What Can You Invest In The EB5 Program
USCIS is highly concerned with the source of EB5 investment funds. You must have acquired capital legally, in order to invest in a regional center or a new, old, or troubled business and obtain an EB-5 green card. USCIS requires evidence documenting how you obtained the funds you plan to invest in the EB5 program. You cannot merely detail bank activity, such as a history of deposits and withdrawals. Required documents may include:
- Documentation, business licenses, and financial statements for the businesses you own (significant additional information regarding your business transactions is likely to be required, of which your immigration lawyer will be aware).
- Tax returns and bank records and statements for the past five years, both personal and for your businesses, if applicable. Whether or not you have been paying taxes is irrelevant regarding the legal source of your EB5 investment funds. Instead of proving that you successfully paid your taxes, a skilled immigration lawyer will use information within your tax returns to prove the legitimacy of the sources of your EB5 investment funds. If you have not filed tax returns, your immigration attorney can help you explain your situation to USCIS so you will not be disqualified from the EB-5 investor visa program.
- Documentation of loans.
- A paper trail demonstrating how you obtained your assets.
- Deeds or sales contracts if funds come from sale of property or assets.
- Documentation of transfer of assets from different countries, if applicable.
- Documentation of mortgages.
- Documentation of any court ruling against you or any of your family members hoping to obtain an EB5 green card. Court rulings regarding financial dealings within the past 15 years are especially important to include. If a ruling or criminal charges exists against you, your immigration lawyer will help you convey this information without damaging your chances of obtaining an EB-5 green card. If you do not present this information, USCIS is likely to find it in a background check.
All documentation submitted to USCIS must be translated into English.
If a paper trail for a portion of your EB5 investment funds does not exist, you and other parties involved in a transaction through which you obtained EB5 investment funds can make a declaration explaining how you obtained the money. While this option may be extremely helpful in getting an EB5 green card, it is complicated to execute correctly, and you will require the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer.
This list of required documents is far from exhaustive, and you will require the services of an immigration lawyer to ensure you submit all required evidence correctly to receive an EB-5 green card.
Legal Sources of EB5 Investment Funds
EB5 investment funds can be legally acquired in several different ways:
- You may invest annual income in order to receive an EB5 green card. You must demonstrate a “pattern of income” by submitting business and personal tax returns for at least the past five years.
- You may invest savings or investment income from stocks and bonds acquired gradually. You will need records documenting the accumulation of these funds. You will need to prove that even without significant yearly income, you generated EB5 investment funds legally.
- You may invest a gift in the EB5 program, after paying all required gift taxes. You will need to provide documentation demonstrating that you received the gift legally. USCIS will trace the source of the gift to establish that the entity who gave it to you also acquired it legally. You will also need to make a declaration regarding why you received the gift, and under what circumstances. Finally, you will need to prove that you will not be returning the gift after obtaining your EB5 green card.
- You may invest inheritance, but will need to provide documentation demonstrating that you acquired the inheritance legally. If you received inheritance a long time in the past and lack a paper trail as proof, a skillful immigration attorney can help you demonstrate the legitimacy of the inheritance by soliciting declarations from individuals who were familiar with the assets of the person who left you the capital, as well as the intentions in their will. Your immigration lawyer can call on a probate attorney who assisted with the inheritance transfer, if applicable, to make an essential declaration.
- You may invest capital you receive from a trust, but only if the funds are fully accessible to you at the time you make your EB-5 investment.
- You may invest profits from property sale to acquire an EB5 investor visa. However, you will need to prove the legitimacy of the exchange by submitting official documentation, such as a closing contract.
- You may also invest profits from a business sale in the EB-5 program, as long you provide documentation proving that you owned the business, demonstrating its worth, and the amount of capital you gained through the sale.
- You may invest funds from your retirement account to obtain an EB5 green card. Documentation that must accompany these funds includes proof of previous employment, documentation of regular deposits in your retirement account, and proof of your request to withdraw the funds for EB-5 investment.
Keep in mind that you cannot invest capital you gained, even through legal means, while residing or traveling in the US illegally. Your immigration lawyer will be aware of additional documentation required for your unique situation.
Even if USCIS approves your I-526 petition, it is not guaranteed that the conditions will be removed from your EB-5 green card. If, during your two year investment period, USCIS learns new information and determines that the capital you invested was acquired illegally, you may be required to submit additional evidence regarding the source of your EB5 investment funds. If, even after obtaining approval on your I-526 petition, you cannot prove that you acquired the funds legitimately, your EB5 investor visa may be revoked, and you will not be eligible to petition to have conditions removed.
Insufficient information regarding the source of funds is the most common problem USCIS encounters with EB-5 investor visa petitions. To prevent delays, error on the side of including too much information, rather than too little. The help of your immigration attorney is essential in ensuring you provide sufficient proof to satisfy USCIS requirements for an EB5 green card.
Your Immigration Lawyer’s Role in Proving Legal EB5 Investment Funds Source
To demonstrate to USCIS that you obtained your EB5 investment funds legally, a skilled immigration lawyer will conduct due diligence on you and your assets and funds. Your immigration lawyer will access public records and conduct extensive online research, mirroring the actions USCIS will take to investigate the source of your funds, to determine whether any information exists that might disqualify you from obtaining an EB5 investor green card.
A skilled immigration lawyer will understand the necessity of taking a unique approach to each client when it comes to establishing the legitimacy of the source of your EB5 investment funds. Your immigration lawyer will not approach this process from a formulaic standpoint, and will instead tailor his or her mock investigation of your background and funds to suit your unique financial situation, and the record keeping procedures of your country of origin.