EB5 Visa Program
About the EB5 Program
In 1990, to spur foreign investments into the United States economy, Congress implemented the fifth employment-based preference pilot program (EB-5). Known as the EB-5 Regional Center Investment Program, this initiate gave permission to the United States Citizen Immigration Services office (USCIS) to elect eligible candidates as Regional Centers. Such Regional Centers are a private corporation or enterprise whose investment parameters are directly monitored and regulated by the USCIS. Foreign nationals like Chinese and Mexican individuals looking to invest a minimum of $500,000 (USD) in a U.S. business that has the potential to save or create a minimum of ten full time jobs and is located in Targeted Employment Areas (“TEA”) are thus eligible for the program. Though there is little flexibility on the monetary investment requirement, the minimum jobs created requirement may be fulfilled from employment created both directly and indirectly through the development.
Eligibility for participation in a Regional Center’s EB-5 program is contingent on prior approval from the USCIS through an independent petition for the EB-5 visa. The due diligence performed by the USCIS includes a detailed review of the sources of the investor’s funds, family history, and other representations of the head of household and his/her immediate family member under the age of 21.
From fiscal year (FY) 2008 to March 31, 2017, the EB-5 Regional Center Program contributed $19.9 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) to various projects throughout the U.S. that promote regional economic development.
With approval rate of 93.4% (FY2017, Q2), 39,790 I-526 petitions have been approved. In addition, 16,099 I-829 petition has been granted with approval rate of 92.28% (FY2017, Q2).
Benefits of the Regional Center Include:
- No day to day management required. The EB-5 Visa provides individuals with an investment opportunity that can be managed externally, giving the individual the freedom of living elsewhere. An investor is able to choose just how involved they would like to be with their project.
- No business experience required.No business experience or language skills are require to participate in the program and receive permanent residency.
- Freedom to work, live, study and retire anywhere in the United States. With the EB-5 program there is no need to reside where your investment is located, so long as you hold the EB-5 Visa you have complete freedom to live anywhere.
Qualifying investors are provided with a two-year conditional residency status upon investment. After the duration of the 24 month conditional residency period, if the job-creation and investment requirements for the program are met, said individuals may apply for and receive permanent residency status. The use of Regional Centers designated by the USCIS grants immigrant investors with a flexible and passive investment opportunity from a pool of similar immigrant investors through the use of limited partnerships. Today, Encore Global is in the process of creating multiple Regional Centers in the top real estate markets across the U.S to serve immigrant investors.
Investor Step-by Step Process:
1) Contact Encore Global to fill out an Investor Suitability Questionnaire.
2) Review available business projects and select the best project investment.
3) The PPM, Subscription, and Escrow are signed and $500,000 USD, plus the Administration Fees are deposited into Escrow.
4) An attorney prepares and submits the immigration form I-526.
5) USCIS reviews the application (form I-526) and it is either accepted or denied by the USCIS.
6) If the application is denied, the legal documents and Escrow monies are returned to the Investor.
7) If the application is accepted, the Escrow monies are released to the project investment.
8) Immigration attorney submits visa application to United States consulate.
9) If the application is denied, the attorney may appeal.
10) If the application is accepted, the investor receives a “conditional” Green Card for his/her family.
11) In two years, the immigration attorney submits the immigration form I-829 for removal of conditions.
When applying for an EB-5 Visa, there are several forms and applications that need to be filed with the USCIS in order to achieve permanent residency status. This page will help you to better understand the EB-5 process and the various milestones along the way to achieving permanent US residency.
Form I-526, Petition by Alien Entrepreneur – Supporting Documentation (Evidence)
After selecting a Regional Center project and putting funds in escrow, EB-5 investors are eligible to submit their I-526 application for immigrant investor status to the USCIS.
The three main categories of information submitted with an I-526 Application include Project Documentation, Personal Documentation, and Financial Documentation.
- Evidence that you have invested in a designated Regional Center according to the approved regional center business plan. A letter from USCIS should be attached with Form I-526 designating the Regional Center. Your investment must be in a business enterprise within the geographic area specified in this letter.*
- Evidence, if applicable, that your business has been established in a targeted employment area.*
- Evidence that your investment in the Regional Center will create at least 10 direct or indirect full-time jobs.*
* Provided by Encore Global
- Copy of Personal Passport (current & expired) & Form I-94
- Copy of Family Member Passports (all pages)
- Evidence that you have invested or are in the process of investing the amount required ($1,000,000 or $500,000 USD)
- Household Registration
- Copy of Any Previous Immigration Applications
- Certified copies of any judgment, pending governmental civil or criminal actions, or private civil actions against the petitioner from any court in or outside the U.S. within the past 15 years.
- Proof of Business Ownership
- Copy of any and all Business Licenses
- Last 5 years of Tax Returns(both business and personal)
- Last 5 years of Bank Statements
- Evidence of other sources of capital
- Financial Statementsfor each business
- Evidence that the investment funds were obtained through lawful means
Any documents containing a foreign language submitted to USCIS must be accompanied by a full English language translation certified as complete and accurate by the translator, and by the translator’s certification that he or she is competent to translate from the foreign language to English.
Unless an original document is specifically required to be filed with an application or petition, a legible photocopy may be submitted. Original documents submitted will remain a part of the record, even if the submission was not required.
Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status – Supporting Documentation (Evidence)
The following documentation is required for each applicant:
- 2 passport-style pictures
- Form G-325A, Biographical Information (ages 14-78)
- Copy of government issued identification card
- Copy of birth certificate
- Copy of passport page with nonimmigrant visa (if applicable)
- Copy of passport page with admission or parole stamp (if applicable)
- Form I-94 – Arrival/Departure Record (if applicable)
- Certified copy of court records (if you have been arrested)
- Form I-695 – Report of Medical Exam & Vaccination Records
- Form I-797 – approval notice for I-526
- Applicable Fees
Form I-829, Petition to Remove Conditions – Supporting Documentation (Evidence)
You must provide evidence that you established a new commercial enterprise. This evidence may include, but is not limited to, copies of the business’s organizational documents, and Federal Income tax returns.
You must provide evidence that you have invested the total amount of required funds.
You must provide evidence that you have sustained your investment in the new commercial enterprise throughout your two-year period of conditional permanent residence. This evidence may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Business invoices and receipts
- Bank statements
- Business licensees
- Audited or reviewed financial statements
- Complete copies of Federal or State income tax returns or quarterly tax statements.
You must provide evidence of the number of full-time employees at the beginning of your business and at present. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to:
- Business payroll records
- Relevant tax documents
- Employee tax form I-9’s.
Note: Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be admitted to the U.S. with you on a two-year conditional period. If your I-829 petition to remove conditions is approved, then the conditions will be removed from your spouse and children’s Green Card status as well. As a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder), your spouse and children will be authorized to work and attend school in the U.S.
How can an interested investor apply for the EB-5 visa through one of Encore Global’s Regional Centers?
Interested investors should begin by contacting our office or clicking “Contact Us” on our web site. We will answer your questions and provide you with all the necessary information to get started.
Can my family be included on my EB-5 Visa application?
Yes, your qualified $500,000 investment allows your spouse and your unmarried children, who are under the age of 21 at the time of your EB-5 application, to receive their own EB-5 visas.
Is it required to show that I am in good health?
Yes. You must prove that you and any accompanying family members are in good physical and mental health, and do not have any diseases.
Must I have previous business experience or education?
No. There are no education requirements for EB-5 visa applicants and the investor is not required to have any prior business experience.
Must I speak English?
No, speaking English is not required.
What is the investment required?
A minimum investment of $500,000 USD is required, which will then be verified by the USCIS to have been lawfully gained. However, if the project is outside a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), then the minimum investment would be $1,000,000 USD.
Are there any other fees in addition to the investment?
As each project is different, please contact us for a list of current administration fees.
What is meant by the requirement that the investor’s assets be “lawfully gained”?
Under USCIS regulations, the investor must demonstrate that investment assets were gained in a lawful manner. Requiring the Investor to prove their investment funds were obtained through lawful business, salary, investments, property sales, inheritance, gift, loan, or other lawful means. This may be accomplished through certificates by the Investor’s licensed accountants, lawyers, court records, salary statements, tax statements, real estate documents and similar documentation.
What is a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)?
A Targeted Employment Area is a geographic area designated by local governmental authorities and defined as a rural area or an area which has experienced high unemployment.
Where will the investments be located?
The investments will all be located in Targeted Employment Areas within the designated areas approved by the USCIS
Where does my money go when I participate in one of Encore Global’s Regional Centers?
When you sign the Subscription Agreement, you will wire-transfer the amount of your investment, plus the Administration Fees, to our Escrow Account. The Escrow Agent will hold 100% of your $500,000 USD investment deposit until your initial EB-5 Visa petition (USCIS Form I-526) is approved. After your I-526 is approved, your money will be released to the project.
Is my investment guaranteed?
As per federal law, the Regional Center is not able to guarantee revenue or the return of the principal investment. Guarantees of said revenue are explicitly against USCIS regulations and grounds for EB-5 Visa invalidation.
Will Encore Global assist me in the application process?
Encore Global cannot provide legal advice; however, an investor representative will help guide you through every step of the immigration process.
What is the difference between “conditional” and “unconditional” Green Cards?
The conditional Green Card is valid for a two year period. The “unconditional” Green Card has no expiration date.
Who receives the permanent residency Green Card?
The investor, spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 at the time of the I-526 petition.
How long must I remain in the United States each year?
The first obligation of any investor after they receive the EB-5 visa at the United States overseas consulate office is to enter into 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 their business or profession. For those permanent residents living outside the U.S., we suggest the investor and family re-enter the U.S. no less than once every six months.
What is the difference between permanent residency and citizenship?
There are two ways to become a U.S. citizen. One is by being born either on U.S. soil or to a U.S. citizen.
The other way is through the naturalization process. The first step in becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization is to receive a Green Card. Being a Green Card holder for 5 years is one of the basic requirements for qualifying for naturalization. A second requirement is being physically present in the U.S. for 30 months during the 5 years prior to the naturalization application. Once becoming a U.S. citizen, an individual is entitled to benefits including the right to vote and hold public office.
Will my children be able to remain in school in the U.S. if I leave the U.S.?