The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program grants permanent residency to thousands of investors and their immediate families every year. One of the program’s most difficult requirements to satisfy is coming up with the minimum investment amount of $1.8 million, which drops to $900,000 when the investor invests in a project located within a targeted employment area (TEA). However, an investor’s journey to permanent residency through the EB-5 investment program may not be over even if they do not possess the required funds.
Investors can use capital gifted by a family member to satisfy the investment capital requirements. In this case, investors must prove that this capital was a gift and that it has a lawful origin. Often, parents who are not interested in immigrating to the United States themselves will gift their child the necessary capital to apply for permanent residency under the EB-5 investment program.
How Can Investors Satisfy the Source-of-Funds Requirement?
An investor must prove to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that their EB-5 investment capital has a lawful origin. The burden is on the investor to prove that their funds derive from a legal source. In the case that the investment was a gift, USCIS needs to know that the gift was legitimate and that the original capital was obtained legally.
How Can Investors Prove Their Gift Was Legitimate?
USCIS is primarily interested in whether an investor’s gifted capital has repayment terms. USCIS has also historically scrutinized gifts from business associates or friends more heavily than gifts from family members.
The gift’s donor should prepare a gift agreement that states that the gift’s recipient has no obligation to repay the capital. Both parties should then sign this agreement. If the donor does not speak English, this agreement should be written in a language they do speak. A certified English translation must be provided to USCIS in the investor’s I-526 application.
How Can Investors Prove Their Funds Were Sourced Lawfully?
Regarding lawful sourcing, USCIS has the same documentation standards for gifted capital as any other source of capital. Although this documentation should be detailed, it can come from a variety of sources. Examples of relevant documentation include property records, loan documents, investment records, employment records, and bank statements. The burden is also on the investor to obtain certified translations of any documents not originally in English.
What Role Can an EB-5 Immigration Attorney Play?
USCIS regulations are often complex, with the EB-5 investment program’s source-of-funds requirement one of the trickiest to navigate. Immigration attorneys with EB-5 experience can be extremely helpful when proving that EB-5 investment capital was lawfully obtained. Attorneys can also help determine the best source of capital to use.