The US EB-5 immigrant investor program was formed in 1990, to give foreign investors the opportunity to obtain permanent residency that leads to American citizenship. The EB-5 program went through some changes later in 1992 which resulted in targeting the high-unemployment areas, as well as the option to invest in a designated Regional Center where investors have no direct involvement in managing the business project. Below you will find some interesting facts about the EB-5 immigrant investor program:
1. EB-5 application process.
When applying under the EB-5 program, the applicant should file petition I-526 that takes approximately 14.4 months of processing.
2. Applying while residing in another country.
U.S. EB-5 program pays no attention to your location at the time of the application, but you have to be a legal resident of that country.
3. Investment status.
EB-5 investment is considered risky even when investing through a Regional Center as there are no guarantees.
4. The return of the investment.
The principal amount cannot be returned before three years since the investment must be maintained until the Removal of condition application (I-829) has been approved, which could only be filed after two years and has an approximate processing time of one year. Most Regional Centers that have a loan based program require a six-year investment before the loan matures and the money is due to be paid back.
5. The source of funds.
The investment fund can be any amount obtained or accumulated by lawful means such as gifts, inheritance, any investment profits, but not loans or illegal money.
6. Documentation proving the legitimacy of funds.
There is no specific list of documents created for proving the source of funds but the documentation must be appropriate, clear, and verifiable. For example, if the funds are inherited, then a will would serve the purpose, or if they are obtained from a previous business investment, then tax returns would be considered as evidence.
7. Residence rules to maintain the permanent residence status.
The applicant should not leave the country for longer than six months in order to maintain permanent resident status, otherwise, the applicant should provide appropriate documentation to USCIS to prove that he/she did not abandon their status. A re-entry permit should be obtained before leaving the country if the applicant believes that six months of absence is a possibility.
8. Job creation criteria.
One of the basic requirements is creating 10 full time jobs for American citizens. In the event that this requirement isn’t fulfilled, petition I-826 will be denied and permanent residency status will be terminated.
9. EB-5 project progress issues.
In case the investor is dissatisfied with the progress of the project he/she has invested in, the investor should consult the EB-5 attorney and review the business plan to determine the next best action(s).
10. The path to US citizenship.
In order to meet the citizenship requirement, the applicant must be a permanent resident for at least five years and be a physical resident in the U.S. for at least two and a half years in the previous five years.
For more information about the US EB-5 program, please click here.
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