NYCRERC - New York City Real Estate Regional Center

Frequently Asked Questions

Why choose the EB-5 Investor Visa Program?

The EB-5 Investor Visa (“EB-5 Program”) program presents outstanding opportunities for many overseas investors to become permanent residents of the United States. Choosing to invest in an EB-5 Visas program allows foreign investors, their spouse and children (under the age of 21) to obtain conditional green cards so that they can attend school, legally work in the United States if they so choose or simply enjoy retirement while living anywhere in the United States. All of this while creating jobs, promoting economic growth and improving productivity within the geographic region.

When did the EB-5 program first start?

The EB-5 Program was created by the Immigration Act of 1990, the EB-5 Program provides a method for eligible Immigrant Investors to become lawful permanent residents (informally known as "green card" holders) of the United States. The law is intended to benefit the U.S. economy by generating new economic activity and increasing employment in targeted areas.

What is a Regional Center?

USCIS has authorized the creation of a number of “regional centers”. Where an investor invests in one of these approved regional centers, a $500,000 investment will satisfy the threshold amount. In addition, the investor will now not need to prove the direct creation of jobs for 10 U.S. citizens, but will instead benefit from an econometric process that aggregates investments in that regional center for purposes of determining the necessary number of newly created jobs. Congress allocates 10,000 immigrant visas annually for the EB-5 category. At least 3,000 of these visas are set aside each year for those who utilize a designated Regional Center or TEA status.

An important advantage to investing in a project with Regional Center designation is the “indirect” o nature of the job creation, which is less difficult to achieve than the “direct” creation of 10 new jobs. The requirement of creating at least 10 new full-time jobs can be satisfied by showing that as a result of the investment and the activities of the new enterprise at least 10 jobs will be created indirectly in the region through an employment creation multiplier effect. These jobs do not have to be directly related to the project and can now include certain construction jobs during the construction phases of the project. Jobs can also be counted that were created by the investment and located in the region. Forecasting tools which support the likelihood that the business will result in increased employment may be utilized.

How much money is needed for an EB-5 investment?

The investment threshold within a non-TEA (targeted employment area) is $1 million. However, investments within a TEA, or investments in a qualified regional center, require a $500,000 investment.

What is a TEA?

A targeted employment area is an area that has experienced unemployment at a rate of at least 150% of the national average. Each state is allowed to individually designate geographical areas within the state that qualify as a targeted employment area.

Must the entire amount be invested at once?

Yes. The whole amount of investor’s funds of half million US dollars have to be put in the escrow account before their I-526 petition can be filed.

What documentation ought to be supplied to prove that the investor’s funds came from a lawful source?

Depending upon how investors obtained their investment fund, they will be required to present individual and/or business tax returns, employment records, documentation regarding sale of a business, documentation regarding gifts or even inheritance, or documentation regarding securities or real estate transactions, etc.

Are there limitations regarding language barriers or restrictions on where I can live in the U.S.?

The EB-5 program does not discriminate against education, experience, and does not require a sponsor. There is no requirement to speak English and the EB-5 category also allows the family (including any children under 21 years old) to be part of the process. As an EB-5 Investor you are also free to reside anywhere in the United States that you choose.  

Must the investment result in the creation of employment for U.S. workers?

The investment must create full-time employment for at least 10 U.S. citizens or immigrants (permanent resident aliens and other specified immigrant categories). This can be calculated directly or via the econometric process described above.

How long does the project have to create the employment?

The requisite job creation must be completed within two years of the investor becoming a permanent resident.

Is the investor free to travel after acquiring conditional permanent resident status?

The investor is free to travel inside and outside of the USA subject to the guidelines generally relevant to permanent residents. Specifically, the investor must actually have a place of residence in the United States and must not be outside the United States for a continuous period of one year or more.

What will be my status with regards to the business in which I invest?

You will become a “limited partner” in this new business and will share in the profits of this company based on an agreed upon percentage of ownership. These investment funds must be invested into the operations of the business and the funds must be “at risk” with no form of guarantee. While this not a passive investment (such as purchasing shares of stock), you are also not required to participate in the day-to-day operations of the business either.

What types of investment capital can I use for my EB-5 investment?

1) Investment in the EB-5 Visa program can be made in the form of cash, cash equivalents, equipment, inventory or other tangible property.

2) Capital does not include loans made by the investor to the venture. However, the investor may borrow the investment money if it is secured by assets owned by the investor, provided the investor is personally liable for repayment of the loan.
3) The investor may receive a gift of funds, if all applicable taxes required by law have been paid.
4) When the investment is made into the respective project, the USCIS is notified. Prospective investors are eligible to invest the required amount alone or create a qualifying business with other foreign investors and/or with a U.S. citizen or other people not seeking classification as a foreign investor. In these cases, all persons seeking classification as a foreign investor must have invested the required amount of $500,000 or $1,000,000. However, each investor can use the same employees to reach the required 10 new positions. 5) Proof that the capital has been invested by the actual investor is required. The documentation should trace the capital from the investor directly to the investment. 6) The USCIS also requires that the investor provide documentation that proves the source of their investment funds was obtained legally. Proof of documentation is provided through previous tax returns and financial statements.

Can you guarantee that I can get $500K back?

USCIS requires EB-5 investment to be “at-risk” just like any other type of investment, so guaranteed return of capital is prohibited. Therefore, a regional center that guarantees the return of the investment capital risks disqualification by USCIS, and must be avoided. Although EB-5 investments must be at-risk, it does not have to be risky. Our EB-5 team will show you how risks can be mitigated.

If I choose to invest with a regional center project, how long do I have to wait before I get my $500,000 back?

It depends on the regional center and project, but usually between 5-7 years, with an average 1-3% return each year. However, there is and can be no guarantee of return on investments as the EB-5 program parameters require that all investments be “at risk”.

What are the remedies/options if my green card is denied?

In the unlikely event your I-526 petition is denied, we will refund our attorney fees and explore all avenues for an appeal of the decision. If an appeal is unsuccessful, we will request the regional center to refund your investment capital.

How many EB-5 cases have you filed?

We has successfully represented dozens of EB-5 clients in obtaining U.S. permanent residency and has maintained 100% success rate in filing I-526 petition to date.

Once I become a U.S. permanent resident (green card holder), do I have to pay tax on my global income?

Yes. However, we can recommend other options and refer you to international tax experts who can provide global assets management and tax advice.

How long do I have to stay in the U.S to ensure that my permanent resident status (green card) will remain valid?

-We advise you to enter the U.S. with your green card for at least once a year, and stay at least 1-2 weeks each time

In an effort to dissuade fraud, the EB-5 Visa foreign investor, their spouse and any dependent children are subject to a Conditional Permanent Residence status for a two-year probationary period. The EB-5 primary applicant is required to file a petition to remove these probationary conditions during the last 90-days of this two-year term (prior to the second anniversary of the investor’s official admission as a permanent resident). Upon the conclusion of the two-year period, the USCIS will then examine the business investment to determine whether or not the investor has complied with all necessary requirements.

What kind of documentation will I have to provide for my application?

Submission of the foreign investor application to the USCIS is required to include the following:

1) Verification that a new commercial enterprise has been established, such as a business license, articles of incorporation and/or evidence of transfer of initial capital investment required to purchase or invest in an existing business

2) Verification that the necessary amount of capital has been placed at risk through bank statements validating deposit of funds into the business account, purchase of business equipment, transfer of property or evidence of funds transferred to the business account in exchange for shares of stock

3) Proof that the capital invested was legally gained, such as foreign business registrations, tax returns or certified copies of civil or criminal judgments

4) Proof that the foreign investment created the necessary 10 full-time employment positions, through tax returns, Forms 1-9 or if employees have yet to be hired a detailed business plan which demonstrates that the business will require a minimum of 10 new full-time employees within two years. If the investment is made in an existing business experiencing financial difficulty, the foreign applicant must submit proof that current employment positions will be secure for at least two years.

Can my kids go to public school when they are in conditional LPR status?

Yes, investor and their families enjoy the benefits of public schools and resident tuition at State universities once the conditional green card is issued.

What will be my family’s status during the application process?

Spouses of the investor are permitted to accompany or follow the investor who has been granted their Conditional Permanent Residence. This is provided that the investor and their spouse who is deemed a derivative beneficiary were married at the time the investor’s original admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident or at the end of the two-year conditional period when citizenship status will adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident. It should be noted that Common Law marriages will not be recognized for the purpose of permitting a spouse to qualify as a derivative beneficiary. A relationship considered to be Common Law, will not permit the ‘spouse’ of the investor to acquire Lawful Permanent Residence on account of the status of the relationship.

Children and/or Step-Children of the investor are permitted to accompany or follow the investor who has been their Conditional Permanent Residence. This is provided that the investor can establish legitimate parent or step-parent lineage at the time of the investor’s original admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident or at the end of the two-year conditional period when citizenship status will adjust to Lawful Permanent Resident. Failure to comply with these requirements upon the initial application process may result in the separation of a child from the investor or the investor’s spouse for an extended length of time and in some cases years at a time, while alternate immigration opportunities are explored in effort to reunite the family. The US Government considers a ‘child’ as someone who is under the age of 21 and who not married. If a child of the investor reaches the age of 21 or marries prior to admission to the US under the Conditional Permanent Residence or prior to the conclusion of the two-year conditional period when citizenship status will adjust to Lawful Permanent Residence, the former child, now considered a son or daughter, may not be eligible to accompany or follow the investor to the US. In some instances, the Child Status Protection Act may assist a son or daughter to qualify as a ‘child’ by reducing their age to less than 21 years. If the requirements of the Child Status Protection Act are not met, it may result in the separation of a child from the investor or the investor’s spouse for an extended length of time and in some cases years at a time, while alternate immigration opportunities are explored in effort to reunite the family

In circumstances where a child who turns 21 years of age or who married while the investor is within the Conditional Permanent Resident time period and in cases where the spouse and the investor become divorced, the child or the spouse may be eligible to remove conditions by being included in the investor’s I-829 petition or by filing a separate I-829 petition. Meeting the US Government qualifying conditions may not be within the control of the child or divorced spouse. As a result, the child or divorced spouse may become involved in removal proceedings through the US courts or be required to depart the United States.

In the unfortunate case of death to the investor holding Conditional Permanent Resident status the spouse and qualifying holding the same status are entitled to seek removal conditions by submission of the same evidence which demonstrate compliance under the same required criteria in which the investor would seek to remove conditions. Failing to establish these criteria will result in the denial of application to remove conditions, place family members in removal proceedings through the US courts and mandate immediate departure from the U.S.

The USCIS does not clearly outline if a child who becomes a son or daughter before death of the investor is entitle to request removal conditions. If it is found that the USCIS does not extend this benefit, the son or daughter would be denied application to remove conditions and would be placed in removal proceedings through the US courts and be required to depart the United States.