Russian EB5 Investors
Russia is currently experiencing a swiftly modernizing and growing economy. However, participation by Russian EB5 investors is surprisingly low.
Russians immigrate to the US in far smaller numbers than individuals from Korea, China, and India. This includes general immigration, as well as EB5 participants. In 2008 and 2009 combined, fewer than 100 Russian EB5 investor applicants obtained permanent US residence through the EB-5 investor visa program.
Businesspeople may be deterred from becoming Russian EB5 investors due to concern over difficulties in getting the conditions removed from EB-5 green cards, a potential increase in taxes due to international investment, the risk of losing the investment, and the potential of a low return on an EB-5 investment in a TEA.
Russian EB-5 9nvestors may also worry about proving the source of EB-5 investment funds, due to differences in record keeping between the US and Russia. This issue, however, is becoming less prevalent.
Russian investors also have options to immigrate to other countries, which may initially appear easier than participation in the EB5 investor visa program. However, the EB5 investor green card may fail to attract a large number of Russian EB5 investors simply because the EB5 immigrant visa program is not well advertised in Russia.
Setbacks and Advantages for Russian EB5 Investors
As a Russian EB5 investor, you will enjoy several advantages residents of other countries do not. For example, you will not endure the problem faced by EB5 investors whose home countries limit the amount of money they can transfer annually to an international investment. In China, for example, the annual international transfer limit is $50,000, forcing EB-5 participants and their immigration lawyers to seek complicated solutions.
Russian EB5 investors are also less likely to encounter a problem with USCIS discovering a history of tax evasion, since taxes in Russia are among the world’s lowest, and there is little incentive not to pay. In fact, you can receive a gift from a family member, and invest this gift in an EB5 project without having to pay Russian gift taxes.
As a Russian EB5 investor, however, you will encounter setbacks that a skilled immigration lawyer can help you navigate. You may have trouble obtaining certain records and background information required when you submit your initial EB5 petition. However, your immigration lawyer can help you by using a reference called a spravka to access essential information, while locating additional public records.
You may also encounter problems transferring funds from your bank to your chosen EB5 investment, since some Russian banks are inexperienced in international transfers. Again in these situations, the guidance of your immigration lawyer will be invaluable.
Since record keeping procedures in Russia tend to differ from those in the US, providing USCIS with sufficient documentation explaining the source of your EB5 investment funds can be difficult. Individuals are also rarely required to make tax declarations in Russia, which can lead to similar problems. However, these issues are becoming less prevalent for Russian EB5 investors.
Your immigration lawyer will council you regarding your participation in the EB-5 investor visa program despite these potential setbacks.
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) has marked certain Russian nationals as inadmissible, making it difficult for these individuals to obtain visas, including EB5 investor green cards. You may be marked as inadmissible due to alleged affiliation with organized crime, loose affiliation with a member of an organized crime group, or even if you are seen in the wrong place at the wrong time. Some individuals have also been determined inadmissible, without their knowledge, due to involvement with certain industries allegedly connected to money laundering, such as metal and gas.
If you have not travelled to the US in the past several years, and you wish to participate in the EB5 investor visa program, your immigration lawyer may advise that you apply for a B visa before beginning the EB5 investment process, to determine whether the INA has marked you as inadmissible.
Russian EB-5 Investors and Immigration Lawyer Assistance
If you are living in Russia when you apply to participate in the EB-5 program, your immigration attorney will prepare you for your immigrant visa interview, which will most likely take place at the consulate in Moscow. Your immigration attorney will be familiar with procedures for setting up an interview, and can brief you on the matters that will be discussed.
If Russia is your home country and you are planning to participate in the EB5 investor visa program, talk to your immigration lawyer about your presuppositions regarding the program. Experienced immigration attorneys have encountered myths circulating amongst Russian investors regarding the EB-5 program, and it is important to obtain full information so you can understand the potential losses and gains that accompany seeking a green card through the EB5 program.
There is great potential for Russian immigrant investors to form a mutually beneficial relationship with American enterprises by becoming Russian EB5 investors. An experienced immigration lawyer is familiar with the process of Russian investor participation in the EB5 green card program, and can help you navigate its complexities.
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