The EB-5 (Employment-Based Fifth Preference) immigration investment program was established in 1990, with the goal of attracting overseas investors to invest and create employment opportunities in the United States. According to the Immigration Act of 1990 Section 203(b)(5), an alien who uses his own lawfully gained capital to invest in establishing a commercial enterprise that creates 10 or more jobs may immigrate to the United States under the EB-5 classification. If the alien invests in a “regional center” approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), both indirect as well as direct jobs may be used to satisfy the job creation requirement. Of all immigration classifications, EB-5 Regional Center is the one with the shortest processing time and fewest restricting conditions.
Invest $500,000 in an approval program.
File I-526 “Immigrant Petition”
Receive Conditional Green Card
File I-829 “Petition to Remove Conditions”
Receive Permanent Green Card
Apply for Citizenship
What is the EB-5 Program?
The EB-5 program allots 10,000 visas per year for aliens and family members whose qualifying investments result in the creation or preservation of at least ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Three thousand of these visas are set aside for aliens who invest through EB-5 Regional Centers. The investment amount is $1 million, or $500,000 if investing in a high-unemployment area.
What is a Regional Center?
A Regional Center is an enterprise or agency with a targeted investment program within a defined geographic region, and approved by USCIS to accept EB-5 investments.
How is EB-5 Regional Center different from the traditional EB-5 program?
In traditional EB-5, the EB-5 immigrant invests in creating a new enterprise, manages the enterprise, and directly hires 10 US workers. In Regional Center EB-5, the EB-5 immigrant invests in a Regional Center project pre-approved by United States Citizenship & Immigration Services, is not directly involved in management, and receives credit for both direct and indirect jobs created by the project.
Who may receive permanent residency (“green card”)?
After investing $500,000 or $1,000,000 in an approved project, the investor and his or her spouse and children under 21 are all eligible to receive EB-5 green cards, which are conditional for two years. After two years, if the approved project has been completed and is creating jobs, the investor and family are all eligible to receive permanent U.S. residency.
EB-5 Regional Center Advantages
- No requirements as to the investor’s education, language skills, age, or business experience
- Investor’s family including spouse and minor children all receive green cards
- Investor may choose to reside anywhere in the USA, and is not required to settle near the investment site
- No strict residence requirements, investor may travel outside of the USA
- Investor enjoys the same benefits as other USA residents, including education benefits
- Five years after receiving conditional green card, investor may apply for citizenship
Qualifying for EB-5
Must I have previous business experience or education?
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 requirement for the investor is that he or she has the required net worth and capital.
Must I speak English?
No. An investor should obtain the services of a translator (friend, attorney, family member) to read our fund materials and contact our office for more information.
Can I apply if I have been rejected or terminated in the past by USCIS for a L-1, B, or other visa?
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 Fund and legal counsel in advance of your petition.
Must I be in good health?
Yes. You must submit to and pass a health screening as part of the Consular review process before a conditional EB-5 Visa is granted.
What is meant by the requirement that the investor’s assets be “lawfully gained”?
Under USCIS regulations, the investor must demonstrate 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.
Can money gifted by a parent or other relative be used for an EB-5 investment?
Yes, however a bona fide gift from a family member should be properly documented and any applicable taxes must be paid.
What issue caused the most problem when applying for an EB-5 visa?
The most common problem area 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 case examiners require a well-documented source of funds.
Do I need a U.S. immigration lawyer to process my EB-5 petition?
Yes. You will need a qualified immigration attorney familiar with the USCIS EB-5 visa petition process to represent you. While YKARC will provide you with supporting documentation for your EB-5 petition related to the regional center and your investment in the Fund, it cannot provide legal advice. The EB-5 visa petition process is the responsibility of you and your immigration attorney. You are responsible for all legal fees and costs associated with preparing and processing your EB-5 visa petition.
How much do I have to invest to meet the EB-5 Program requirements?
The EB-5 Program regulations require that you invest a minimum of US$1,000,000 and be engaged in the management of a “new commercial enterprise” that produces at least 10 new jobs. You may, however, invest as little as US$500,000 if you invest in a new commercial enterprise located within a targeted employment area, or TEA. TEA’s are defined as any area that has experienced a rate of unemployment greater than 150% of the national average.
What are the obligations of the investor to participate in the investment?
The EB-5 regulations require involvement in management or policy making. The regulations deem a limited partner in a limited partnership, which is properly structured and that conforms to the Uniform Limited Partnership Act as sufficiently engaged in the EB-5 enterprise. As a limited partner, the investor may continue to engage in his own business, live where he pleases, and enter and exit the United States without any obligation to manage the investment. Most importantly, the limited partner, like the corporate shareholder, is only liable to the enterprise to the extent of the agreed-upon investment. This business structure protects the investor.
What is the likely return on my $500,000 of capital?
Individuals interested in learning about projected returns, expenses and revenues are invited to review the YK America Regional Center business opportunity overview. The law states that the $500,000 must be “at risk”, and that providing a guaranteed minimum return and/or a guaranteed return of investment funds does not meet the requirements of the law and is expressly prohibited.
What are my risks?
There are specific risk factors for each limited partnership, which are included in the offering materials for the limited partnership. Risk factors differ for each partnership but general risks include economic conditions, failure to meet job requirement and denied immigration status under the USCIS EB-5 Immigrant Visa Program.
What is a limited partnership?
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 partnership’s cash flow, but are not liable for company obligations.
How is my limited partner interest protected?
The USCIS requires that some financial risk be involved so we cannot guarantee the return, but we do make all best efforts to minimize the amount of risk by making sure that the investment is properly collateralized and that the partnership is in strong financial standing. YKARC recommends investment opportunities to a partnership only after an extensive financial and project review.
Conditional Green Cards
What is Conditional Permanent Residence (CPR)?
A: Conditional Permanent Residence (CPR) is valid for two years. As a CPR individuals have all rights of US citizens (ie: employment and legal rights) with the exception of voting in general elections. One year and nine months after the CPR is issued, a three-month window opens up during which an individual must file another application (Form I-829) with the CIS to verify that all of the funds have been invested. Approval of the I-829 results in final issuance of the Alien resident card commonly known as the ‘Green Card.’
What is the difference between “conditional” and “unconditional” green cards?
Under the regulations, an investor who is approved for the EB-5 immigrant visa receives a “conditional” green card, which is valid for a two year period. A “unconditional” or permanent green card has no expiration date, otherwise the two cards offer the same rights and privileges.
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. It is possible for adopted children to be included in the family.
Do I have to stay in the U.S. once I receive my EB-5 visa?
No. As a permanent U.S. resident, you will be able to travel freely within and outside of the United States, the same as any citizen. The USCIS EB-5 regional center program has the added advantage that you may be a passive investor – you are not required to work in or actively mange your investment.
How long must I remain in the United States each year?
You should enter the United States within 180 days of being issued a visa and establish residency (for example by opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, renting or buying a home). Thereafter, you may continue to live and work abroad but should re-enter the U.S. no less than once every six months.
Will my children be able to remain in school in the U.S. if I leave the U.S.?