and all of those documents are going to be included in the original I-526 submission to USCIS for approval. So, the government’s going to approve both you as a person and where your money is from and also all of the documentation that establishes how your project meets EB-5 rules and requirements.

Sam (00:29:37):
All right. So, we’ll just spend a quick minute on this. This is kind of the overall path for how the EB-5 process works. So, as I mentioned earlier, first step—I-526 petition work, with a qualified immigration attorney. Ed Beshara has worked with many, many EB-5 investors around the world. Determine if your project in a TEA or not—the vast majority of projects, more than 95%, are in TEAs. So, $900,000—file your application, about two years, roughly, for your I-526 to get approved by USCIS. Some countries have longer processing times. Then, once approved, then you’re going to adjust your status. Depending on if you’re already in the US on another visa, you’re going to file one form. If you’re out of the US, you’re going to file a different form, then you’re going to do a quick interview to make sure that you’re a real person.

Sam (00:30:31):
Then, 24-month conditional residency period—you get the temporary green card for 24 months. Then, a few months before the end of that 24-month period, you’ll file the I-829, which is the final document, which is converting your temporary green card to a permanent one. And that document is basically just showing the government that not only did your investment remain invested during that period of time, but you also created, or are in the process of creating, at least the 10 jobs that you initially said you were going to create in your original I-526 petition filing several years earlier. So, it’s a pretty logical flow of steps. The key things to realize are, if you don’t create the 10 jobs, then your green card is not going to become permanent. So, you really need to pick a project where, you know, the jobs are going to be there, because if they’re not, then you’ll have invested and then only have gotten a two-year green card, which will then be voided. So, definitely want to avoid that. The second thing is, you know, timing-wise, for most investors, you’re looking at about two years from filing until, you know, you’ll be able to get approval. So, in that two-year period, if you really want to be in the US, you’ve got to think of E-2 or some other option, or just don’t be in the US until that’s approved and you can get the conditional residency status.

Sam (00:31:56):
So, now we’re gonna run through a quick case study, and then, we’ve got another, second case study, too, that we’ll just quickly cover. Okay. So, we’ve got Venkatesh and Isha, they’re Indian-born Canadian citizens. One’s working on an H-1B, the other one’s a student at Santa Clara. They both want to avoid having to continue to rely—or, in the future, for Isha, rely—on H-1B, and they’re concerned. So, one of them invests in an EB-5 fund as a passive project, like we mentioned earlier, as a limited partner—joins the project, invests the minimum amount of capital. The source of funds for that investment—$150,000 in cash from savings, $450,000 against a home, a $750,000 loan, and then the sale of securities in a brokerage account, and a gift. So, a number of different sources here. So, the main point of this slide is that many different sources are allowed.

Sam (00:33:04):
It doesn’t all have to be from one source. And as long as the source can be legally sourced back to the owner and how you obtained possession, then it’s allowed. Obviously, if there was just one transaction that could source the entire $900,000, that would be preferred—it just makes the adjudicator’s life easier when they’re accruing your application. It also makes the attorney’s life easier because there’s only one thing to source. But $900,000 is a lot of money, and a lot of times, that just can’t be done. So, it’s fine to have more than one source. You just want to make sure all the paperwork is really clearly organized and you’re telling a clear story for a USCIS adjudicator to review, okay? Second case study—so, another student, Frederico, is in his final year of undergraduate study in California. He’s going to grad school.

Sam (00:34:00):
His parents are successful entrepreneurs in Brazil. They have a base in Sao Paulo. They want Frederico, and he wants, to stay in the US after graduation. They gift him $900,000 plus the administration fee from the sale of a commercial building in Brazil—Campinas, a city in Brazil. So, he is investing in a Florida real estate project, another passive EB-5 investment option. So, here, the student is already in the US— they’re on an F-1 student visa. So, here, the student will just continue to remain on the F-1 until the EB-5 is approved. Once approved, then he would just adjust status—he’s already in the US—changing from F-1 to the conditional permanent residency. In this case, the parents would have to provide the documentation showing how they obtained ownership of that building and that the funds that they used to buy that building were legally earned. You can’t just show that a gift occurred. And then, that’s it. You have to actually go back to how those funds were earned in this case. Most likely, there was some initial investment, and then the building probably appreciated in value. So, you would want to be able to show what the source was for that initial, kind of, equity down payment for the building, if there was one, but most likely that’s how this was done.

Mike (00:35:25):
And in both of these cases, the thing to focus on is that the EB-5 investors found a legal way to be in the US until their EB-5 application was actually approved. And that’s always one of the key things in why we’re discussing E-2 today, is because EB-5 does take two years or longer to actually get that temporary green card. So, having the right strategy in place, whether it’s F-1, E-2, or any other visa category, is critical when planning that.

Sam (00:35:54):
Yep. Yep. Exactly. So, now we’ll transition and talk a little bit about this specific transition between E-2 and EB-5, and we’ll let Ed jump in and kind of walk us through how that planning looks. If an investor knows, you know, they probably want to do EB-5 later, but they’re not ready to do it immediately—maybe they’re, you know, wanting to see if life in the US is what they really want. So, they want to, kind of, do something in the middle before making the full commitment to EB-5. This is a good option, you know, for that type of an investor.

Ed (00:36:31):
Thank you, Sam and Mike, and when someone is thinking about this process, EB-5, well, of course the first step is for that investor to obtained an E-2. But one has to advise the investor that if someone is obtaining a non-immigrant visa, such as the E-2, they have to have the intent that after their authorized E-2 status finishes, it expires in the US, they have this intent to go back to their home country. And usually, when you’re submitting an E-2 application with the U.S. consulate, you’d really have to advise the investor [that] they have to sign a statement that they have this unequivocal intent to go back, and that’s with most non-immigrant visas—that you have to finish your authorized stay, then you’re back in your home country—but the E-2 to EB-5 transition, can it be done? Yes, it can be done.

Ed (00:37:37):
And if we talking about E-2 to EB-5, of course we’re talking about the E-2, which is a foundation for a foreign national and family members to either, as we said before, create their own business in the US or buy an existing business or franchise. When they’re selecting the business to, as an example, purchase or a franchise, well, then, I know that you, Sam and Mike, with EB5 Affiliate Network, you provide business investment and even management due diligence. So, you know, this is something that every investor should obtain that even though they’re going to U.S. immigration lawyers—we can only give immigration advice. So, when they’re selecting and investing in an E-2-eligible business, it really lends itself to a really important requirement to get two types of due diligence—business investment and immigration. Both they’re pursuing at the same time, the business selection and the E-2 selection.

Ed (00:38:47):
And hopefully, concurrently, we as a team can support their goals—concurrently business investment decisions and immigration. So, when they do obtain that E-2 visa, they basically are operating that business, you know, for a year or two, et cetera. And then, how do we go from coming into an E-2 business and then transitioning from the E-2 business that they’re operating, either new or existing, and go to the EB-5? Well, if their E-2 business is located, as an example, in a target employment area, and we know that by the street location and the adjacent census tracts, usually the professionals can go in. I know that EB5 Affiliate Network has come up with a system where you can calculate TEA locations. But one of the things that we really want to do is that if they are thinking about expanding their E-2 business, they need to make sure that they obtain advice, again, from the immigration council, from the business and investment advisors, and say, from a financial standpoint, “How can we do this?”

Ed:
From an immigration standpoint, we say, “Look, if you’ve only invested $200,000, you’re going to have to invest another $700,000 into this business. And you’re going to have to invest that $700,000 under normal circumstances before we file the EB-5 petition. And they get a say—“Well, if we put in another $700,000 over and above the $200,000 E-2, how can we show the jobs that are going to be created?” Well, if, say, EB-5 direct—and normally when we say “EB-5 direct,” it usually is running their own business, which they are under the E-2—that if they put more money in, how can they create 10 full-time jobs, either [taken] by Americans or permanent residents? And they need to show that the jobs are created at least within a two-and-a-half-year period after their I-526 petition has been approved. We have to analyze that from an immigration standpoint.

Ed (00:41:01):
And, of course, from a business standpoint. If they’re investing in a E-2 business, and they say, “Well, look, you know, 10 full-time jobs, that’s a lot of people. And it’s very expensive to hire 10 full-time people over a period of time.” Then we, as council, can go and say, “Look, if you enter into a memorandum of understanding, a relationship, with a company that has a regional center designation, a license designation, then with that understanding of that legal relationship with a company that has a regional center designation, USCIS allows the project with the right professionals to show how their expenditures and the nexus between these expenditures on operations, revenue, maybe even construction can lead to, now, an indirect job count and induced job count, which means that you can show that you’re satisfying the EB-5 requirements for job creation.”

Ed (00:42:15):
Either showing that the jobs are created either directly or indirectly or induced. So, it may be a huge benefit to say, “Look, I’m running my own business. I know want to hire 10 full-time employees, but I’d rather show that my expenditures are going to create the jobs indirectly.” It requires experts, economists, business plan, real good experts to show that how the jobs are going to be created because they need to be created. Because when you go and file I-829 petition to remove the conditions, that’s where the documents come in and the evidence comes in to show that the required jobs are created as a result of the use of the investment funds.

Ed:
Now, what if someone says, “Look, I’m content running my own E-2 business. I’ve created it, or I’ve bought a franchise or existing [business]—I’m content. I don’t have to really show a lot of employees on the principal, on the executive, I’m running the business. It could be a smaller operation, and I’m very content. But I don’t want to put more money into this type of business. I would rather put money into another project that’s managed and operated by experienced developers, operators. They’ve got a track record or a new project that looks very good. I’m very interested. I’ve done my business and investment due diligence on this EB-5 project. They have the experience in management control. I like what they they’ve done. They’ve showed us due diligence themselves. I want to just be content running my E-2 business, have my family members and my children just remain in the US under E-2, and I’m going to now invest another $900,000 in a separate EB-5 regional center project, which is going through the normal EB-5 process.”

Ed (00:44:09):
And once they’ve done that due diligence, and once the investment is made, the I-526 petition is filed, whilst continuing to remain in the US under the E-2, and the I-526 is processed, approved, and then they apply for the conditional permanent residency—all that can be done in the US while they’re continuing to remain in the US—they may have an E-2 visa that is for a period of time, let’s say five years, multiple-entry, can come in and out—so while the E-2 business is operating, they have the E-2 visa, they have now filed a I-526 petition. So, while they in the US on an E-2, the I-526 is normally taking two years, at least. And then, after that, they apply for the conditional permanent residency, but they can do so in the US if they currently maintain, legally, their E-2 status in the US. Then, at the same time, the I-526 is approved, they submit their application for conditional permanent residency.

Ed:
If they keep going in and out of the US, and they come back in, then we don’t want to show that they had a preconceived intent to become a resident of the US by remaining in the US and applying. So, normally, you know, you would probably ask the investors to wait for 90 days after entering, and then think about, contemplate, whether they want to apply here in the US or outside the US. And if they say, “Look, we’d rather apply in the US after 90 days after E-2 entry,” then they can submit their application for conditional permanent residency. They’ll ask for employment authorization and permission to travel, and they can do it while they’re in the U S. Thank you, Sam, Mike.

Mike (00:45:54):
And what we typically see, out of those two options, is we’ve seen many more investors go down the second option, which is keeping the E-2 current but completely investing in a new business, or a new investment on the EB-5 side and not stacking them together. At $500,000, it was a little bit easier to, let’s say, open a franchise for $250,000 and then put in another $250,000 to achieve the $500,000 investment limit. But now if you have, let’s say $250,000, and you wanted to go into EB-5, you would then have to invest in another $650,000. So, it makes a lot more sense to invest potentially in a safer business, and one with more certainty on the job-creation side, to ensure you end up with the EB-5 green card. So, you can obviously do it both ways, but we do see more investors choose to keep the processes somewhat separate in terms of how they approach it.

Sam (00:46:56):
Thank you. Great, great. Thank you, guys. Now we’re going to shift gears now and talk a little bit about the installment or partial EB-5 investment option. And this is something that we’ve dealt with a number of times with investors in our projects as well. So, we’re quite familiar with the different levers that can be pulled to, you know, make this flexible for an investor who wants to file and doesn’t want to wait until he has the full liquidity to file and get started.

Ed (00:47:36):
All right. So, basically, thank you, Sam. One of the things that we’ve noticed over the 29 years is that most EB-5 regional center projects, for the, you know, for the 29 years, and especially since 2007, you know, the investors to say, “Look, you know, if you’re investing in our project, we’re developers, we’re operators, we really need you to come up with the cash, $500,000 and the administration fee, and then put it into escrow. And then you can go ahead and file your I-526 petition.” But if we really look at the regulations and policies, they define capital contribution under the EB-5 program as either cash or a promissory note.

Ed:
And so, now that the amount is going up to $900,000 as a minimum, or in certain geographical areas, $1.8 million, and it did so November the 21st [2019], and very quickly, everyone in the industry said, “Gee, you know, it went up, but let’s try to see if we can get it back to $500,000.” Most investors said, “I wish it was under $500,000.” And so, now, we’re looking at, as Sam and Mike said, we’re looking at a policy that is acceptable, a procedure that is part of the law and regulations and case law, that if one makes a cash contribution, in this example of $300,000 cash, under $500,000—if they come up with it, we still have to authenticate where they got $300,000 from, and then they enter into a promissory note arrangement, which they can legally do between themselves as the investor and the new commercial enterprise, which is part of the EB-5 regional center project. Now, the NCE will say, “Look, you’re putting the cash down, but we have to also make sure that we get the balance because it’s a requirement that we really need that $600,000 to further the project, even though we can do it without EB-5 money, but we still need the money because it’s part of the arrangement, part of the structure.”

Ed (00:49:57):
So, we believe that, in compliance with the EB-5 policies and regulations, that USCIS would like to see that, at the time of filing, the $300,000 cash… that when the investor files an I-526 petition, it is an irrevocable commitment. The investor is showing that they’ve made an irrevocable commitment of the $900,000 at the time of filing the I-526, even though they’ve only put down $300,000 in cash, and one might say, “Well, how do we do that?” Well, we want to make sure that the promissory note is secured by the assets and even liquid assets of the investor—they may have assets in real estate or wealth management products in the US, outside the US, but they make sure that these assets secure the promissory note that will help the EB-5 regional center project to accept this arrangement. It will show us that an irrevocable commitment has already been made, because what we would like to do also is show that the NCE has a lien, an enforceable lien, on going after the assets of the investor, if they default in the payments.

Ed (00:51:1900:51:19):
And usually it’s a monthly payment. The policies and the rules and the case law said that if you are entering into an installment program, it should not be more than 24 months. Everyone’s saying, “Well, it takes almost now 24 months for even a I-526 petition to be processed.” So, by the time they process the I-526 petition, the full amount has been paid in any event. Now, one of the things that can be done is that when the investor comes in, they can invest in wealth management products or real estate in the US, if they haven’t already, and they can borrow against the real estate, they can borrow against the wealth management products, to help them make that monthly payment. So, there should be various sources where they can make the payment, but the lien will tell the people that may have the real estate—it could be the bank, it could be someone else, it could be the wealth management companies—that the investor can’t touch and sell the real estate, or can’t sell these wealth management products, because there’s a lien on these products by the NCE.

Ed:
So, really, this is how it works. I think it’s a marvelous process by which investors can invest less. They feel more comfortable having control of other assets that can generate a return on their investment. They can have control over those other assets. Those assets could increase in value over a period of time. And so, those assets are really owned by the investors. They’re separate from the EB-5 project, where they have to invest funds at risk. And it’s one way where they’re not outlying all their cash into an AB five project—they’re outlying a little bit, paying it off on a monthly basis, and then they have a comfort level that the project will continue to succeed, and at the same time, they’re making money on the other products where they have the actual cash. Thank you so much.

Sam (00:53:33):
Great. We’re now going to jump into a case study to kind of illustrate how that can work in real life. So, to illustrate this irrevocable commitment, again, we’re going to have a partial initial funding. So, the investor will initially contribute $300,000 cash into the NCE and then also execute a promissory note for the balance, for the $600,000. In this case, it’s an investor who owns a hotel. And so, there’s going to be an enforceable lien and a promissory note in the amount of the $600,000. So, the investor owns the whole hotel. Let’s, for simplicity here, assume that it’s in or outside of the US—either one, you’re going to need documents showing that the investor does, in fact, own all of the equity in the hotel and is in control. And you want an independent appraisal showing that the equity—again, the key is the equity, not the total value of the hotel, but the equity, the hotel probably has other debt—has a market value of at least more than $600,000, which is the amount of the promissory note that’s being given in favor of the NCE.

Sam (00:54:45):
So, initially, the first transfer is the $300,000. And then, over the period of time, you know, one to two years, the remaining balance, $600,000 gets funded from the investor into the NCE. And once that funding is completed, then the promissory note becomes void, and there’s no longer any lien or security interest against the investor’s equity in the hotel. One other nuance to note here is that if it’s in the US, it’s going to be easier to document and show how you would be able to foreclose and, kind of, pursue that lien on the hotel. If you’re not in the US, then you’re going to need some explanation or local council writing a letter, something to document, you know, that, “Hey, I’ve got a mortgage on a hotel. It’s in Mumbai.” Okay, great. How are you actually going to put your hand on that hotel and liquidate it to make good on the promissory note that’s been made? So, you’ve got to demonstrate that you’ve got a plan for how that would actually occur and not just that you have the security but a line of sight to actually getting paid in the event of a default on behalf of the investor.

Sam:
All right. So now we’re going to move over to the question-and-answer session. So, we’re going to try and cover as many questions as we possibly can, but in the event that we can’t get to everyone, you can reach out to us directly. The contact information is on this screen now for both EB5AN, for me and Mike, if you have any questions about EB-5 or about doing the partial investment, and then, anything immigration-related, Ed will be the go-to resource for those questions. Okay. So, let’s look at some of the questions that we’ve got here. Okay. So, first question is, “Does E-2 have to be more than 51% ownership? E-2 is investing in a business, and do I need to have a partner in my E-2 business?”

Ed (01:00:12):
Sam, very quickly, you know, to obtain an E-2, you have to show that the U.S. corporation is at least 50% owned by the foreign national that has the E-2 citizenship. Sometimes you may have two E-2 investors owning the one corporation, 50–50—there’s a concept called negative control. So, at least either owner can show that they can make important decisions for the business. If someone says, “Well, look, I’m going to come in myself and only own 51%,” well, then you can have a U.S. citizen owning the 49%, but at least the 51% is owned by the foreign national investor. And then they, with the 51% ownership, can show that they’re clearly in the position to make important decisions and control the U.S. business. But going back to our original statement, the 50% ownership is the minimum.

Sam (01:01:15):
Yep. Very good. One another question that we got—this is a good one too—is, “If I’m doing a partial EB-5 investment, in the initial application, do I have to show all of the funds at the beginning of the filing of the I-526, or can I source subsequent payments at a subsequent time?”

Ed (01:01:39):
I think that, basically, if we’re talking about the installment program, because when you file the I-526, and for the EB-5 regional center project to accept you in their program, they want to make sure that that particular investor already has the assets that are valued at, as an example, $900,000, right? Or if there’s a deposit—in the example, we had shown that there was a $300,000 cash investment. Well, then the $600,000 is the balance of the amount that’s owed. So, you would have to show, I believe, for any EB-5 regional center project, that $600,000 of assets is already in existence that’s connected to the EB-5 investor.

Sam (01:02:34):
Got it, got it. One question that we had related to EB-5 as well was, “If I’m starting my own business, buying a piece of land, and building a store on it, all of the money that I’m investing in buying the land and building the store can count toward the minimum $200,000—is that correct?”

Ed (01:02:56):
Yeah, sure, sure.

Sam (01:02:59):
Yep. Another one we got is, “In the event of a gift from a family member, do I have to pay capital gains tax?” So, that one, there’s a number of different elements there. First, capital gains tax is inapplicable to gifts. It’s gift tax. If there is gift tax, it’s applicable. Second, that’s going to depend on the location and current citizenship of the parties giving and receiving the gift. If they’re in the US, they’re both U.S. people, which wouldn’t be the case because the person getting the money is not a U.S. person yet. So, U.S. gift tax laws wouldn’t really be applicable there because the [U.S] person’s not getting the money. However, if the person giving the money was a U.S. person, then if you [the donor] are giving more than the $15,000 per year that’s allowed, then you have to file a federal gift tax return and declare that, if you’re giving less than the… I think it’s $11.3 million per person currently under the tax code. So, the short answer is there’s no capital gains tax. There may be gift tax, but probably not. Okay. Another question we got—“How much is the administrative fee for EB-5?” Good question. That’s going to vary project by project. Some projects, it’s as high as $80,000–$90,000. Other projects, it’s in the $50,000–$60,000 range. It just varies by project. That amount is set by the project itself. It’s not a USCIS-set fee.

Sam (01:04:36):
Uh, let’s see… “Will this recording be available?” Yes. If you registered, you should get a follow-up email with a link. If not, you can also visit our go to webinar channel or YouTube page later this week. This whole video will be posted on our YouTube channel. If you want to see a hard copy or a PDF file, send us an email info@eb5an.com and just put in a request E-2 to EB-5 presentation slides or partial EB-5 slides, and we can send you a file with just the slides.

Sam (01:05:11):
“Will investing $300,000 in a real estate development company qualify for an E-2 visa?” Ed, do you want to take that?

Ed (01:05:18):
Qualify for an E-2?

Sam (01:05:23):
Yes. E-2, $300,000 in a real estate development company where I own the whole thing.

Ed (01:05:27):
Yeah. If you’re investing $300,000, you know, of course it’s, you know… the question is, what is it going to take to, you know, start a business like this, or own a business like this. And it was $300,000, but investing in a corporation that just owns homes or townhomes and that’s it is not going to get you the E-2 because it really sounds like it’s too passive. So, how do we make a corporation that’s involved in real estate development an active business? Well, the activity of building construction, selling, renting, managing—that’s what we need to emphasize in the E-2 to application, that it’s more than just passive owning land and owning houses. That’s a little bit more. Do you have an office? Do you have employees that are going to be hired? So, it has to be an active business.

Sam:
Yep. So, we’ve got another question for Ed. This one’s from Jill Jones from NES Financial. NES is one of the largest EB-5 escrow solution providers. And we use them on all of our projects for an increased level of safety. So, her question is, “If an investor’s making payments over one to two years, how does the NCE get the funds to the JCE in time to create jobs and satisfy the fact that the funds have been at risk for that investor and touched job creation?”

Ed (01:06:53):
Yes, it’s a very good question from Jill Jones. If Jill could, you know, send me an email and spell her name clearly, so I know who it is… I’m just joking. I’ve known Jill for many years, and I know NES, of course, but to answer Jill’s question, it’s a great question, because remember that in an EB-5 regional center project, if the investor’s making a deposit, then the payments, the EB-5 money, the payments are going to go to the, let’s say, regional center project, the NCE and JCE, over the next year or 12 months or two years. Usually, the EB-5 money that’s coming into the EB-5 regional center project—the EB-5 money is used usually as a bridge, right? Especially a loan model. So, the non-EB-5 money, that’s being used by the JCE for construction, for development and creating jobs—the subsequent money coming in from the EB-5 investor over a period of time, that EB-5 money will be used by the JCE maybe to pay off the more expensive non-EB-5 loans, and the EB-5 investor will get credit for previously created jobs. So, Jill, hopefully that answers your question.

Sam (01:08:25):
All right, great. Let’s see… we’ve got a few other ones here. “Can I invest more than $900,000?” Yes. 900,000 is the minimum, although we see very few projects where you’re investing more, but in a TEA, targeted employment area, $900,000 is the minimum. There set maximum by law. Okay. “In the partial EB-5 investment option, is there a set minimum threshold? Does it have to be $300,000 or could it be lower?” Uh, there is no set threshold by law, but, you know, you can’t put down $10 and then say you’re going to fund, you know, $899,990. That’s not going to work. You’ve got to have a substantial amount of initial capital that’s invested. Historically, in our deals, we’ve kind of set that at between $200,000 to $300,000. But there is no set amount for that in any regulation or rule, but it has to be credible to pass approval.

Sam (01:09:27):
“Could an I-526 be approved if the USCIS officer reviews the application before the partial investment payments are completed?” Yes. As Ed mentioned earlier, it’s possible that that could be approved, just given the length of time it takes for the processing. If your application got processed in a year and a half but you had a two-year promissory note, then you’d still have some payments left following the approval. What’s interesting there is that if you didn’t make those final payments after you got approved, then you wouldn’t be able to get your I-829 approved because you’d have to demonstrate at the I-829 stage that the funds were fully invested for at least the two years. So, you would have a problem later on, is the quick answer for that. Okay. “How can an NCE set up a lien on a property outside of the US?” Good question. That varies substantially based on the jurisdiction of the asset. We’ve dealt with a number of situations like that out of the country—Brazil, Asia, India. And so, we’re aware of how to set that up properly. It’s going to vary based on jurisdiction and based on the type of asset real estate—it’s going to be a lot different than, say, a bank account or a brokerage.

Sam (01:10:49):
Let’s see. “Do you offer E-2 investment options?” We don’t offer E-2 investment options as a company. There are many different ways investors go about identifying an E-2 business. A lot of them have a business in their home country that they’re looking to expand, or they’re familiar with a particular industry, so they do that. Or if they don’t have a particular industry they’re tied to going in, then they can find a franchise. There’s a number of companies that offer a kind of franchise E-2-specific products as well. We don’t offer one of those specifically, but there’s a number of different ways to do it. This is an immigration question for Ed—“for E-2, once approved, how easy is it to come back and forth from the US? Is it single entry? What costs, et cetera?”

Ed (01:11:41):
Well, if you have an E-2 visa, you know, it’s usually… the visa is for a certain period of time, and let’s say it could be five years. So, there’s an issuance day and the expiration date, and it’s like your invitation to the country. So, when you come to the airport in the US and you show the visa, okay, so you’re coming in within that period of the visa period. And when you enter the US, usually the immigration inspectors will grant a two-year status—they’ll have a date of entry and a date that you really have to leave. And it’s usually a two-year period.

Sam (01:12:23):
Got it. Got it. Thank you, Ed. One question, another one for Ed—“Does the I-526 need to be approved before you can file I-485?”

Ed (01:12:34):
Yes, yes, yes, yes. In other words, the I-526… unfortunately, we’ve suggested over the years to have concurrent filing when you file the I-526, and then you file the I-485, if you’re legally in the US, at the same time, concurrent filing. The normal I-140 petitions allow that if the priority dates are current—in other words, if a visa number is available—but unfortunately, even if it was allowed, the I-526 petitions that are filed with some countries, there’s retrogression—you know, there are delays. So, even if the petition is approved, you still have to wait before you can apply for the green card, even if it’s in the US. So, if the I-526 is approved and you have a legal status in the US, like an F-1 student status or an E-2 status, you can then file your application for permanent residency.

Sam (01:13:31):
Great. Another question we got—“Is it okay to give a repayment guarantee on an EB-5 project without breaching the “at risk” requirement?” Yep. I can see where that could be a little bit confusing. The short answer is yes, that is allowed. You can give a repayment guarantee. Just because the EB-5 payment’s been guaranteed doesn’t mean that there’s no risk, right? So, if you loan money to, let’s say, Amazon, and you had a guarantee of repayment, it’s still possible that Amazon could go bankrupt and not be able to repay that guarantee. So, yes, it’s still at risk, although the risk, you know, in the eyes of some investors, would be substantially lower if you had that additional type of security in place.

Ed (01:14:16):
Just to add… basically, the NCE could not, you know, guarantee that the full amount will definitely be repaid because it really sounds like a redemption, right, when you’re saying, “I guarantee that $900,000 will be repaid to you.” I don’t think one can say that.

Sam (01:14:40):
No, that’s right. You can’t specifically say that. Yep. That is accurate. One other immigration question that we got is the timing of the hiring of the employees. So, when does that have to happen? The quick answer is you just have to show that those employees have been hired at the time you’re filing the I-829. So, if it takes about two years for the I-526 to get approved, a little bit longer to adjust your status, and then 21 months before you could file an I-829, then you’ve got roughly four years from when you invested the money until when you’d have to show that those jobs were created. So, you’ve got a substantial amount of time before you have to show the job creation proof.

Sam (01:16:40):
Let’s see. A few more questions here. Let’s see… is there an irrevocable contract required for E-2, Ed? How does that work in terms of the minimum investment amount? How is that proven and documented?”

Ed (01:17:06):
The U.S. consulate or even USCIS, wants to see that, you know, the funds have been irrevocably committed, you know, similar to EB-5. So, what we’ve done for many, many years is that we’ve had our corporate lawyers, business lawyers, create irrevocable contracts to purchase, for example, an existing business or franchise. And it’s clearly stating that yes, the E-2 investor will buy the business, as an example, on the condition that the E-2 visa is granted to the E-2 investor and there’s an entry into the US. We also show that the escrow account is supported by an irrevocable escrow agreement, that a third party, usually a trustee or agent, will control the funds in the escrow account. And then, on the condition that the E-2 visa is granted and they make an entry, then those funds will be released to the seller, and it’s worked every time. So, it gives a really nice comfort level to the investors and the family that, you know, they’re not gonna spend all this money, you know, $200,000 and et cetera, until they know that they have obtained the visa.

Sam (01:18:31):
Great. “Does an EB-5 project have to be profitable in the conditional green card period and pay taxes?” No, there’s no requirement that the project’s profitable during that period or paying taxes—although, most likely, most projects would be—but that’s not a condition for any type of EB-5 visa approval. Another question for Ed, in terms of the interview process—“If you’re doing EB-5, inside the US or outside—what’s more preferred, what’s faster?”

Ed (01:19:01):
Yeah, it’s a very good question. You know, remember, if you’re in the US and you are applying for the conditional green card, well, then you submit the documentation because the I-526 petition has already been approved. So, you’re submitting the application, and it’s reviewed by USCIS without an interview, usually without an interview, if you have an I-526 approved. [If you apply from abroad] you go through consulate processing, where you are interviewed, there is the chance that the U.S. consulate will ask questions to the investor about the project, about employment creation, about authentication of source of funds. And they’ve done it before, because there’s an actual interaction between the investor and the consulate officer. So, where is it better? I think that a lot of facts will determine where the investor is going to be applying for the conditional residency, but it sounds like sometimes it’s better if they can do it in the US—less questioning, maybe.

Sam (01:20:16):
Right. Yep. Thanks. Thank you, Ed. Another question—“Investing $900,000 in a company which builds single-family homes, will that work for EB-5?” Yes, that will work. We’ve structured a number of single-family home community projects ranging from 5 to 10 homes all the way up to several hundred homes. So, yes, that’ll work, and that can be structured. Okay.

Mike (01:20:39):
But the most important thing is to make sure there’s enough construction spent over the total amount of homes for the job creation. And typically, the capital will be recycled. So, for example, a $900,000 home, or two $450,000 homes, are not going to be enough, but if you reuse that money four or five times and create 10 homes, there could be enough jobs.

Sam (01:21:00):
Yup. Another E-2 to EB-5 question. “If my business is an E-2 but is not in a TEA, then am I going to be eligible for the $900,000 to invest more money to get it to qualify?”

Ed (01:21:14):
Well, I think that the E-2 business, ideally it would be in a TEA, and one has to determine at the time of putting more funds in and committing, are you going to have a location that will continue to be a TEA as the funds continue to be invested? It really depends on the business. If you have one location where you’ve been able to invest for an E-2 and then the expansion into an EB-5, where you’re putting more money into it, it doesn’t necessarily have to be in that one location. It can be in another location to expand your investment into an EB-5.

Sam (01:21:57):
Got it. Got it. So, another question we got related to EB-5—“So if I invest $900,000, what’s the output of the investment?” So, that that’s going to vary. That’s going to be the, kind of, financial, economic side of the deal. Those terms are going to vary project by project. But in most cases, you get the money back, and each year, or at the end of the term, you get the money back plus some kind of a profit share or return on the money. Let’s see… spousal… let’s see. “Is it easy to renew an E-2 visa after five years, or do I have to go back to my home country and get it there?” For Ed again.

Ed (01:23:06):
To renew a visa? In other words, if the visa expires, five years, and then before the expiration, of course you say, “Well, look, gee, I need to apply for another visa,” and the application would have to be submitted directly to the U.S. consulate because the U.S. consulate is the only location where you can get a new visa. Remember, the visa is the stamp in the passport that allows, for a certain period of time, entries into the US. If you are in the US and you say, “Look, I don’t want to be bothered going to a U.S. consulate. I just want to remain in the US”—so, you can always get extensions of status in the US for oneself and the family without leaving the US. But if the visa has expired and you leave the US to come back in, then that’s when you need to get, again, a new visa. Many, many years ago, we could go through the state department and the visa office in Washington, DC, to get new visas issued. That was a long time ago but can’t be done today.

Sam (01:24:20):
Great, great. Thanks. Thank you, Ed. There are a few questions about targeted employment area eligibility. So, if you’re looking at a project and you want to know, is this going to work at $900,000 instead of the $1.8 million, as we quickly mentioned earlier, we’ve got a really neat free TEA map on our website, eb5an.com. Just go to the map—you can type in an address, and it’ll instantly tell you yes or no. And then, if you want to generate the formal report to share with your attorney or share with another investor, you can put your email in, and you can get a formal report for free on our site. So, we’re the only site that has that. So, check that out if you’re considering doing [an EB-5 investment], particularly if you’re going to do E-2 to EB-5, because you don’t want to go into an area and then, whoops, that area doesn’t qualify.

Sam (01:25:11):
And then, now you’re not going to be able to apply at the $900,000. You have to put in the $1.8 million. So, you definitely don’t want to have that issue. There are a few more other, kind of, really specific questions that we’re just not going to be able to cover here. We want to be respectful of Ed’s time. So, any other questions, please reach out to us—phone numbers and emails are listed there. And if you are interested in getting an email with a copy of the slides, the PDF of this presentation, just send an email to the info@eb5an.com, and we can send you the slide deck over. And the video recording will be on our YouTube channel and on the webinar as well. And any questions about EB-5, please let us know. And any immigration questions, please reach out to Ed, and I’m sure he’ll be happy to address those. So, thank you again. And we had a really engaging conversation. We had a lot of good questions, and yeah, we’ll be hosting a number of other webinars over the next couple of months. So, we hope you tune in then.