If becoming a permanent resident through the EB-5 visa program sounds like the right immigration option for you, the first step is to understand the requirements to determine whether you are eligible for the program. In order to avoid any hassle, you should consider your eligibility before attempting to file any paper work with USCIS.
How do I figure out if I can qualify for the EB-5 program?
There are four major requirements you must meet to participate in EB-5 program:
- Make an “at risk” investment of at least $500,000 (or $1million, if the investment is not in a Targeted Employment Area).
- Prove that your investment funds were obtained lawfully (You need to provide proper documents to clarify your source of funds)
- Your investment must create 10 jobs for US workers over a two-year period; and
- Be in some form of management position in the business.
Over the years, most EB-5 investors (96+%) choose to invest in an “at risk” investment with an EB-5 regional center. If you invest in a t regional center EB-5 transaction, the project you invest in will be able to count indirect and induced jobs towards your required 10 jobs and not just the direct jobs created with your investment. This often means that there is a bigger cushion or excess job correction for your investment. In terms of job creation, you are not personally responsible for finding and hiring these 10 workers, but your investment capital with an EB-5 qualified project should create a need for these 10 jobs.
Your immigration attorney will help you document how your investment was obtained lawfully, and how you have met these requirements in order to show this to USCIS as evidence. investUS llc recommends you retain an approved and experienced EB-5 immigration attorney to represent you for your EB-5 application and subsequent filings.
The EB-5 program has some of the same basic eligibility requirements as other visa programs. This includes a background check to ensure applicants have not committed serious crimes, do not have a history of financial fraud, and have not previously violated immigration laws. EB-5 program also has its own specific requirements that must be considered, the most important of which is your financial eligibility.
The biggest requirement is the need for capital: $500,000 or $1 million to invest into an EB-5 project.
As an EB-5 investor, your capital must be immediately available in the US and legally-sourced. This means that the entirety of your investment capital must be committed to a project before applying for your two-year conditional green card. In order to prove that no illegal activity was used to gain these funds, USCIS requires significant documentation including, but not limited to:
• Foreign business registration records
• Personal and business tax returns or other tax returns of any kind filed anywhere in the world within the last five years
• Documents identifying any other sources of money
• Certified copies of all pending civil or criminal cases involving money judgments against you within the past 15 years
• Similar documents showing sources of funds for money received through gifts
In terms of gifting capital, it is perfectly legal to gift the required capital to one of your children for him or her to participate in EB-5 but they still have to prove that the money you gifted was legally sourced.
Will I get my money back? And what other costs can I expect to pay? The laws governing the EB-5 program state that your investment must be “at risk,” meaning that there may be some chance that you will lose some or all of your investment. But don’t let this requirement steer you away from EB-5. EB-5 Regional Centers like investUS identify and evaluate EB-5 investments to make sure they meet the EB-5 requirements and have all the elements necessary to be successful and pay their obligations.
Besides the minimum $500,000 investment, there are other costs you can expect to pay as you participate in the EB-5 program. You will need to pay a fee to your EB-5 immigration attorney, your regional center that oversees your investment and possibly others associated with the investment offering. The fees you will have to pay for the processing of your forms with USCIS are the costs necessary to the immigration process. The EB-5 industry does not have standard fees for attorneys and regional centers, and it depends on many factors.