The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is one of the easiest and fastest ways for foreign nationals and their immediate family to immigrate into the United States. The program allows foreign investors to obtain U.S. green cards by investing in a qualifying EB-5 project. While this offers a wonderful opportunity for foreign nationals, there are a few stipulations that applicants should be aware of.
Investors are required to invest a minimum required amount of capital into their chosen EB-5 project. The minimum investment is $1.8 million, or $900,000 if the project is in a targeted employment area (TEA). A targeted employment area is defined as either an area in which the unemployment rate is 50% higher than the national average or a rural area with a population less than 20,000. It is also required that the investment leads to the creation of 10 new full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
When applying to the EB-5 program, investors must complete an I-526 petition. This form must be adjudicated before an investor is eligible to apply for their EB-5 visa. On this petition, investors must document the lawful sources of all of their investment capital, as well as prove the legitimacy and business potential of the project that they are investing in.
Gathering all the documentation to meet the source of funds requirement can be daunting. However, any legal source of capital is permitted as long as it can be traced. Many investors combine funds from various sources to meet the minimum investment amount. Some of the most common sources investors use include the following:
- Wage and salary earnings
- Investments in stocks and retirement accounts
- Business income
- Sale of assets and property
- Donations from family
For young investors, gifts area very common source of funds. Often times, parents fund their children’s EB-5 investment to allow them the chance to obtain permanent resident status in the United States. This is especially appealing to anyone hoping to study at a U.S. university, since EB-5 visa holders may qualify for in-state tuition benefits. When an applicant uses gifted funds, the recipient should provide a document certifying the transfer of the gift money and stating that the recipient is not obligated to pay the money back. The responsibility of tracing the lawful source of the funds is then placed on the donor.
Those planning an EB-5 investment should work with an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney to explore all available options and find the best funds to use. The EB-5 process can be complicated, and many investors experience delays for various reasons. An experienced immigration attorney can help to ensure a stress-free process with as few delays as possible.