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.