The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program offers a unique opportunity for foreign nationals to obtain permanent resident status in the United States. While the program remains one of the fastest ways to permanently immigrate to the United States, there are still many obstacles to overcome during the EB-5 process and multiple factors each investor should consider. Before beginning the EB-5 process, investors should be aware of the following concerns.
The Potential for Risk
The EB-5 program requirements demand that all EB-5 investments remain at risk during the investment period. The level of risk, however, is not stated. Each EB-5 investor should consider how much risk they are willing to take on with their investment.
Investors typically prioritize immigration over financial gain. For these investors, it is important to carefully evaluate which EB-5 projects have the lowest immigration risk. If an investor is concerned with their return on investment, they should consider which EB-5 projects offer the lowest financial risk. Ultimately, it is up to each EB-5 investor to determine the type and amount of risk they are willing to tolerate and to carry out comprehensive due diligence.
For investors with management experience or interest, it is possible to invest directly into an EB-5 project. This can allow the investor to retain control over the project, influencing the project’s success. This route of investing may ease the stress of taking on risk because the investor’s managerial skills could limit risk and create a larger return on investment.
Finding the Right Regional Center
EB-5 investors who have no interest in managing their EB-5 projects can invest through one of the many regional centers. Although the investor does not retain direct control over their funds, this may be more convenient for investors that do not want to take on the responsibility of managing a full EB-5 project. This route also frees up the investor from certain job creation requirements. When investing through a regional center, the regional center managers are responsible for the success of the EB-5 applicant’s investment. Therefore, it is important for investors to choose a reputable regional center with managers they trust.
When considering investing through a regional center, it is also important to select a high-quality regional center. Regional centers are being terminated at a surprisingly high rate, with 44 regional centers losing their regional center status between March and May 2020. It is vital that EB-5 investors choose a reputable regional center to work with to avoid jeopardizing their future in the United States.
Choosing the Best Source of Funds
All EB-5 investors are required to prove that their investing capital was acquired from legal sources. Investors must document all sources of their funds in their I-526 petition. By working with an immigration attorney, investors can ensure that they choose funds from sources that are easier to trace, saving time and possibly speeding up the adjudication process.
Additional Fees and Costs
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program requires a minimum investment of $1.8 million, or $900,00 if the project is in a targeted employment area (TEA). Unfortunately, this sizeable investment does not include the additional fees and costs investing through the program entails. EB-5 investors should be aware of the following additional fees:
- Immigration attorney fees
- I-526 petition and I-829 petition filing fees
- I-485 petition filing fees for applicants within the U.S.
- Regional center administrative fees for those who choose to invest through a regional center
- Relocation costs
- U.S. state and federal taxes
Potential Benefits of the EB-5 Program
Aside from the possibility of obtaining a U.S. green card, participating in the EB-5 program can offer many other benefits to investors and their families. For example, if planning to attend a university, EB-5 investors, along with their spouse and unmarried children younger than 21, may qualify for in-state tuition benefits. Additionally, if investors frequent the United States for personal or business reasons, establishing a U.S. residence could save on future travel costs.