Most all of us know that immigration is a hot button issue in the United States. It comes up in the news on nearly a daily basis as something that we as a country continue to grapple with.
One means of obtaining a legal residency in the United States is to though making a certain financial investment in the country’s economy. Some might think of this as paying to get past the gatekeeper so to speak, but in reality it is actually about providing something of value to the country.
The Requirements for EB-5 program
- Investment of $1 million or more into a commercial enterprise
- Investment of $500,000 or more if the area is deemed to be a rural area or with high unemployment rate
- Creation of no less than 10 new full-time permanent jobs for U.S. residents within two years (the relatives of the investor are not counted in “10 new jobs”)
What is a Commercial Enterprise?
The USCIS definition of a commercial enterprise - any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business including, but not limited to:
- A sole proprietorship
- Partnership (limited or general)
- Holding company
- Joint venture
- Business trust or other entity, which may be publicly or privately owned
What Constitutes an Investment?
Capital can be composed of cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the alien entrepreneur. Provided that assets of the new commercial enterprise upon which the petition is based are not used to secure any of the indebtedness.
How to Make an Invetment?
There are two ways to invest in a commercial enterprise in the U.S.
- Found a new enterprise or become a partner in the already-existing U.S. company;
- Invest through a regional center.
Regional Center is a commercial enterprise that was accredited by the U.S. government to accept foreign investments with the goal of providing a smooth path to the approval of EB-5 petition. Presently there are thousands regional centers across the U.S. in every imaginable industry. Most require that investment was placed with them for a five-year period with a small interest rate, the investor becomes a silent partner, the center creates 10 jobs on behalf of the investor. Investment though a regional center is a good vehicle for those who want to reside in the U.S., but either are not interested in conducting a business personally or are not sure their enterprises are able to create 10 jobs within two years as required by the regulation. Regional centers are quickly becoming the vehicle of choice for those who want to gain green card via the EB-5 program.
What are the steps on the way to permanent residency?
1 stage – preparation and filing of the EB-5 application and the acquisition of a conditional green card for the investor and his/her immediate family members.
2 stage – If the investor is currently located outside the US, he has to undergo the consular processing.
3 stage – removal of the conditions and applying for a permanent green card.
Within 90 days of the 2-year conditional green card’s expiration date, the investor must file a Petition to Remove the Conditions to request removal of conditional permanent residency.
Spouses and children of the EB-5 immigrant investor who are also conditional permanent residents may be included in the same application.
How an Immigration Attorney Can Assist in the Process?
The application process is very time and labor consuming. The eligibility of the foreign investor, legitimacy of the capital, and status of the business enterprise must be demonstrated by the extensive documentation. Personal circumstances of the applicant, the nature and state of the enterprise and other factors undoubtedly require different services. There is no one standard package that fits all. However, the services of the lawyer that are required in every case include:
- Research and analysis of the business enterprise / investment vehicle;
- Preparation & submission of the application;
- Consulting the client during the whole process;
- Through review and analysis of the client's documentation;
- Preparation of additional documents that may be necessary for a successful EB-5 application;
- Preparation of all necessary application materials, including forms and explanatory letters to the USCIS;
- Drafting a lengthy petition document, which demonstrates the client’s eligibility for the EB-5 program with references to the legal statutes and regulations. Often it is in form of legal memorandum;
- Submission of a complete set of petition materials to the proper USCIS service center, and regularly communicating with the USCIS regarding the status of the client’s pending application;
- Responding in writing to all USCIS’s inquiries and requests;
- Assistance after the approval of the application to ensure the client and his family members receive green cards expeditiously.
The cost of the legal work is determined based on the complexity of the services to be performed and time required to accomplish the said.
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact our firm. We will gladly explain the legal requirements and the process in detail.