Who should invest?
EB-5 investors include people from all walks of life: professionals, business people, persons wanting to facilitate a child’s education, and retirees. Because the EB-5 visa permits employment in the U.S., many EB-5 investors also create their own companies, become involved in charity or part-time work. Simply put, the EB-5 visa gives you the flexibility to do what you want in the United States. If you don’t want to actively manage your business, you should consider a regional center EB-5 investment. If you have a U.S. citizen parent or child over 21 years of age, you may consider family-class visa categories. If you have exceptional skills or are famous, you may qualify for a green card based on your extraordinary ability. If you want to manage your own business, consider an L-1 (Intracompany Transferee), E-2 (Temporary Treaty Investor), or EB-5 case based on your own business which you control. If your goal is to have a green card and not to actively manage a business, it is more often cheaper and/or convenient to utilize the regional center EB-5 category rather than to start and maintain your own business.
Is EB-5 a truly passive investment?
The EB-5 regulations require involvement in management or policy making. The regulations deem a limited partner in a limited partnership, that conforms to the Uniform Limited Partnership Act, sufficiently engaged in the policy making of an EB-5 enterprise.
How long does it take for an EB-5 application to be approved and a green card issued?
It typically takes investors about two months to make the investment, gather the necessary documents, and file the petition. Most petitions are approved in about 14 months. One can then apply for adjustment of status in the U.S. or an immigrant visa overseas. Adjustment of status for EB-5 cases can be processed in about 6 months, but can sometimes take longer. The immigrant visa at the American consulate requires about 8-12 months. After being granted, it usually only takes a few weeks or months for the conditional green card to arrive in the mail.
Can money gifted by a parent or other relative be used for an EB-5 investment?
Yes, provided that any applicable gift taxes are paid. It must be demonstrated that the gift is an actual arm’s-length transaction, and that it is a not a mere ruse nor that the gifted funds will be given back after permanent resident status is granted.
Will Martin Lawler advise me on whether an investment will provide a good financial return?
No. He will only advise on visa matters. You will need to conduct your own due diligence and economic analysis, or hire experts to do so.
What is a conditional green card?
A conditional green card is a temporary green card valid for two years. One year and nine months after it is issued, a three-month window opens up during which an individual must file another application with the USCIS to verify that all of the funds have been invested and maintained and employment created. When the conditional resident status has been lifted, full permanent resident status is granted and a permanent green card is issued.
Can I qualify for a green card another way?
People working for U.S. employers may be sponsored for a labor certification. Many highly successful and qualified people may qualify for permanent resident status as a person of extraordinary ability. Others may work for a multinational company with offices in the U.S. and overseas and be transferred to work in the U.S. – as a result, they may be granted permanent resident status. Contact us for a consultation on other alternatives for applying for permanent resident status.
How do I start the process?
Contact Martin Lawler at 415-391-2010 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What documents must I prepare to process my investor green card petition?
You must prepare complete biographical information and must prove the source of the investment funds. To prove the source of investment funds, USCIS requires five years of personal and business, if any, tax returns; proof of ownership in any businesses; and business licenses. You must present a track record of an honest course of dealing. If your capital came from a specific transaction, such as sale of a house, inheritance or gift, you must prove the transaction occurred by providing an official document, such as a closing statement or contract or other official documents. This is not an exhaustive list. Other documents may be required and vary on a case-by-case basis.
What issues have been problematic in EB-5 cases?
The most common problem area has been insufficient documentation of the source of funds. Many people try to disclose the least possible information only to have the file returned with a request for further information. It is better to provide too much information rather than too little information. In this era of terror alerts, and suspicions about money laundering, CIS case examiners require a well-documented source of funds.
Are EB-5 visas available to people from any country in the world?
Legally yes. Note, people from countries that do not have reliable tax and other financial documentation will find it much more difficult to prove an EB-5 visa application; however, it still can usually be done.
Where can I find a copy of the relevant law and regulations to study?
The statute and regulations can be accessed via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website at www.uscis.gov.
Who is one of the top EB-5 lawyers I can reach out to?
Lawler & Lawler is a leading EB-5 law firm for setting up and assisting with compliance issues relating to EB-5 regional centers and representing individual investors. Martin Lawler has been practicing law for more than 30 years. He is a leading EB-5 lawyer. He is listed in Best Lawyers of America and has an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell. He has also received a number of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) presidential awards.