Please note, these FAQ’s (frequently asked questions) are for informational purposes only and they are not meant to be a substitute for professional legal and/or financial advice.
What does EB-5 stand for? EB-5 stands for the Employment-Based Immigration: Fifth Preference EB-5 visa program. The program was originally called the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program.
When and for whom was the EB-5 visa program created? The EB-5 visa program was created in 1990. The program was created by Congress to allow foreign nationals to seek permanent resident status on the basis of an investment in the U.S. economy.
How many EB-5 visas may be issued per year? There are 10,000 EB-5 visas available to qualified foreign nationals each year. Three thousand (3,000) of these visas are designated for foreign nationals who invest through a USCIS-designated Regional Center.
Who may obtain an EB-5 visa? Any person who can invest the required amount into the U.S. economy, can document that the capital was legally earned, and satisfies general eligibility requirements (e.g., medical, criminal) typically is qualified to apply. The investor’s spouse and any minor children (under 21) also qualify. The age of the minor children is “frozen” at the time of the application so, for example, a 20-year old dependent is not in danger of “aging out” during the process.
What is the minimum investment required? An investment of at least $1,800,000 is required for an EB-5 visa. If the investment is made in an area that has been designated a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the investment is a minimum of $900,000.
Will my investment in a Regional Center be returned if my application is denied by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ? Yes. In the event that the application is denied, the investment will be returned in full minus administrative expenses.
For how long is the “green card” valid? The investor and dependents receive a conditional, 2-year green card. Before the expiration of the two year period, a petition is submitted to the USCIS confirming that the investment has been made and that ten jobs have been created as a result of the investment.
If I or a member of my family is already in the U.S. on another visa, is it necessary to return to my home country in order to obtain an EB-5 visa or permanent residence? No. In order to obtain permanent residence in the U.S. under the EB-5 program, you do not generally need to return to the country of your citizenship. If eligible you and the members of your family may apply to adjust status while in the United States.
How long does the application process take? In general, the process takes less than one year. After the I-526 petition is approved, it is forwarded to the overseas consulate or United States USCIS for further processing and final visa issuance/conditional residency approval.
Where can I find more information about the EB-5 visa program? Further information regarding the application process, requirements, and benefits of the EB-5 visa program can be found on the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (www.uscis.gov).Is it required that I have a degree of higher education? No. There are no education requirements for EB-5 visa applicants.
Must I have previous business experience? No, it is not required that an applicant have previous business experience
What if I do not speak English? It is not required that an applicant speak English.
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 or disorders that may present a public threat.
Do I need to have earned the money for the investment myself? No. For example, the money can be a gift. The only requirement would be to show that the gifted money was legally earned, and that taxes (if applicable) were paid on the gift. Another example would be using the proceeds of the sale of real estate to fund the investment.
May I apply for an EB-5 visa if I have previously been denied a visa to the U.S.? If you have been previously denied a visa to the U.S., you may still apply for an EB-5 visa. You should consult with a reputable attorney who can assess your visa history.
Can qualified individuals from any country apply? With the exception of individuals from countries with which the U.S. does not hold diplomatic relations, citizens of any country may apply for permanent residence in the U.S. through the EB-5 investment program. As long as the applicant is able to leave his home country and has sufficient investment capital, a qualified immigration lawyer can assist the applicant with the process of obtaining an EB-5 visa.
What is the most common reason for rejection of an EB-5 visa application? In most cases when an EB-5 visa application is rejected, the applicant failed to demonstrate that he or she had legally earned the investment capital.
What other requirements are there in order to obtain an EB-5 visa? To obtain an EB-5 visa, as with any other visa to the U.S., the applicant and any accompanying family members must meet all requirements (e.g., criminal, medical) stipulated by the immigration laws of the United States.
What is an escrow account? An escrow account is a separate interest bearing account where the investor will deposit funds pursuant to a Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) and Subscription Agreement. This account serves to keep the investor’s money protected and separate until such time as the I-526 Conditional Visa application is approved.
It is customary that once funds are deposited into the escrow account, developers take out a short-term loan against a majority of the escrow funds to start development earlier. Once the I-526 Conditional Visa is approved, the escrow funds are released and the short-term loan paid off.
What are Regional Centers? Regional Centers are entities, organizations, or agencies that focus on a specific geographic area within the United States in order to promote economic growth within that area. Regional Centers improve regional productivity, create new jobs, and increase domestic capital investment. Regional Centers are designated by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
What are the financial risks involved with the Regional Center investment projects? All investments are risky by nature and the Regional Center projects are no exception. Under the law, the Regional Center cannot guarantee profit or the return of the principal investment.
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AN INVESTMENT IN A PRIVATE PLACEMENT OF SECURITIES THAT IS CREATED SPECIFICALLY FOR APPLICANTS TO THE UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES (“USCIS”) FIFTH PERMANENT WORKER VISA PREFERENCE (“EB-5”) PROGRAM ARE SPECULATIVE INVESTMENTS AND INVOLVE A HIGH DEGREE OF RISK. INVESTORS MUST BE PREPARED TO BEAR THE ECONOMIC RISK OF SUCH AN INVESTMENT FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME AND BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND A TOTAL LOSS OF THEIR INVESTMENT. IN ADDITION, THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT AN INVESTOR’S EB-5 APPLICATION WILL BE APPROVED BY THE USCIS. PLEASE SEE ALL OFFERING DOCUMENTS FOR COMPLETE INFORMATION.
SAA Cedisus EB-5 Projects has been designed for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy any security that may be referenced herein. Such offers can only be made pursuant to a qualified investor receiving official offering and subscription documentation where lawful under applicable law. SAA Cedisus EB-5 Projects do not intend to provide investment advice through this site and do not represent that any securities or services mentioned, discussed, or otherwise are suitable for any investor.
SAA Cedisus EB-5 Projects provides information about investment projects throughout the United States that are offered pursuant to the EB-5 program administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a program initially enacted as a pilot in 1992, and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. On May 5, 2017, the President signed Public Law 115-56 extending the Regional Center Program through September 30, 2018. For more information please see www.uscis.gov
“EB-5 investments” refer to a type of private placement investment, typically created by developers or sponsors in the construction, hospitality, or other job creating industries, that are designed to meet the requirements of the fifth among five Permanent Worker Visa Preference Categories (EB-1 through EB-5) established by the USCIS. Its official title, the Employment-Based Immigration: Fifth Preference (EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program – https://www.uscis.gov/eb-5 to find out more) offers high-net worth non-U.S. persons, including members of their immediate families, the opportunity to obtain U.S. “green-cards” or permanent residence status. One of the requirements of this specific visa category is that the applicant must invest (typically US $900,000) in a new commercial business that generates 10+ jobs per investment for U.S. workers. Accordingly, the construction, hospitality, and other similar industries, have responded by designing private placements that raise capital for EB-5 compliant projects. EB-5 private placement investments are usually at-risk debt instruments with an investment period of anywhere from five – seven years that might pay an interest rate of anywhere from 0.5% to 1% annually. The immigrant investor would make such an investment with the placement issuer while simultaneously submitting, typically through their immigration attorney, the EB-5 application to the USCIS.