Q. What is the procedure for an EB-5 investor to qualify as an immigrant based upon such investment?
A. Form I-526, “Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur,” must be filed with the USCIS. The petition must be supported by a substantial amount of documentation proving that the investor meets all of the requirements. Once the petition is approved, the investor may either apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. Consul or, if the investor is in the United States, apply for adjustment of status to permanent residence.
Q. What is the timing of the I-526 Petition process?
A. The I-526 petition is generally reviewed within three to six months. There is currently under review by USCIS a premium processing review that could take this time period to 15 calendar days if approved. The conditional permanent residence process generally takes between four and nine months depending upon whether the investor is in the U.S. or, if outside of the U.S., which consulate will be interviewing the investor.
Q. What documents must be filed with the I-526 petition?
A. Specifically, documentation must prove the actual transfer or commitment of the EB-5 investor funds; the lawful source of the investor’s funds; the location of the investment in a targeted employment area (if the investment is less than $1 million); the investment in a new commercial enterprise; the involvement of the investor in the business; and the actual creation of 10 full-time positions or a comprehensive business plan showing the need for the 10 employees and the approximate dates when they will be hired. Specific additional documents will be required depending upon the details of the investor and the investment being made.
Q. What must be proven in order to obtain removal of conditions on permanent residence?
A. The investor must prove that the investment has been sustained – not withdrawn – and that the requisite jobs have been created as set forth in the business plan filed with the EB-5 petition.
Q. Is the immigration status granted to the investor valid indefinitely?
A. The permanent resident status granted to the investor is actually a “conditional permanent resident status” that is valid for a period of up to two years. The investor and family members are required to remove the condition by filing an application during the 90 day period preceding the second anniversary of obtaining this status. The petition will be required to demonstrate the establishment of the business, the investment of the requisite amount of capital and the creation of the required number of jobs.
Q. Do all family members get conditional permanent residence status at the same time?
A. The investor, his or her spouse and any unmarried, under 21 year old children can obtain permanent residence at the same time and through a single investment of the mother or father.
Q. If my I-526 petition is approved by USCIS, what is the purpose of the Consulate application and Interview?
A. The purpose of this application is to ensure that the investor and his or her family undergo medical, police, security and immigration history checks before the conditional permanent resident visas are issued. At the interview, the consulate officer may address these issues and information printed on the I-526 petition, including asking the investor to summarize the nature of his or her immigrant investment. If the investor and his or her family are in the United States, they may apply to adjust their status at the appropriate office of the USCIS.
Q. After the I-526 petition approval, can members of the family have their consulate interview in different countries (i.e. children attending school in the United States and the parents in China, etc.)?
A. Family members can interview in different countries. The country of origin or where the family has current ties is the standard interview site. Often one member of the family is located in another country, such as a student attending school in the U.S. The student does not have to return to the country of origin and can adjust status in the United States at the district office of the USCIS.
Q. How long must I remain in the United States each year?
A. The first requirement of any investor after they receive the visa at the United States overseas consulate office is to enter into the United States within 180 days of visa issuance from the consulate. The investor must then establish residency in the United States. Evidence of intent to reside includes opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, renting or buying a home. The United States resident may work overseas if required based upon the nature of the business or profession. For those permanent residents living outside the U.S., we suggest the investor and family re-enter the U.S. no less than once every six months. The longer the investor and family are present in the U.S., the less likely the government is to claim that the investor “abandoned” the United States as a permanent residence – thereby endangering his green card status. In some cases, investors may seek the issuance of a “reentry permit” which allows the Investor permission to remain outside the U.S. for as long as two years without having to reenter the country to maintain permanent resident status.
Q. If my I-526 petition is denied, will I receive my funds back?
A. Yes. The full capital investment amount of US$500,000 will be returned to the account from which the funds originated. The investor will also receive the full Subscription Fee returned.