The US EB-5 Program offers an investor green card to high net worth individuals who can make a US$1 million investment in a new enterprise or a US$500,000 in an approved Regional Center, as well as create 10 jobs for qualifying American citizens or residents. The EB-5 program brought in over US$14 billion in foreign direct investments since 2008, and thousands of investors from around the world, along with their immediate families, have obtained US permanent residence.
The investor green card attained through the EB-5 program allows applicants and their families to live, work, and study in the U.S.A., as well as enjoy the rights and benefits of American residents. Dependent children up to the age of 21 can be included in the application, compared to an age limit of 18 for other similar programs. There is no age, education, or business experience required for the main applicant which opens the program to a larger population.
Most candidates will opt for a Regional Center investment. Not only is it the cheaper option, but it accepts both direct and indirect job creation to meet the 10 required. In addition, there is no direct involvement in the business. Selecting a Regional Center, however, is a delicate decision that always requires research and diligence, especially given the recent cases of fraudulent projects.
Like any investment, Regional Center investments are not guaranteed. It is therefore extremely important for investors and family members to consider their options. Track records, experience, and legal compliance are all crucial elements to look for when researching potential Regional Centers. When conducting due diligence, investors have the right to this information and should have access to the Regional Centers’ business plans, economic reports, and market studies. Investors must know their rights to ask questions to help them decide whether a particular project is the right investment for them.
In addition to reviewing the project’s documents, an investor should also investigate the management team to ensure a successful track record. The professional team should be familiar with the EB-5 program requirements and display the highest integrity.
When conducting due diligence, investors should consider asking the relevant Regional Center manager or other authority specific questions. Some good examples of questions follow:
1. Has the Regional Center been refused any Form I-924 applications?
The Form I-924 is an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for an entity to be designated as an approved Regional Center. Refusals of this application should be disclosed in addition to the reasons for denials.
2. Is the Regional Center filing annual compliance forms I-924A with the USCIS?
It is important to ensure that filings are up to date. Failure to file could lead to investigation and potential closure of the operation.
3. What is the Regional Center’s success rate with Form I-829?
Form I-829 is filed by an applicant at the end of the two-year period for the removal of conditions on the investor visa, and transfer to permanent residence. Refusals of this form could mean that insufficient jobs were created to meet the 10 minimum jobs per investment.
4. If Form I-526 is denied, is the complete investment amount refunded?
Form I-526 is filed by an investor with their initial application. Since the funds must be invested at the onset, investors should know whether they will receive a refund if their application gets refused for, say, insufficient evidence of the source of investment funds.
5. Has the Regional Center or its project managers ever been involved in fraud and/or criminal proceedings?
Of course an investor has the right to know whether any action has been filed against the Regional Center they are getting involved with. Complete transparency and disclosure is important, and investing in a project previously involved in fraudulent activity is likely not a good idea.
Due diligence is the most critical element in selecting a Regional Center. When thoroughly conducted, investors can rest easy knowing that their funds are in the right place, and that they will soon be on their way to permanent residence in the U.S. Investing in one’s future should not be taken lightly. Our firm will help you find a legitimate Regional Center with a proven track record to ensure a successful immigration path for you and your family. Contact us today.
For more information on the US EB-5 program, please click here.
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