Frequently Asked Questions about EB-5

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Who may obtain an EB-5 visa?

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Any person who can demonstrate the ability to invest the required amount into the American economy, can document that the capital was legally earned, and satisfies general eligibility requirements (e.g., medical, criminal) is qualified to apply.

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Does my 20-year old son qualify as a family member?

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All unmarried children under the age of 21 qualify. Children’s ages are “frozen” as of the filing of the I-526. Children close to the age of 21 will not age out of eligibility.

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How long will my Green Card be valid?

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Your conditional Green Card is valid for two years. Before the end of the two year period, you must submit an I-829 form to remove the conditions and receive a permanent Green Card.

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What academic degree do I need to obtain an EB-5 visa?

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None.

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Do I have to speak English to apply?

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No.

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Does the money I invest have to be my own?

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Yes. However, you must be able to prove how you legally obtained the money. Inability to do so is the number one reason for I-526 applications being rejected.

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Does my entire investment have to be in cash?

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No. However, if using debt, it must be fully secured by you. No part of your investment may be secured by the project in which you are investing.

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Must I make my investment when I apply for my I-526?

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No. However, the money must be fully committed when you apply.

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What do I need to know about investing in a “troubled business”?

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The business must have existed for a minimum of two years. The business must have suffered a loss equal to 20% or more of its net worth during the last two years. The number of employees must, at minimum remain the same for two years post-investment.

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How many individuals may invest in an EB-5 project?

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There is no statutory limit on the number of investors. However, each investment must generate a minimum of 10 jobs within the first two years.

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How much documentation do I have to provide?

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When you think you have enough, keep digging until you have more than you think is adequate. Leave no gaps or blanks that will raise questions impeding or ceasing the application process. There is an unwritten rule in American business that, “If it isn’t documented, it didn’t happen.”

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Are there limitations on EB-5 investors by country as with E-1 and E-2?

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No.

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How are filing dates determined?

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The filing date for documents is always the date that the documents are received by USCIS.

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What does EB-5 stand for?

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It stands for Employment-Based 5th Category, because it was the fifth of the employment-based visas to be established.

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Are there any personal health requirements for an EB-5 visa?

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Yes. Both you and your dependents must undergo physical examination and provide past medical records for review.

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May I apply for EB-5 if I am already living in the United States, but my student visa has expired?

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Yes. However, you must leave and apply from outside the U.S.

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Is my permanent Green Card really permanent?

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Yes, as long as you continue to maintain permanent residence and do not commit crimes that disqualify you to live in the U.S.

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How do I maintain permanent residency?

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You must be present in the USA at least one day during each six-month period. To be able to apply for USA Citizenship, you must remain in the U.S. for over 30 months during last 5-years period.

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May I apply for an EB-5 visa if I have been turned down for another kind of visa?

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Yes, unless the reason for being turned down in the past are related to fraud or other similar crimes.

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What is the difference between permanent residency and citizenship?

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A legal permanent resident has most of the rights—and obligations—of American citizens. Permanent residents do not have the right to vote, hold public office and are ineligible for some public benefits. After five years as a legal permanent resident, you may apply to become a naturalized citizen of the United States.

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May I insure my EB-5 investment through a third party?

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It is possible, so long as any policy is not in the form of a guaranteed buy-back or a redemption agreement. The USCIS adjudicates these matters on a case-by-case basis.

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May I invest in a not-for-profit enterprise if it is creating jobs?

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No. The definition of “new commercial enterprise” does not include non-profit organizations. However, a “new commercial enterprise” may be established by pooling EB-5 investments. That enterprise may loan money to fund non-profit projects that fulfill the EB-5 job creation requirements.

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Is it easier to get a Green Card through a direct EB-5 investment or a Regional Center investment?

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Unique risks are associated with any investment. Everything else being equal, some might say that the burden of job creation (and, therefore, the risk) is greater for the direct investor because indirect investments may create indirect or induced jobs. Direct investors must create direct jobs.

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What is the minimum investment for a direct EB-5 investor?

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There is no difference between the minimum amounts required for with direct or indirect investments. The minimum is $1 million, unless the project is within a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), where it is only $500,000. The location of each project is the only factor used to determine the minimum investment.

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Is it true that direct EB-5 applications are more difficult to process than indirect?

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Permit us to answer with a question. Is it easier to build a house or buy a house? Indirect investments are put into projects that are already well-defined and approved. Each direct investment project is unique. Therefore, it takes more time, research and effort. This simply means that more expertise may be required to help prepare and process a direct investment.

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Must a direct EB-5 investor have controlling interest in the project?

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No. He or she may have American partners.

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What is the 40% rule for investing in existing businesses?

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The investment must cause a 40% increase in jobs or a 40% increase in capital.

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If my I-829 is denied, may I appeal?

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There is no appeal process. If there were, it would be costly.