Posts Tagged ‘ EB-5 visa ’

Directing and Managing EB-5 Visa Investment Funds

Posted on: September 23, 2013 by in EB-5
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bigstock-Image-of-business-contract-on--39481198The EB-5 investor visa program was launched by the United States in the 1990s. The intent of the plan was to attract foreign investments into the United States to give a boost to America’s economy. The plan worked, and the program has been in operation ever since.

Qualifying for an Investor Visa

To qualify for the EB-5 investor visa, a foreign citizen must make a qualifying contribution into a U.S. based venture. To qualify under the program, the contribution must be at least $500,000 (if invested into a predesignated region or industry in need of investments) or at least $1,000,000 (if invested anywhere else). Once an contribution is made or a substantial step toward an investment has been made, the foreign investor may apply for an EB-5 visa.

Something that foreign investors should be aware of is that the government does not reward failed investments. If an EB-5 visa is issued, it will be issued for a period of up to two years. Within this time, the contribution must have created at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers (jobs created for the investor’s family members do not qualify) if the contribution was made into a new venture. If the investment was made into an existing venture, then the contribution has two years to increase the company’s net worth or employee workforce by 40%. If the contribution is unable to meet these mandated minimum benchmarks, an investor’s visa and the family visas attached to the investor’s visa may be revoked. This is why an amount of due diligence is required of the investor before he or she hands over any cash for an investment.

Regional Centers a Permanent Fixture

Something that foreign investors should be glad to know is that Regional Centers, which were also launched in the 1990s as a pilot program within the EB-5 investor program, have been declared a permanent fixture of the EB-5 visa program. Formerly, authorization for Regional Centers to operate had to be renewed every few years by Congress, but the last time it was up for renewal, Congress voted to make Regional Centers permanent, which means they won’t going anywhere for quite a while.

Foreign investors should like the Regional Center program because it increases their chances of making a successful investment. Regional Centers are privately or publicly owned entities that direct EB-5 investment funds on behalf of investors within a specified regional area. The program benefits the regions where the investments are made because the investments of multiple investors can be pooled together to fund more expensive (but also more likely to succeed) projects. Since the investor would be removed from the day to day direction and management of an investment, the investor doesn’t even need to have any specialized experience or business acumen in order to make a successful EB-5 investment. Like always, however, no investment is guaranteed, and the risk of failure is not eliminated simply because a Regional Center is used.

Partnering with an Attorney

Whether the investment is being self directed or placed into a Regional Center, a foreign investor should still work with our experienced EB-5 investor visa attorneys for help through the EB-5 investor visa application process. Working with an EB-5 investor visa attorney will help to ensure that the requirements of the program are met, that all paperwork is filled out accurately, and that an application has the best chance of being approved as possible.

EB-5 Regional Center Program Made Permanent

Posted on: September 11, 2013 by in EB-5
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bigstock-Business-meeting-in-an-office-21258410The United States’ EB-5 Regional Center program has finally made the leap from pilot program to permanent program and will continue to help the U.S. economy by encouraging foreign investors to invest a substantial amount of capital into a U.S. based business venture. The Regional Centers program, which was launched in the 1990s as a pilot program, has been extended and saved from expiration by Congressional vote since that time – but now that the program is permanent, there is no need for Congress to vote to keep the program every few years, and no risk that the program will be pulled before a foreign investor is able to take advantage of it.

What is a Regional Center

A regional center is a publicly or privately controlled entity (most Regional Centers are privately controlled) that is specifically involved in promoting economic growth. When a foreign investor intends on making an investment into the U.S. economy under the EB-5 program, the investor has the option of directing the investment of funds on his or her own, or allowing a regional center to direct the investment of funds on the investor’s behalf.

The EB-5 investor program is extended to just about any foreign citizen who can come up with the amount of capital necessary to qualify under the program (either $500,000 or $1,000,000). However, many foreign investors who have the investment capital necessary to qualify under the program do not have any desire to direct and manage an investment of such a size. If this is the case, the Regional Center program offers a great alternative to self directed investment by letting the investor move the funds into a Regional Center where the Center will control and invest the funds on the foreign investor’s behalf.

Benefits of Investing in a Regional Center

Along with being able to take a hands off approach to investing in a U.S. based business venture, foreign investors who invest in the United States through a Regional Center also have the benefit of knowing that their funds will be professionally maintained and invested. Plus, since an EB-5 investor visa can be revoked if the foreign investor’s investment is unable to meet the standards directed by the program, having a Regional Center with experience in making successful investments will go a long way in helping to make sure that the investor’s visa is not revoked for failure to satisfy the program.

Moving Forward with an Attorney

While there is no way for an attorney to guarantee that an investment will work, a foreign investor should still partner with an attorney because of all of the help and counsel that the attorney will be able to provide in the matter. The attorney can help the foreign investor apply for the EB-5 visa and compile the necessary supporting documents that should accompany the application. Once the paperwork has been submitted, the attorney will keep the foreign investor up to date on the status of his or her application.

From B1/B2 to an EB-5

Posted on: July 19, 2013 by in EB-5
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bigstock-Citizenship-documents-43205116Visas for Foreign Investors

The EB5 investor visa is a path to U.S. residency available to foreign citizens who invest a substantial amount of capital into a U.S. based venture. The idea behind the program is to stimulate the U.S. economy by attracting foreign investors to invest their cash in a way that creates at least 10 new jobs for qualified U.S. workers. Current limits require investors to invest at least $500,000 in certain hard hit industries or $1,000,000 in any other. Before the EB5 visa will be approved, the foreign investor is required to have already made the investment or taken a substantial step forward in making the investment.

Business & Tourist Visa Holders

Foreign citizens who are already in the United States on a B1/B2 visa (issued to visitors here on business or for tourism) can apply for an EB5 visa while still in the United States, but the same EB5 requirements still have to be met. An experienced and credentialed immigration attorney will be able to explain to each potential investor exactly what the specific requirements are and whether or not the venture where the money will be invested is a qualifying venture under EB5 requirements.

General Procedure

B1/B2 visas are initially issued for six months, but current processing time for EB5 visa applications is up to one year. This means that if a person is in the country on a B1/B2 visa and applies for an EB5 visa, the person will have to return to his or her home country before finding out whether or not the EB5 visa was approved. In some circumstances, a foreign investor can have his or her B1/B2 visa extended, but extensions are issued on a case-by-case basis and are not guaranteed.

One potential problem for current B1/B2 visa holders who want to switch to an EB5 visa is that the B1/B2 visa requires the visitor to intend on returning to his or her home country after a short visit to the U.S., while the EB5 application process requires the applicant to intend on moving to the U.S. permanently. Therefore, submitting an EB5 application while still on a business or tourist visa could cause a B1/B2 extension request to be denied.

The Facts Matter

Everyone’s case will be different. Certain exceptions and rules in the law may apply to one person but not to another. For the best advice on how to move forward with an EB5 application while still on a B1/B2 visa, applicants are encouraged to speak with an experienced immigration attorney who can answer their questions and provide guidance on the application process as it pertains to a person’s individual case.

Anyone considering investing in the U.S. is also advised to work with an attorney to help navigate the strict requirements of the EB5 program. If an investor invests in a venture that doesn’t qualify for the program, or fails to invest in a venture that will create at least 10 jobs, the EB5 visa will likely not be issued, and the investor will have to start the process all over again.

Proposed Changes to the EB-5 Visa Program

Posted on: July 15, 2013 by in EB-5, immigration reform
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bigstock-Passport-Gavel-5802855Changes on the Horizon for EB5

If a bipartisan group of senators gets its way, there are going to be some major changes to the EB-5 investor visa program. The program, which was introduced in the 1990s, is designed to award foreign investors with U.S. residency and an eventual path to citizenship in exchange for a substantial investment into the U.S. economy.

The program has several limits on how much an investment should be worth and the kind of growth that the investment is expected to create. For example, in order to qualify for the program, investors must invest at least $500,000 into a government designated, hard hit industry, or at least $1,000,000 into any other. Additionally, the investment, if invested into a brand new business venture, is required to create at least ten jobs for qualifying American workers, or, if invested into a pre-existing venture, is required to expand the venture by 40%, either in terms of job growth or in overall net worth.

Bipartisan Proposals

Among some of the improvements and changes that have been proposed by the bipartisan group of senators tasked with reforming our immigration system are:

  • Allowing EB5 Regional Centers to exist permanently. These centers, which are privately held business entities tasked with managing and distributing EB-5 investment funds and promoting fiscal growth within specific geographical boundaries, were originally introduced in 1992 as a pilot program, a program which has been perpetually extended and allowed to exist year after year, with the most recent extension lasting until the end of September, 2015. Due in large part to the program’s success, the crafters of the proposal see no reason to have to continue to treat the program as a pilot.
  • Allowing the recapture of un-issued EB5 visas from the past. Congress currently authorizes 10,000 EB5 investor visas for issue each year. As of now, unused visas vanish into thin air and are not carried over into the next fiscal year, despite how beneficial they would be for the economy.
  • Allowing the elimination of country quotas which currently cap the number of visas that can be issued to citizens from the same country. As of now, a single country cannot represent more than 7% of the total EB-5 visa pool.
  • Allowing an exemption for spouses and children of EB5 investors so that the full 10,000 issued visas are issued solely to principal investors, not their family members.
  • Allowing an increase in the overall amount of EB-5 investor visas that can be issued each year.

Stay Tuned for Updates

The pace in Washington appears to be gaining some traction. Citizens across the United States are calling for sweeping reforms to a variety of laws and policies and politicians seem to be responding. As of now, the proposed changes listed above will remain proposals until both sides of Congress can come up with policies that they can agree on, or until the President signs into law an executive order that directly affects the EB5 program.

Prospective EB5 investors are encouraged to stay in touch with an experienced EB-5 attorney for the most up to date and accurate changes to the program as they are announced.

Guaranteed EB-5 Investments

Posted on: July 12, 2013 by in EB-5
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Investing in the U.S. for an EB-5 Visa

The EB5 investor program allows foreign investors the chance to live and work in the U.S. in exchange for a substantial contribution in America’s economy. Some of the rules involved require the amount invested to meet minimum investment amounts and, if invested into a new venture, to create at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers or, if invested into an existing venture, to expand the business by at least 40%.

Getting a Guaranteed Investment

Unfortunately, in order to qualify for an EB-5 visa, foreign investors are not allowed to accept any form of guarantee that an contribution will be profitable. In other words, the investment must be “at risk”, or unguaranteed, for the time that it is invested into a qualifying U.S. based venture. If the expense were guaranteed, then it would be more of a loan, not a true investment.

After an expense is made, the foreign investor can be issued a conditional EB-5 visa, however, if the expense fails to create the necessary amount of jobs or, in the case of an contribution into an existing venture, fails to expand the business by 40%, the visa can be revoked. In other words, an expense must be provably profitable in order for an EB-5 visa to stay in effect.

What if an Investment is Lost?

If an expense is lost, there is no legal recourse for the investor. A lost contribution is a lost investment, which is why investors must understand the risks involved with making an contribution into a foreign venture.

Even if the party receiving the contribution makes a promise to repay an contribution if it is lost, the law will generally not step in to make the investor whole in the event that the contribution is actually lost.

What Does This Mean for Investors?

Foreign investors interested in investing in the U.S. economy must make absolutely sure that the venture into which they are investing is legitimate and has a high chance of success. Rushing into an investment just to become eligible for an EB5 visa can actually lead to the investor making a bad investment, or failing to see one of the risks involved with the investment. For the most hopeful results, foreign investors are urged to perform ample due diligence into a potential expense opportunity to ensure the contribution  is as secure as possible.

How to Make a Strong Investment

The fact that an EB5 expense is at risk means that investors have a lot on the line if they make a bad investment. In terms of an EB5 investment, not only would the investor lose the cash that went into the investment, so too could the investor lose the opportunity to remain in the U.S. on an EB5 visa because, if an contribution fails, an investor’s conditional visa can be revoked.

An experienced immigration and EB-5 attorney can help the foreign investor ensure that an contribution is legitimate and can advise the investor on the precise risks involved with an investment.

Importance of Maintaining EB-5 Requirements

Posted on: July 10, 2013 by in EB-5
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bigstock-Passports-31148In existence since the 1990s, the EB-5 investor visa program has helped to promote economic activity, investment of foreign funds, and general business growth in the United States by exchanging visas to foreign citizens for investments in America’s economy. The program allows foreign citizens who invest a “substantial amount” of monetary capital into the U.S. economy to qualify for the EB5 investor visa, which, in turn, would also qualify members of the investor’s immediate family for visas to live and work in the United States.

Strict Requirements

The U.S. government only issues 10,000 EB5 investor visas per year, so it is always in an investor’s best interests to ensure they meet the qualifications of the program before they even submit a visa application, so they don’t risk an application denial, which will only prolong the process. An attorney can help foreign investors who want to apply for an EB5 visa through the application process, and can even track an application on the investor’s behalf while it is funneled through the appropriate channels.

Some of the requirements that an investor will have to meet, and which can be explained by experienced immigration counsel in further detail, are:

  • a minimum investment amount of $500,000 or $1,000,000, depending on whether the investment is in a designated industry or not, with designated industries qualifying for the former amount,
  • a job creation or growth requirement which requires the investment to create at least 10 jobs, if invested in a brand new business or, if invested in an existing business, to expand the business’ net worth or workforce by 40%,
  • a paper trail requirement that requires invested funds to be provably legitimate through official records like bank statements, tax records, etc. This is intended by the government to deter money laundering.

Partner with an Attorney for Specific Advice

The three requirements listed above are perhaps the biggest three that investors will have to overcome. For more specific information and for individually tailored advice, prospective foreign investors should partner with experienced immigration counsel. An immigration attorney will have the experience and professional resources necessary to help the foreign investor apply and meet the qualifications for the EB5 investor visa.

If qualifications are met, the immigration attorney will also be able to help the foreign investor secure visas for immediate family members.

First Visa Provisional

If they are approved for the visa, the first issuance will be a two year, provisional visa. If the business fails to create the requisite number of jobs or fails to grow the required 40% in either workforce or net worth, then the immigrant who is in the country on a provisional EB5 visa risks having to return to his or her country of origin.

However, if the EB5 investor thinks that a temporary extension would help the investor meet and maintain minimum visa requirements, then an immigration attorney may be able to help the investor file for the appropriate extension and present evidence in support of the request.