EB-5 Process Frequently Asked Questions
What are EB-5 Regional Centers?
Regional Centers are entities designated by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that promote economic development and job creation in a specific geographic location in the US.
What is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program and when was it created?
The US Congress created the EB-5 Program
in 1990 as Section 203(b)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Congress created the program to grant eligible foreign nationals
the opportunity to become lawful, permanent US Residents while at the same time stimulating economic activity by making investments that create jobs for US workers.
Where can more information on the EB-5 Program be found?
Additional information regarding the EB-5 Investment Program application process, requirements, and benefits can be found at the US Citizenship and Immigration Services' website: www.uscis.gov/eb-5-investor
How can potential investors apply through CiF?
Potential investors can get in touch with one of our team members by clicking here
How can an individual qualify as an investor?
A potential investor must pass an initial qualification step before he or she can apply for the EB-5 Program. A prospective investor can meet initial qualification requirements if
- he or she is a Non-US person;
- he or she has a net worth of at least US $1,000,000;
- he or she has made at least US $200,000 or more for the past two consecutive years and expects to make a similar amount in the current year;
- he or she is filing jointly with a spouse and together they have made at least US $300,000 per year and expect to make a similar amount in the current year.
What are considered legitimate sources of funds?
All investors must provide information showing that the funds to be invested have come from a legitimate source. Generally, financial background information is verified with the following documents:
- bank statements
- five years of tax returns
- documentation of the original source (gift, inheritance, bank loan, etc.)
- court records
- salary statements
- real estate documents
- proof of ownership of business
- any applicable business licenses.
Individual cases may vary by complexity and circumstance.
What information and documentation is required?
To qualify for an EB-5 visa, the potential investor must supply background information and documentation including, but not limited to:
- USCIS petitions;
- business plans or geographical statistics;
- investor financial information; and
- other supporting evidence.
Additionally, potential investors must meet criminal and medical requirements. CiF will assist the investor in completing and filing the necessary documents.
What is the most common reason for rejection of an EB-5 application?
Most commonly, EB-5 applications are rejected because applicants fail to demonstrate that the investment funds were earned or obtained legally.
Do potential investors have to speak English?
No. English language is not a requirement.
Can an investor live anywhere in the US once the Green Card is issued?
Yes. The investor can live anywhere in the country, regardless of where the investment is located.
Is previous business experience required to become an investor?
No. Business experience is not required.
Is a degree or other higher education required to become an investor?
No. A particular educational level is not a requirement.
Is good health required to become an investor?
Yes, the investor and his or her family members must each pass a health examination.
Can the investor's family members receive Green Cards as well?
Yes. The investor, spouse, and any unmarried children (including adopted and step children) under the age of 21 can receive a Green Card under the same application.
How long does the process take?
An investor can expect to be in the US with a conditional Green Card about 12 to 18 months after the source of funds documentation has been submitted, depending on the complexity of their case.
For a more detailed look at the EB-5 timeline, please click here.
How many EB-5 Green Cards are available each year?
There are approximately 10,000 visas set aside for EB-5 applicants each year.
What is the purpose of Consular interview security screening after the approval of the source of funds documentation?
The Consular interview, conducted in the country in which the investor resides, is to ensure that the investor and his or her family undergo medical, police, security, and immigration history checks before the USCIS issues conditional Green Cards. During the interview, the consulate officer may address the above issues and may inquire as to the nature of the investment.
If the investor and his or her family are already in the US, they can adjust their status in the US by filing a special petition through their immigration attorney.
Can family members have Consular interviews in different countries?
What is the difference between "conditional" and "permanent" Green Cards?
The difference is that a conditional Green Card expires two years after it has been issued while a permanent Green Card does not expire. The rights and privileges granted by either a conditional or permanent Green Card are the same.
When can an investor apply for a permanent Green Card?
Within 90 days (3 months) prior to the expiration date of the conditional Green Card, investors can submit an I-829 Petition (petition to remove conditions), which essentially converts the Green Card from temporary to permanent.
What is the difference between a permanent US resident and a US citizen?
The primary differences between being a permanent US resident and a US citizen is that citizens have the right to vote in elections and can hold public office. Two requirements for becoming a US citizen are
- being a permanent resident in the US for the past five years; and
- being physically present in the US for at least half of that five-year period.
How long must the investor stay in the US each year?
There is no specific US Residency requirement for EB-5 investors, only that the investor show that he or she is actively a US resident. The investor may demonstrate this through the following actions:
- opening US bank accounts;
- obtaining a US driver's license;
- obtaining a Social Security number;
- renting or buying a home; and
- paying Federal and State taxes.
Immigration advisors recommend that the investor and family not remain outside of the US for more than six months at any one time.
What can an EB-5 Green Card holder do if he or she needs to travel outside the US for an extended period of time?
Depending on the situation, an investor can file for a "reentry permit", which allows for the investor to remain outside the US for as long as two years without having to reenter the country to maintain permanent resident status. This is recommended for any trips outside the US of longer than six months.
Can US residents work outside the US?
Depending on the nature of the business, new US residents can continue to work overseas if necessary.
Will an investor's children be able to remain in a US school if the investor leaves the US?
Yes, children can continue attending school in the US while the parent(s) are abroad.
Is the immigration process the same if the investor is already in the US?
Yes, the process is largely the same. The only main difference would be that the investor would not go through the consular processing step, but would instead apply for an adjustment of status in the US.
Can a potential investor apply even if a past visa application has been rejected or terminated?
Yes, except for serious reasons, such as immigration fraud or other criminal convictions. It is important to disclose all criminal, medical, and US immigration history issues to CiF and your legal counsel before you apply.
Is an immigration attorney needed?
No, though we strongly recommended that investors retain legal counsel throughout the immigration process. We recommend you use an immigration attorney that is specialized in EB-5. We can assist in referring you to a specialized attorney if you do not have one.
What is the minimum investment required?
The required investment is US $500,000.
Are there risks associated with the investment?
The USCIS requires that all investments through the EB-5 Program contain an element of risk and that principal and returns cannot be guaranteed. However, CiF works to incorporate a strong level of security in each project for the investor's benefit.
How are funds submitted to CiF?
CiF will send its escrow agreement and wire transfer information to the investor, who will send a wire transfer of funds to the designated account. CiF will then receive a remittance confirmation to be used for the investor's records and the I-526 source of funds petition.
If the USCIS denies the potential investor's I-526 petition, will CiF return the principal capital investment?
What happens to the investment if an investor's I-829 application is denied?
The principal investment will stay in the project until the approximate 5-year term on the investment is up. At the end of the investment term, CiF attempts to return the principal investment to the investors.
Does the investor have to actively manage the investment?