EB-5 general information
What is the EB-5 program? +
The Immigrant Investor Program, known as “EB-5” and administered by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors.
What are EB-5 Regional Centers? +
An EB-5 Regional Center is a public or private entity involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment. Regional Centers can take advantage of a more expansive concept of job creation, including both “indirect” and “direct” jobs:
Direct – actual jobs located within the enterprise in which the investor has invested;
Indirect – jobs shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested by the EB-5 investor.
How does an entity get the EB-5 Regional Center designation? +
To receive the designation from the USCIS, a regional center must:
focus on a specific geographical region and show how the center will promote economic growth in that region;
show, in verifiable detail, how jobs will be created directly or indirectly through capital investments made in accordance with the regional center’s business plan;
show the amount and source of capital committed to the regional center and the promotional efforts made and planned for the business project.
What is the job creation requirement for EB-5 visas? +
Each $500,000 or $1,000,000 EB-5 investment must produce a minimum of 10 jobs within two years.
Where can more information on the EB-5 Program be found? +
On the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service’s website at www.uscis.gov.
What is the minimum investment? +
If the investment is in a high-unemployment area (called a Targeted Employment Area, or “TEA”), or rural area, the minimum investment is US $500,000. Otherwise, the minimum investment is US $1 million.
What types of projects does BIF look for? +
We look for complex projects that have economic development momentum, not just single-event construction projects. Funded projects must be within our geographic region (Kentucky and Southern Indiana) and must deliver permanent, full-time job creation that exceeds the Federal requirement of 10 jobs per $500,000 investment. Specifically, we look to fund:
mixed-use real estate developments,
biomedical and healthcare,
research and education,
Who are the investors and how do they qualify? +
Investors may come from any country in the world, and must be “accredited.” An accredited investor has a net worth individually or jointly with a spouse in excess of US $1,000,000, or has had an annual income of more than US $200,000 for the two most recent years (or, jointly with spouse, of more than US $300,000 for the same period). There must be reasonable expectations of the same income level in the current year.
What proof must the investor supply regarding his/her investment? +
The investor must provide evidence that the funds to be invested exist, in cash – not borrowed capital – and that those funds were obtained through lawful means, by the following:
foreign business registration records;
personal and business tax returns, or other tax returns of any kind filed anywhere in the world within the previous five years;
documents identifying any other source of money;
certified copies of all pending civil or criminal actions and proceedings, or any private civil actions involving money judgments against the investor within the past 15 years.
Do investors get their green card right away? +
If the initial I-526 visa application is accepted, the investor and his/her family – spouse, and children under age 21 – will receive a conditional green card. They will only receive permanent resident status after two years and only if their investment has resulted in the creation of 10 permanent, full-time jobs.
What are the investor’s financial risks? +
The EB-5 visa program requires that the foreign investor’s money be “at risk.” Neither the investments nor the returns are guaranteed. That said, while no project is risk-free, BiF is only interested in funding well-secured projects with multiple funding sources and the highest likelihood of success.
Will an investor’s funds be reimbursed if they do not get their green card? +
If the USCIS denies the potential investor’s initial I-526 petition – the first step in the application process – their investment is returned. However, if after the two-year provisional period the permanent visa is denied, the investment will remain in the project for the full fixed-year loan period. At that time, BiF will attempt to return the principal investment to the investor. Again, once invested, the funds are not covered by any principal or return guarantee.
What is the most common reason for rejection of an EB-5 visa application? +
The visa applications are most commonly rejected because the applicant fails to demonstrate that the investment funds were earned or obtained legally.
How are funds submitted to BIF? +
BiF will send its escrow agreement and wire transfer information to the investor, who will send a wire transfer of funds to the designated account. BiF will then receive a remittance confirmation to be used for the investor's records and the I-526 source of funds petition.
Can money gifted by a parent or other relative be used for an EB-5 investment? +
Yes, provided that any applicable gift taxes are paid. It must be demonstrated that the gift is an actual arms-length transaction and is a not a mere ruse or that the gifted funds will be given back after permanent resident status is granted. The parent, relative or other giver’s source of funds also must be lawfully gained, meaning that the giver will be asked to provide documentation showing that his or her funds are legally sourced and acquired.
Must I speak English? +
Must I be in good health? +
Yes. Every immigrant to the United States is required to pass a comprehensive health wellness check. Minor illnesses or non-critical conditions are not necessarily a cause for rejecting an investor’s petition.
What is the difference between "conditional" and "permanent" green cards? +
You and your eligible family members – spouse and children under age 21 – will receive a conditional green card once your initial I-526 application has been accepted and your funds invested. This gives you temporary resident status. After two years, you will be eligible to receive a permanent green card (permanent resident status) only if your investment has created the required minimum of 10 permanent, full-time jobs. If this criterion has not been met, you and your family will be denied a permanent green card.
Can I live anywhere in the US once the green card is issued? +
Yes. You are not required to live where your investment is located.
Can my family members receive green cards as well? +
Yes. Your spouse, children and step-children under age 21 may receive green cards for a two-year conditional period.
How many EB-5 green cards are available each year? +
Up to 10,000 visas may be authorized each fiscal year for eligible entrepreneurs and their immediate family members.
If my I-526 petition is denied, will all of my investment funds be returned to me? +
Yes. Your entire investment will be returned to you and your administrative fee also will be refunded. However, should your permanent visa be denied after the two-year provisional period, your investment will remain in the project for the full fixed-year loan period. At that time, BiF will attempt to return the principal investment to you, but remember: once invested, the funds are not covered by any principal or return guarantee.
How long will the conditional residence petition take? +
This may take from 60 to 90 days for processing. Check the USCIS website for current processing times.
How long is my permanent resident card valid once USCIS removes conditions? +
Must I have previous business experience or education? +
While education and business experience can be beneficial, they are not required. You are not required to have any prior business experience or any minimum level of education. The only investor prerequisite is that you have the required net worth and capital.
What types of documents are required for an EB-5 petition? +
Identification documents such as birth certificates, passports, marriage licenses, etc. will be required for each applicant. The principal applicant will need to prove that their investment funds are lawfully gained. Other financial documents, such as five years of tax returns, five years of bank records, proof of business ownership, business license etc. will also be required. Lastly, any documents related to an investor's current immigration status in the United States of America will be required if it is applicable to the applicant.
Can I apply for EB-5 if I have been rejected or terminated in the past by USCIS for an L-1, E-2, B, or other visa? +
Yes. Rejection in the past does not disqualify you unless the reasons related to immigration fraud or other major problems. It is most important that all criminal, medical, or US immigration history problems be disclosed to the limited partnership and legal counsel in advance of application.