The EB-5 program offers foreign nationals the opportunity to gain permanent residence in the US for themselves and their families in exchange for investment into a New Commercial Enterprise in America. With a minimum investment of $900,000 (provided that they invest with a regional center or targeted employment area) and a requirement to prove that all funds are lawfully sourced, potential EB-5 investors might be wondering how they can fund their EB-5 investment and ensure they are compliant with USCIS regulations.
Here are five common methods used by EB-5 investors to fund their investment.
EARNINGS FROM EMPLOYMENT
One of the most common sources of funds for EB-5 investors is their employment earnings. Often EB-5 investors are high earners whose income is high enough that saving up for an EB-5 investment is feasible for them. These investors may need to provide USCIS several years of tax returns documenting their earnings to prove the funds are lawfully sourced. They may also need to include pay-stubs and a letter from their employer verifying their position and salary.
SALE OF PROPERTY
Another common source of funds for EB-5 investors is proceeds from the sale of property. This will require the investor to provide documentation of the purchase and sale agreement, as well as bank statements evidencing the transfer of funds from the buyer to your account. However, investors should take note that using funds from the sale of property to fund an EB-5 investment will also require that you provide evidence that the property was initially purchased with legally obtained funds. This can be difficult for some investors as there may have been several years between their initial purchase of the property and its sale to fund their EB-5 investment. If you are not able to provide evidence that the property was purchased with lawfully sourced funds, you’ll need to provide a detailed explanation of why the documentation is not available.
Gifting funds from one person to another is another common source of EB-5 investment capital. For example, a parent might give their child the funds for an EB-5 investment. Using a gift as a source of funds will require a signed declaration from the party gifting the funds which indicates that there is no expectation for the beneficiary to repay the gift. It’s also important that the gift funds were lawfully sourced. You’ll need to provide USCIS with documentation of how the gifting party sourced the funds for the gift, as well as detailed information on their background.
EB-5 investors do have the option to use loans from either an institutional lender or an individual as a source of funds for their EB-5 investment. The full amount of the loan should be secured by an investor’s personal assets. Although recent court rulings may result in a change of USCIS policy and the acceptance of unsecured loans, the safest option to ensure approval for an EB-5 visa when using a loan as a source of funds is to have that loan secured by personal assets. If your loan has been sourced by an individual rather than an institution you will need to provide documentation on how the funds for the loan were acquired and that they were also legally sourced.
While funds obtained from an inheritance are a common source of funds for EB-5 investors they do present some difficulties. Using inheritance as a source of funds requires the EB-5 investor to provide proof of their relation to the deceased and of their right to the inheritance (such as a copy of the will). However, they will also need to provide evidence that the deceased’s funds were legally obtained. This can be difficult as there may have been several years between an investor receiving an inheritance and beginning the EB-5 process. In the event that direct evidence is unavailable investors will need to provide affidavits from reliable sources detailing how the funds were originally obtained.
While these are not all of the options available to source your EB-5 investment they are some of the most common. Potential investors should also keep in mind that not all of their funds need to come from a single source. For example, one could have saved $500,000 for their EB-5 investment and sourced the other $400,000 to meet the investment requirements from a loan by a family member.
Remember, you should always consult with an experienced immigration attorney to assist with your EB-5 application. Providing proper documentation for the source of funds can be a very complex process, and the expertise and knowledge an attorney can provide will ensure that you avoid any mistakes that could prevent your application from being approved.