Here are the answers to a few of the most frequently asked EB-5 questions.
1.What is the minimum investment amount for an EB-5 visa?
The EB-5 Program requires an applicant to make a capital investment of $900,000 in a project located in a targeted employment area or $1,800,000 in a non-targeted employment area. A targeted employment area (TEA) is a rural or high-unemployment area. Both direct investment projects and regional center projects can be located in TEAs or non-TEAs, but regional center’s more often than not work with projects located in TEAs.
2.Will my EB-5 investment capital be returned?
An EB-5 investor’s capital must be maintained at-risk during their two-year conditional permanent residency, but is likely to be tied up for five years or longer. Depending on the exit procedures laid out in the regional center’s paperwork, an EB-5 investor’s capital may be returned partially or in full. It’s important to select a viable EB-5 project to invest in, as an EB-5 investor’s money is not only at risk, but their family’s future—if a project does not fulfill the EB-5 requirements they will not receive lawful permanent residency.
3. Can I make a safe EB-5 investment?
The EB-5 Program requires all capital investments to be “at-risk” investments, but by conducting thorough due diligence and assembling a strong team, an EB-5 investor may be able to minimize risk. While past histories of success do not guarantee future outcomes, when it comes to EB-5 regional centers and developers, it may show a strong amount of experience and knowledge.
4.Can my funds for an EB-5 investment come from a loan?
EB-5 applicants may use a loan for their investment. The loan can be secured using the EB-5 applicant’s assets as collateral. USCIS will want proof that the funds used to buy the assets that are being used as collateral came from lawful sources.
5.What is the visa availability approach and does it affect me?
The visa availability approach was recently implemented by USCIS. The Immigrant Investor Program Office (IPO), where EB-5 petitions are adjudicated, used to state that they used a first-in, first-out approach to processing EB-5 petitions, but in March of 2020, they changed over to a visa availability approach. The visa availability approach prioritizes applicants from countries without visa-backlogs. This new approach affects EB-5 investors from Mainland China who are suffering from long visa-backlogs and have been waiting years for their I-526 petition to be processed. Applicants from all other countries, and who have visas immediately available, would have their petitions prioritized at IPO under this new approach. Processing times can be seen here. Historical processing times can be seen here.