What is EB-5 all about?

Introduction to EB-5

• EB-5 is not just an investment transaction; the returns received from an EB-5 investment are large in scale.
• From a family seeking a new beginning, to a child receiving world-class education.
• EB-5 acts as a bridge for future opportunities.

Why is EB-5 Important?
EB-5 Investment is a Win-Win-Win.

1. Developers gain access to affordable capital.
2. The community benefits from increased job creation.
3. And Foreign Investors can safely and legally immigrate to the United States.

So what is EB-5?
• The EB-5 program is an investment to immigrate program created by Congress in 1990.
• Foreign nationals can get a Green Card if their investment of $800,000 or $1,050,000 into a local project creates at least 10 full-time American jobs.
• The program enjoys bipartisan support. Since 2005, the EB-5 program has secured over $6.5 billion in foreign direct investment and has created more than 131,000 new full-time jobs, at no expense to the taxpayers.

EB-5 Direct Investment into the US.
• Annually, the EB-5 Program accounts for less than 1% of the visas issued by the U.S. Throughout the process, EB-5 investors are subject to the same background checks and national security screenings as applicants in any other visa category, and their ability to eventually apply for citizenship is subject to the same criteria as other visa holders. Like any other investment vehicle, EB-5 investment funds are subject to U.S. securities and anti-fraud laws and regulations.
• Investments made through the U.S. EB-5 program must be “at-risk” in the same way that investments in stocks or equity funds carry an inherent risk. There is no guaranteed financial return.
• Investments made through the U.S. EB-5 program must be “at-risk” in the same way that investments in stocks or equity funds carry an inherent risk. There is no guaranteed financial return.
• If their application is approved by USCIS, EB-5 investors receive a conditional visa that is valid for two years. In order to receive a permanent visa, these investors must demonstrate that the legally required economic benefits flowing from their investments have been achieved.

The Difference
With trust being the foundation by which we operate, we are guided by 3 principles:
1. Honesty & Integrity
Our straightforward approach ensures that the expectations of our project partners and investors are managed from the very beginning. Whether you’re an investor or a developer, you will know whether EB-5 is right for you from the onset.

2. Transparency
Our online construction cameras and monthly project updates are a few examples of how we keep you up to date on the EB-5 process. We bridge the cultural and geographical challenges by making sure that everyone is always up to date.

3. Accessibility
We view our partners as our team and we always make ourselves available. We have an open door policy at both of our offices in Washington State, Vietnam & China and invite all of our partners to our Annual Investment Summit.

• We are all in this process together. Your successful investment and immigration to the United States is our success. Our mutual interest is the reason we strive for the highest level of security in every project we bring to market.

• After understanding our investors unique situation there are times that we advise clients to seek alternative immigrations routes other than EB-5. This is our commitment to provide individualized service for each one of our investors.
• Security•We are all in this process together. Your successful investment and immigration to the United States is our success. Our mutual interest is the reason we strive for the highest level of security in every project we bring to market.

• Our processes are driven by transparency at the highest level. Investors are welcome to visit our offices and meet with our China and US team, conduct site visits and attend our Annual Investment Summit. We also make sure to install construction web cameras so that our investors can view their project anytime, anywhere.

Legal Oversight
• We are proud that our in-house legal review is unique within the EB-5 industry. We take the initiative to give all of our investors a free, in-house legal review of their application before USCIS submission. This approach is one of many reasons that all of our investors have received approvals.

EB-5 Immigration FAQ

Q: What is the EB-5 Regional Center Program?
A: In 1990, under section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. §1153(b)(5) the US Congress created the fifth employment-based preference (EB-5) immigrant visa category. Each year, the provision grants 10,000 immigrant visas to qualified individuals seeking permanent resident status on the basis that their investment in a new commercial enterprise that will benefit the US economy.

To encourage immigration through the EB-5 program, U.S. Congress created the Regional Center Program in 1993. The program specifically sets aside 3,000 visas each year for foreign investors who apply through a United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) designated Regional Center. An investor seeking an EB-5 immigrant visa through a designated Regional Center must generally make a qualifying investment of $1,050,000 USD. For businesses in rural areas or in Targeted Employment Areas (TEA) with higher-than-normal levels unemployment, investors applying for an EB-5 visa may qualify with a lesser investment of $800,000. Additionally, the foreign investor must demonstrate that the investment created at least 10 U.S. jobs through direct, indirect, and induced effects. We are specializes in EB-5 projects in Targeted Employment Areas that create jobs in excess of the USCIS requirement of 10 jobs per investor.

Q. What is the minimum required amount of capital to be invested in order to apply for an EB-5 visa?
A. When investing through a Regional Center, the minimum capital investment requirement is $800,000 USD when you select a project in a designated rural area or Targeted Employment Area (TEA). For other projects not meeting these criteria, the capital investment requirement is $1,050,000 USD. We are actively seeks quality projects that reside in rural or TEA areas specifically designated by the State of Washington in order to ensure that our invest to immigrate opportunities are available to as many qualified investors as possible.

Q. What is a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)?
A. A Targeted Employment Area, or TEA, is a geographic area in the United States which is either Rural (has a population of less than 20,000), is not part of an MSA, or has an unemployment rate that is 150% of the national average.

Q. What are the benefits of the Green Card?
A. There are many benefits to obtaining a U.S. Green Card. Each person has his or her own reasons for wanting permanent residence in the United States, and having a Green Card provides many benefits that help investors to accomplish their goals. Some of the benefits of securing a U.S. Green Card include:
1. All legal permanent residents under the EB-5 Investor Program enjoy the same rights and benefits as every other lawful resident of the United States.
2. The U.S. is a safe harbor for your family as well as for your personal and business assets. Any member of your family with a Green Card can enter the United States at any time and stay as long as he or she wishes.
3. EB-5 investors holding Green Cards have access to the United States for personal, trade and business purposes.
4. Permanent residents travel to the U.S. without the need of a visa.
5. EB-5 investors may work, live, or own their own businesses anywhere in the United States.
6. The U.S. has internationally recognized colleges and universities for both undergraduate education and graduate study. As a permanent resident, EB-5 investors can benefit from lower tuition costs associated with U.S. residency.
7. The cost of living in the U.S. is less than most large industrial nations. Consumer goods, services, and housing are significantly less expensive than comparable services and goods in most other countries.

8. Students may work in the U.S. while they attend college and then continue to work afterwards, enabling the student to pay for part of his education and to work while attending graduate and postgraduate studies.
9. The U.S. provides many financial, social and education entitlements –public schools, health and medical attention, social security, and education.
10. The Investor has the ability to bring other family members to the U.S. after proper application, and can obtain U.S. citizenship after 5 years of residing in the U.S.
11. The permanent residency requires no renewal or re-application. Other U.S. non-immigrant visas, such as E-2 and H may never result in permanent residency, have time limits, and require additional filings with USCIS or Department of State. Furthermore, U.S. immigration laws may change and prevent future approval when a renewal of visa is required.

Q. Who is eligible to receive permanent residency (Green Card)?
A. The investor, spouse, and all unmarried children under the age of 21 are eligible to receive Green Cards through the EB-5 program.

Q. Must I have previous business experience or education?
A. The investor is not required to have any prior business experience. Likewise, the investor is not required to demonstrate any minimum level of education. The only requirements for the investor are that he or she has the required investment amount from lawfully obtained capital and is able to provide the necessary personal background documentation to the USCIS.

Q. Must I speak English?
A. No, the USCIS does not require you to speak English in order to be eligible for the EB-5 program. However, all documents submitted with your EB-5 application (Form I-526) must be English documents signed by the investor. Any non-English documents need to be accompanied by a certified translation.

Q. What is meant by the requirement that the investor’s assets be lawfully gained?
A. Under USCIS regulations, the investor must demonstrate or provide proof that his assets were gained in a lawful manner. This requires the investor to prove his investment funds were obtained through lawful business, salary, investments, property sales, inheritance, gift, loan, or other lawful means.

Q. Can money be gifted by a parent or other relative be used for an EB-5 investment?
A. Yes, provided that any applicable gift taxes are paid. It must also be demonstrated that the gift is an actual “arms-length” transaction and is not a mere ruse or that the gifted funds will be given back after permanent resident status is granted.

Q. Are EB-5 visas available to persons from any country in the world?
A. Technically, yes, a person from any country in the world is eligible to apply for an EB-5 visa. However, some countries have less than reliable tax and financial documentation which will require persons from those countries to actively work to provide adequate source of funds authentication to the USCIS.

Q. Where can I find copies of relevant forms, laws, and regulations to study?
A. All of the relevant forms can be found on the USCIS website.

Q. What is the difference between a conditional and an unconditional green card?
A. Under USCIS regulations, an investor who gets approved for an EB-5 investor visa receives a conditional Green Card that is valid for two years. One year and nine months after the conditional Green Card is issued, a three-month window opens up during which an investor files another application with the USCIS to verify that all funds have been invested and that job creation requirements have been met. When the conditions are removed from the temporary Green Card, full resident status is granted and a permanent Green Card is issued to the investor. Otherwise, the two cards offer the same rights and privileges.

Q. What are the steps for processing an EB-5 visa application?
A. • Step 1: USCIS Form I-526 –Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. This is your first official step in the EB-5 process after completing your Accredited Investor Questionnaire, choosing a Project, signing all of the proper documents to subscribe to a Regional Center Project, and placing your funds in escrow with the project. The I-526 Application is submitted to the USCIS by your immigration attorney along with supporting documentation that clearly demonstrates that your investment meets all EB-5 requirements.
• Step 2: USCIS Form I-485/Consular Review. After receiving approval of the I-526 Application, investors already residing in the U.S. may submit a completed Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (Form I-485) to the USCIS. For investors residing outside of the U.S. –the process is similar but requires the investor to apply for an immigrant visa at the US Consulate in their country of residence.

• Step 3: USCIS Form I-829 –Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. One year and nine months after initial I-526 approval, investors can file a completed Form I-829 with the USCIS to have conditions removed from their Green Card and establish permanent residency. With this petition, the investor must demonstrate that the investment was sustained throughout the two-year conditional period and that job creation requirements were met by the project. During this process, the investor is aided by their chosen Regional Center in providing the requisite documentation. Upon approval of the I-829 application, full permanent resident status is given to the investor and his or her spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years of age.

Q. If my I-526 petition is approved by the USCIS, what is the purpose of the Consulate application and interview, and how soon do I get my Green Card?
A. Upon approval of your I-526 Petition, you must wait for notification from the US Consulate in your home country to prepare documents for the Visa interview. The purpose of this procedure is to ensure that the investor and his or her family undergo medical, police, security and immigration history checks before conditional permanent resident visas are issued. At the interview, the consulate officer may address these issues as well as information printed on the I-526 application –including asking the investor to summarize the nature of his or her immigrant investment. If the investor and his or her family are in the United States, then you may apply for adjustment of status by filing form I-485 along with supporting documents at the appropriate office of the USCIS.

Q. Can I apply if I have been rejected or terminated in the past by USCIS for a L-1, E-2, B, or other visa?
A. Rejection in the past does not disqualify the applicant, unless the reasons are related to immigration fraud or other major problems. It is most important that all criminal, medical, or U.S. immigration history problems be disclosed to the limited partnership and legal counsel in advance of submitting your application.

Q. After petition approval, can members of the family interview in different countries?
A. Family members can interview in different countries. The country of origin or where the family has current ties is the standard interview site. Often one member of the family is located in another country, such as a student attending school in the U.S. The student does not have to return to the country of origin and can adjust status in the United States at the district office of the USCIS.

Q. What issue typically causes the most problems when applying for an EB-5 visa?
A. The most common problem area for investors 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, USCIS adjudicators require a well-documented source of funds.

Q. How long must I remain in the United States each year?
A. The first requirement of any investor after they receive the visa at the United States overseas consulate office is to enter the United States within 180 days of visa issuance from the consulate. The investor must then establish residency in the United States. Evidence of intent to reside includes opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, and renting or buying a home. The United States resident may work overseas if required based upon the nature of the business or profession. However, all permanent residents must remain in the U.S. for more than 6 months out of each year, or they may be deemed to have abandoned their permanent residency status.

Q. What is the difference between permanent residency and citizenship?
A. Once you obtain a Green Card and become a permanent legal resident, you have most of the rights and obligations of U.S. citizens, except that you cannot vote and are not entitled to certain public benefits. You are subject to the same tax filing requirements and entitled to the same tax rates and deductions as U.S. citizens.

• One of the most important rights legal permanent residents possess is the right to apply for U.S. Citizenship after residing in the United States for five (5) years. There are two ways to become a U.S. citizen. One is by being born in the U.S. or being born to a U.S. citizen. The other is by way of naturalization. The first step in becoming a U.S. Citizen through the naturalization process is to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). Being an LPR for 5 years is one of the basic requirements necessary to qualify for naturalization. A second requirement is maintaining a physical presence in the U.S. for a minimum of 30 months during the 5 years prior to the submission of your application for naturalization. Once you are naturalized and become a U.S. citizen, you are entitled to additional benefits including the right to vote and hold public office.

Q. What is an escrow account and when does the investor transfer the money into this account?
A. An Escrow Bank Account is a legal holding account established in a reputable bank. This type of account is commonly used in the sale of real estate, businesses and personal property. In order to comply with the requirements of EB-5, an investor must transfer the capital investment amount to the Project Escrow Account before filing their I-526 application for an EB-5 visa. Part of the application process requires the investor to prove that the investment amount has been invested in the United States. Typically, proof of invested capital consists of Wire Transfer receipts and Confirmation of Funds letters issued by the bank.

Q. How does the bank escrow account protect me against the risk of losing my money?
A. The initial cash deposit from the investor is placed in an Escrow Bank Account. When an Escrow Bank Account is established, the funds continue to belong to the investor. The attorney or bank has an agreement with the investor that allows the funds to be released from the account only after the investor’s I-526 petition has been approved by the USCIS.

Q.What is an EB-5 Regional Center?
A. An EB-5 Regional Center is an organization, designated and regulated by USCIS, which facilitates investment in job-creating economic development projects by pooling capital raised under the EB-5 immigrant investor program. Regional centers can be publicly owned, (e.g. by a city, state, or regional economic development agency), privately owned, or be a public-private partnership.

Q. What do Regional Centers do?
A. Identify investment opportunities that will create jobs in local communities, often in partnership with economic development agencies.
• Assist in marketing those investment opportunities to investors from around the world.
• Ensure that the investment offering complies with federal and state securities laws and SEC regulations as well as specific EB-5 requirements.

Q. How are EB-5 investments affiliated with Regional Centers structured?
A. EB-5 investments that are affiliated with EB-5 Regional Centers are made through private placements –the sale of securities to a relatively small number of select investors. Like all private placements, which are used by companies to raise capital in a number of contexts, EB-5 private placements are governed by federal and state securities laws and regulations.

• A private placement memorandum is developed that details the investment offering, including detailed explanations of the project that will be funded along with disclosures of risk and material information consistent with all applicable federal and state laws. The economics of the project related to EB-5 specifically –the expected job creation –are also detailed in the memorandum. In some cases, the issuer of the private placement memorandum is an EB-5 Regional Center itself. In other situations, the issuer is business entity that will be receiving the investment funds and is affiliated with a Regional Center.

Q. What risks do investors face in EB-5 regional center investments?
A. By law, EB-5 investments must be “at risk” in the same way that any equity, stock or other type of investment carries inherent risk. Regional centers, like other entities that market investment opportunities, cannot guarantee a return on investment. Regional Centers also cannot guarantee return of the investment principal to the investor.

Q. What risk do companies have in accepting EB-5 investments?
A. Companies bear no additional risk for EB-5 investment. They interact with the money as any other equity or financing investment, albeit often at a lower cost.

Q. Are EB-5 regional center financing options cheaper for companies than other sources of capital?
A. Yes. In many instances, EB-5 funding is a lower-cost form of capital than alternatives because investor demand for return on their investment is often lower for EB-5 capital than other sources of capital. In addition, securing EB-5 capital increases the overall liquidity of a business or project which, in turn, reduces the cost of acquiring capital from other sources.

Q. What kind of financial commitment do EB-5 investors make?
A. By law, an EB-5 investor is required to invest a minimum of $1,050,000 million, unless the investment is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) –a rural area or area of high-unemployment designated by USCIS. Regional Centers a minimum of $800,000 from each EB-5 investor.

Q. Are EB-5 regional center financing options cheaper for companies than other sources of capital?
A. Yes. In many instances, EB-5 funding is a lower-cost form of capital than alternatives because investor demand for return on their investment is often lower for EB-5 capital than other sources of capital. In addition, securing EB-5 capital increases the overall liquidity of a business or project which, in turn, reduces the cost of acquiring capital from other sources.

Q. Do investors need to be actively involved in the day-to-day activities of Regional Center Projects?
A. In short, no. According to USCIS regulations, investors acting as limited partners in a limited partnership that conforms to the Uniform Limited Partnership Act are deemed to be sufficiently engaged in the EB-5 project. This means that as a limited partner, investors are not required to actively participate in the management or operation of the new commercial enterprise in order to qualify for a Permanent Green Card through the Regional Center Pilot Program.

Q. What is the role of the Regional Center in the project?
A. The Regional Center acts as General Partner of the Limited Partnership and will oversee the interests of all members of the Limited Partnership by being responsible for the day to day management of the Limited Partnership and reporting on the progress of the project.

Q. If I want to move to the United States and invest in an EB-5 project with the Regional Center, do I have to live in Washington? 

A. No.

Q. Who should invest in an EB-5 Regional Center?
A. The beauty of the EB-5 Regional Center Program is that there is no such thing as an ideal investor. Foreign investors who participate in the EB-5 program include people from a wide variety of countries, cultures, and personal or professional backgrounds.

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