EB-5 is the U.S. immigrant investors program. This program allows foreign investors and their families to obtain green cards by making an investment into the U.S. Congress created this program back in 1990 to stimulate the economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. There are two types of EB-5: direct and indirect (through a Regional Center).
The EB-5 program offers a maximum of 10,000 visas worldwide each year.
A Regional Center is an economic unit, public or private, that is involved with promoting economic growth. Regional Centers are designated by the USCIS for participation in the EB-5 program; they will pool investors’ funds together and use it in job creating enterprises in order to satisfy job creation requirements of the EB-5 program.
A TEA is a geographical area that is considered rural or has an unemployment rate of at least 1.5 times the national average. The required minimum investment fund for TEA projects is lower than non-TEA projects.
Regional centers are entities that are approved by the USCIS to sponsor investors to participate in job creating activities. These jobs can be indirect jobs induced by investments, which means investors don’t have to run their own enterprise and create 10 direct payroll jobs. Each regional center is authorized to operate in certain geographical areas. They can be passive investors without having to run the day-to-day operations of the business.
It’s much easier for investors to achieve job creation requirements because it is indirect jobs calculated through economic models, rather than direct payrolls. Coming from a different country to run their own business in the U.S. can be much more risky, not only in terms of investment but also in terms of the certainty of green cards.
To ensure that the investment funds will be used for job creation, the capital invested by the EB-5 investors must qualify as an “at risk” investment. This means that the capital invested could either produce a gain or a loss.
The period of time the investors are required to redeploy funds spans 2 years from the date the investors were granted the conditional permanent residence status. At that point, investors are no longer required to keep investments “at risk” or redeploy their funds. Withdrawing funds at this time will not prevent investors from receiving I-829 approval.
While the principal of the investment must be at risk and return on investment cannot be guaranteed, projects that employ a loan-based model might be able to earn interest (typically 1-2%); while equity investors’ earning will vary based upon the profitability of the enterprise. Investors must remember that the main purpose of EB-5 investment is to get the green cards, therefore, a low ROI that is safe from an immigration perspective is typically better than a project with high ROI but bigger immigration risk.
The returns of EB-5 investments are relatively low, and it varies project to project. It may be distributed monthly, quarterly, or annually. While return on investment is allowed, the principal must remain at risk until unconditional permanent residency is granted.
Each EB-5 investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers, lawful permanent residents, or immigrants authorized to work in the U.S. Job creation must occur over a period of two years. By pooling funds with other investors in a Regional Center, investors receive the benefit of indirect job creation.
The I-526 petition is the first application that EB-5 investors must file, with a credible business plan that the program’s requirements will be fulfilled. Before the pandemic, it took approximately 1 year for the I-526 to be approved. But with the pandemic, it has definitely slowed down.
I-526 petitions are most commonly rejected due to applicant’s failure to demonstrate that investment funds were lawfully obtained.
Simple and straightforward is the best option.
Under USCIS regulations, investors must demonstrate that investment assets were gained in a lawful manner such as income from a bonafide business, salary, investments, sale of a property, inheritance, gift, loan, or other lawful means.
Yes, private loans secured against assets, irrevocably owned by the investors are acceptable.
Form I-829 is for immigrant investors to petition to remove the conditions on their (and certain dependents’) permanent resident status, which they obtained based on investment in a new commercial enterprise.
The investor, their spouse, and any unmarried children (even if adopted) under the age of 21 of the time of the I-526 petition approval may receive a green card.
It is strongly recommended that an investor obtains legal services for their immigration petition submission. The narrative and documentation needed for the petition is extensive and an attorney can assist with the petition, consulate interview, and visa processing.
A Limited Partnership is a business organization with one or more General Partners who manage the business and assume legal debts and obligations, and one or more Limited Partners who are liable only to the extent of their investments. Limited Partners also enjoy rights to the Limited Partnership’s cash flow but are not liable for company obligations.
The USCIS requires that some financial risk be assumed by the investor in order to qualify for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Each investor must qualify for the minimum at risk capital and new job creation requirement. Every effort is made by the General Partner to minimize the amount of risk by ensuring that the investment is properly collateralized and that the Partnership remains in strong financial standing.
The regulations specifically allow for the pooling of funds by several investors in a Limited Partnership that then makes an investment in a job-creating project. The only requirement is that each investor must individually meet the minimum at risk capital and new job creation requirements.
Investor has a limited partner status with the special purpose vehicle and is not expected to participate in the day to day operations of the EB-5 investment.
The priority date, also known as the receipt date or filing date, is the date on which the I-526 petition is received and filed by the USCIS. It is typically used to determine an applicant’s place in the visa queue.
ARCFE was approved by the USCIS to be a regional center in 2013.
We have assisted over 500 investors through 12 real estate development projects. ARCFE has 100% project approval rate and we have successfully returned EB-5 funds to eligible investors.
We are an award-winning Regional Center that has a very good track record of successfully completing the investment and obtaining permanent green cards for our investors. We have also returned numerous investors’ funds after they finished their EB-5 journey. We are very proud of what we have accomplished so far.
Our projects are mostly real estate projects in the New York City areas. When we pick a project, we have to be comfortable with the developers, who will use the fund in their projects. For real estate, the locations are also very important. All of our projects are at prime locations in the Metro New York areas. All are in close proximity to transportation, such as subway, highway, bus stops, etc. Also, we also want to have good security. The funds are usually advanced in the form of loans, for which we have to get collateral just in case something happens.
One of the developers we have previously worked with is Strategic Capital which is the subsidiary of CSCEC, the biggest general contractor in the world, and ranked 13th on the Fortune 500 list. They have on-going projects in the U.S., China, Vietnam, Singapore, Dubai, and many more. Besides CSCEC, we have also worked with U.S. local developers, such as Lions Group, Century Development Group, Xinyuan Group, Circle F and many others.
We work seamlessly with our investors and their attorneys to make sure everything is done right throughout the whole process. We make sure all of our project details are correctly documented and reported to the USCIS to ensure successful applications. We provide periodic reports to investors to make sure they are aware of what’s going on with the real estate project they invested in. We also work closely with other professionals such as CPAs, lawyers and education consultants to help serve investors and their families after they have arrived in the U.S.
We have a team of professionals who do quarterly inspections of the project sites. We also provide annual reports and quarterly project updates.
If investors don’t already have an attorney in mind that they would like to work with, we do offer attorney recommendation upon request. Our attorney partner has years of experience in EB-5 and has filed the majority of I-526 petitions for our past investors.
If the children are at the age of Kindergarten to 12th grade, they can attend public schools, which offer great education at no cost. The children can also apply to universities as domestic students, rather than foreign students and rely on the F-1 international student visa. It’s especially important when the children graduate from college and try to find a job. Without a green card, they have very limited opportunities.
The USCIS issues conditional green cards after approval of the I-526E petition. These green cards last for two years. Investors receive permanent green cards upon USCIS approval of the I-829 petition.
Yes. Green card holders are taxed in the same way that U.S. Citizens are; green card holders are subjected to federal tax on worldwide income as of the date they become residents.
The investors may work overseas, if required, based upon the nature of his/her business or profession. For those permanent residents living outside the U.S., it is recommended that the investor and family re-enter the U.S. no less than once every six months. The longer the investor and family are present in the U.S., the less likely the government is to claim that the investor “abandoned” the U.S. as a permanent resident, thereby jeopardizing green card status. In some cases, investors may seek the issuance of a “re-entry permit”. This allows the investor permission to remain outside the U.S. for as long as two years without having to re-enter the country to maintain permanent resident status. Children may remain in school even if the investor leaves the U.S.
Generally speaking, the investor must be 18 years or older in order to legally execute a binding contract. But there is no upward age limit.
As a required part of the immigrant visa process, the applicants must get a physical examination. If an immigrant has been treated for the health concern and is no longer contagious, he/she should be permitted to enter the U.S.
An EB-5 investor may apply for U.S. citizenship after 5 years in the U.S. This period begins when the USCIS granted the investor his/her conditional permanent residency. The investors must also being physically present in the country at least 50% of the time and not abroad for more than six months.
No, investors with green cards are not required to apply for citizenship
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