FAQ’s About the EB-5 Program

How many EB-5 visas are allotted each year?

The EB-5 program allots 10,000 visa numbers each year for immigrant investors and their accompanying family members.  Of this allotment of visa numbers, 3,000 are reserved for immigrant investors who rely on the Regional Center Pilot Program.

Are Regional Center Pilot Program cases limited to 3,000 visa numbers each year?

No.  This is not a limitation placed on visa number usage by the Regional Center Pilot Program which may exceed 3,000 visa numbers.  But rather, this legal requirement was established to ensure that the Regional Center Pilot Program have visa numbers available to it.  Given USCIS reports that more than 90% of immigrant investors rely on the Regional Center Pilot Program, there is no concern that direct EB-5 applications will consume the available visa numbers.

What are the educational and work experience requirements of the EB-5 program?

Immigrant investors are not required to demonstrate any minimum level of education or work experience.  The main requirement for immigrant investors is to demonstrate they have the requisite net worth to make the investment and that the net worth was obtained by lawful means.  Proper documentation to establish both of these requirements is critical for the approval of the I-526.

Must I be fluent in English?

No.  Immigrant investors are not required to satisfy English language proficiency.  Please note, however, that our investment documentation is only provided in English and no authorized translations will be provided.  Therefore, immigrant investors who are not proficient in English must seek assistance in order to read and comprehend the investment documentation before making an investment decision.  Immigrant investors not having such assistance can contact our office for more information.

If I am lawfully in the U.S. in an employment-based visa category such as the H-1B visa, may I apply for an EB-5 visa?

Yes.  Employment-based visa beneficiaries are not prohibited from participating in the EB-5 program.  In fact, employment-based visa holders will benefit from certain advantages such as the eligibility to file for Adjustment of Status in the U.S. and may obtain an employment authorization document and a travel document known as Advance Parole while the application is pending. Employment-based visa beneficiaries interested in the EB-5 program should discuss this issue with their legal counsel.

How is lawful source of funds demonstrated?

EB-5 regulations require that the immigrant investor demonstrate that the capital invested to participate in an EB-5 project was obtained by lawful means.  Therefore, immigrant investors can rely on any documentation demonstrating the funds were obtained lawfully, such as business records, salary and payroll records, tax records, investment portfolios, sale of assets such as real estate, inheritance, gift, loan and even certifications from the immigrant investors licensed accountants and any combination of thereof.   There is more than one way to successfully demonstrate the lawful source of the funds used to invest in the EB-5 project.  We will work with immigrant investors and their representatives to address this issue to ensure proper documentation is submitted.

How long is the process time from when I make my investment and receive the conditional Green Card?

Generally, immigrant investors can expect to receive conditional Green Cards within 8 to 12 months of submitting the I-526 petition.  Because approximate times may vary depending on USCIS, U.S. State Department and U.S. Consulate processing times, immigrant investors are advised to submit the I-526 petition as soon as practicable.

In December, 2012, the USCIS announced that it has started the process of relocating all EB-5 related adjudications to its headquarters in Washington, D.C.  USCIS stated that it expected to complete this process in 4 to 6 months and that it’s objective was for all EB-5 applications to be adjudicated within 90 to 120 days.  Should USCIS meet this objective, the EB-5 program will be greatly enhanced and processing times for conditional and permanent Green Cards should improve.

After I receive my conditional Green Card, when do I apply for the permanent Green Card?

Conditional Green Card holders can apply for the permanent Green Card within 90 days of expiration of the conditional Green Card.  This is done by submitting the I-829 petition.  We will provide each immigrant investor with the documentation necessary to successfully process the I-829 petition, including evidence regarding their capital investment, the limited partnership and job creation.

Once the I-829 petition is filed, the USCIS will issue a receipt notice which extends the conditional Green Card for a period of one year.  Until the receipt of the permanent Green Card, immigrant investors should carry the conditional Green Card and the receipt notice together, particularly when traveling abroad and returning to the U.S.

How long do I have to live in the U.S. in order to maintain my conditional and permanent Green Card?

The purpose of the Green Card is for the immigrant investor and accompanying family members to establish residency in the U.S.   Therefore, immigrant investors will demonstrate their intent to permanently reside in the U.S. by establishing as many ties with the U.S. as possible.  This would include obtaining a Social Security number, opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license, renting or buying a home, enrolling minor children in U.S. schools, starting a business or obtaining employment in the U.S., paying state and federal income tax, among other activities.  The longer the immigrant investor and accompanying family remain physically present in the U.S. and establish the necessary ties, the less likely that the USCIS would be able to argue that U.S. residency has been abandoned.

This does not mean that immigrant investors cannot travel abroad. It simply means that immigrant investors should be diligent in establishing the necessary ties to demonstrate their intent to reside permanently in the U.S.  Generally, it is advisable that absences from the U.S. should not exceed more than 6 consecutive months.   Immigrant investors may continue to work and live abroad, as long as they establish the necessary ties and travel frequently to the U.S.  In some cases, an immigrant investor can apply to the USCIS for a re-entry permit which allows absences from the U.S. for up to 2 years without jeopardizing the conditional or permanent Green Card.

Because all cases differ, immigrant investors should consult with their legal counsel on this issue.

Can my accompanying family members remain in the U.S. while I travel abroad, even if for long absences?

Yes.  There is no obligation that your accompanying family members travel with you.  In fact, it is beneficial for immigrant investor who may travel frequently or have long absences abroad for their accompanying family members to remain in the U.S. and establish the necessary ties discussed above.


FAQ’s About The Investment

What type of investment structure does your Regional Center use?

Our Regional Center relies on the limited partnership investment model that has been used successfully in the EB-5 program for many years.  With this model, the limited partnership is the new commercial enterprise receiving the capital investment from the immigrant investors.  Upon the approval of the I-526 Petitions submitted by the immigrant investors, the immigrant investors become limited partners in the limited partnership and their investment proceeds flow from the escrow account to their individual capital accounts with the limited partnership.

What is a limited partnership?

A limited partnership is a business entity managed by one or more general partners on behalf of the limited partners.  The general partner assumes the debts and obligations of the limited partnership.  Limited partners are only liable to the extent of their investment and are not liable for debts and obligations of the limited partnership.  Limited partners participate in numerous aspects of the limited partnership’s decision making and have certain economic rights.  For purposes of the EB-5 program, the limited partnership serves as the new commercial enterprise which receives the immigrant investors capital investment.


Must immigrant investors participate in the management of the limited partnership?

Yes. The EB-5 program requires that immigrant investors actively engage in the management of the investment by participating in the management of the new commercial enterprise either through day-to-day managerial control or through policy formulation.  The rules and regulations of the EB-5 program recognize that a limited partner as defined in the Revised Uniform Limited Partnership Act satisfies this requirement.  The limited partnership structure implemented by our Regional Center satisfies this requirement by requiring the participation of limited partners in the formation of policy activities for the limited partnership.  Therefore, immigrant investors will be able to dedicate their efforts to other business endeavors instead of the day-to-day management of the limited partnership.

Does your Regional Center rely on debt or equity financings?

Our Regional Center relies primarily on debt financings.  Our investment documentation clearly identify the terms and conditions of the investment.

How is my investment protected?

Our Regional Center management and staff have the necessary experience to identify qualified investment opportunities and document the transaction.  We conduct extensive legal, financial and operational due diligence to determine the suitability of each borrower.  We also have the necessary EB-5 experience to ensure our investment opportunities will satisfy the EB-5 program rules and regulations.  Our investment opportunities also provide collateral and other security interests to the limited partnership.  Throughout the term of the loan, we will work with and monitor the borrower to ensure compliance with the job creation requirements and the financial obligations.  Limited partners receive regular reports on these matters and limited partners are free to request any additional information and documentation from the general partner at any time.

What are the risks associated with an EB-5 investment?

EB-5 program regulations require that the investment be at risk and guarantees, buy-backs and redemptions are prohibited.  All private investments are subject to risk including the possibility that the investment may fail due to general economic conditions.  However, EB-5 investments have the additional risks associated with of the job creation requirements and the rejection by USCIS or the U.S. Consulate of the immigration status.  Risk factors vary in each investment and our investment documentation will address the specific risks involved.  However, as stated above, we use our best efforts to minimize the amount of risk through our due diligence, EB-5 project selection process and by requiring collateral and other security interests from borrowers.

What happens if my I-526 is denied?

The full amount of your investment will be returned to the account from which it originated.  To protect immigrant investors this obligation is set forth in our investment documents and all investment proceeds are deposited and maintained in an escrow account with an independent financial institution, including any fees and expenses until I-526 Petitions are adjudicated. Our escrow agreement is reviewed and approved by USCIS and it specifically instructs the independent financial institution acting as the escrow agent to return the full amount of the investment to the account of origin.

How does a potential immigrant investor participate in your Regional Center?

The first step is to contact our office by phone or email to discuss your interest in the EB-5 program.  Also, you can review and prepare our immigrant investor suitability and background questionnaires and submit them via email or fax.  With this information we will be able to determine your suitability for the EB-5 program and our EB-5 projects in particular.  We will answer all your questions and provide you with information regarding our Regional Center and our EB-5 projects.

What is an accredited investor?

The term accredited investor is defined by U.S. securities laws and it describes the types of investors permitted to invest in “exempt” securities. U.S. securities laws require companies that offer or sell their securities to register the securities with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or rely on an exemption from the registration requirements. The Securities Act of 1933 provides several exemptions some of which require that the securities be sold to accredited investors. Our EB-5 projects rely on these exemptions.

For purposes of our EB-5 projects, for an immigrant investor to qualify as an accredited investor they must be a natural person and have an individual net worth, or joint net worth with the person’s spouse, that exceeds $1 million at the time of the investment, excluding the value of the primary residence of such person.  Alternatively, an accredited investor can be a natural person with income exceeding $200,000 in each of the two most recent years or joint income with a spouse exceeding $300,000 for those years and there must be a reasonable expectation of the same income level in the year the investment is made.