1. What is EB-5?
- EB-5 is an employment based visa category allowing foreign investors to invest in the U.S. and under the conditions of fulfilling certain requirements, they would also be able to obtain a permanent residence status (commonly referred to as "green card") for themselves, their spouse, their unmarried children under the age of 21.
2. Is my investment guaranteed?
- Like all investments, there are inherent risks involved. It is very important for foreign investors to understand that any promises of "guaranteed investment" and "no risk green card" should be warning signs of potential problems in the beginning. Not only there is no guarantee or promise by the US government of the safety or return of your investment principles but also, and on the contrary, one of the statutory requirements of EB-5 eligibility is the investment must be “at risk” without guarantees or redemption of rights.
3. How to manage the risk in your investments?
- Similar to all business dealings, the investor must conduct his or her own feasibility study of the business opportunity at hand. If you are unable to do so or prefer an expert opinion, although our immigration lawyers and international business attorneys can not advice you in this regard personally, they will be happy to recommend professional and reputable third party analysts to meet with you so that you can select the one you trust to provide you with such professional investment and risk analysis service.
4. Are regional centers guaranteed by the U.S. government?
- No, they are NOT.
- Contrary to popular belief, investments in RC’s are not guaranteed by the U.S. government. The RC’s are approved entities to accept foreign investment on a pilot program basis only because they have submitted applications to the USCIS seeking RC status and have successfully established that they met the requirements to be eligible for a RC. Hence, the designation. However, foreign investors must be very careful about the true meaning when they hear such terms as "We are a Regional Center that is federally designated by the US government" or "all our investment projects are USCIS approved," because US federal government or USCIS does not guarantee your investments in the RC’s and your investment in any RCs under EB-5 programs are in fact subject to normal business risks at all time!
5. How to become an RC?
- Because a RC is not a federal agency or a government entity as some potential EB-5 investors might mistakenly believe but a pure bussiness venture or joint ventures, any private business projects can in theory petition to be designated as a RC. In order to obtain approval as a RC, the interested business promoters or "centers" must submit an application supported with required documentation which includes a business proposal showing how the center will focus and contribute to the economic growth in the proposed area or designated region. Potential centers will also provide a detailed business plan of how they would achieve the projected economic contributions through their promotional efforts. USCIS will then review the application package and determines if the interested projects meet the statutory requirements in becoming a designated RC.
6. How many RC’s are available at this time?
- There are currently over 200 approved and active RC’s nationwide at this time, and the list is periodically updated as existing RCs exit the stage and new RCs are being approved over time. You can click here for:
7. How many RC’s are currently in Texas?
- There are eightee RCs currently designated and operational in Texas and they are primarily concentrated in the North and South Texas areas.
- There are quite a few new RC applications are being in the process, including a few cities in the process of seriously exploring the possibilities to seek RC designation for the local economy growth and development. Yu, South & Associates are actively involved in the feasibility studies and planning for a few such municipalities in Texas.
- If you wish to know more about available RCs in Texas or thinking about establish an RC of your own, please contact our office so that we can address those issues accordingly.
8. What is the difference between investments in an RC vs. Non RC?
- Investment in an RC allows for more relaxed requisite job creation requirement through possible alternative approach known as "indirect employment" while investment in a non-RC generally would have to satisfy the job creation requirement through "direct employment."
- A RC investor only needs to be involved in the management of the business on a very limited basis and therefore the investor needs not reside near the location of the business, while a non-RC investor by rule has to participate in the active management of the business and as a result will have to reside near the location of the business to perform that duties. In other word, the non-RC investors can not put down the investment and returns to their home country to let their agents run the operation for them.
- Further, USCIS gives priority to petitions filed by aliens seeking immigrant investor classification under the pilot program vs. investors in a non-RC program, although very little noticeable differences in reality yet.
9. How long does USCIS take to process my EB-5 visa application?
- Processing time vary from case to case. Currently, average processing time is about 3 -5 months. It is imperative that while filing the petition applicants and their immigration lawyers should make sure all documentations are complete, because any missing documents could result in unnecessary lengthy delays in the process. Our attorneys would be able to assist you and your qualifed family members through this complicated US immigration process while you take care of the important matters of making a sound and solid financial decisions in the investment project.
10. What are the processing procedures?
- Step 1: Filing the EB-5 petition. This petition process requests USCIS to certify the investor and his/her qualifying family members and the investment as eligible for EB-5 visa status. Form used for this process if Form I-526, also known as "Petition for Alien Entrepreneur" and location to file with USCIS is at:P.O. Box 660168,Dallas, TX 75266For Express mail or courier deliveries:USCIS Attn: I-526,2501 S. State Highway 121 BusinessSuite 400Lewisville, TX 75067
- Step 2: Consular processing. Upon approval of the I-526 petition by the USCIS, you must wait for notification from the US Embassy in your home country for scheduling the appointment for the visa application processing. Our immigration lawyers will guide you through this critical step and assist you throughout the preparation of documentation and the visa interview. Upon request and under separate arrangement, our immigration lawyers can even accompany you to the actual visa appointment at the US Consulate in your home country.
- Step 3: Admission upon entry or travel to the US. Upon successful interview at the US Consulate, foreign investors and their family members will be issued immigrant visa to come to the US to implement the proposed investment plans as petitioned and approved. Upon arrival and admission to the US, foreign investors and their family members, through port of entry processing, will receive temporary green card through mail in a few weeks. Foreign investorsand theirr family members usually must enter the country within 6 months from the date of visa issuance.
- Step 4: Removal of Conditions. The initial approval of the "conditional residence" will expire in two years and investor and the qualifying family members must file a seperate petition to remove the conditions prior to the expiration date of the approved residnce. Therefore, you will need to file the 2nd petition within two years to seek removal of conditions and the form used for this purpose is Form I-829.
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