1 What makes this program unique from other US visa programs?

The US EB-5 Immigrant Investor program is one of the fastest ways for foreigners to obtain a US visa. An investor is able to obtain US permanent resident status for himself and his family within 15 months. The program also offers flexibility to a foreign investor who may not be interested in obtaining US permanent residence status for himself but is interested in the program just for his children who are planning to study in the US.

2 Must I be prequalified in any way to apply for this program?

The investor is not required to have any prior qualifications such as business experience, education level or English language ability. The only key requirement for the investor is that he or she has the required net worth and capital, prove that the funds are legal through proper documentation, and pass a security and medical check.

3Who should be the Principal Applicant (Wife or Husband)?

The principal applicant should be someone who can reside in the US longer. In some markets like Korea, for example, it is mostly the wife who applies as a principal applicant.

4If the Wife is the Principal Applicant, should the Husband also apply as an accompanying family member?

If the Husband intends to continue working in his home country and will not be residing in the US, the Husband should consider applying as a follow-to-join at a later date or should not apply for green card at all for the following reasons:

  • Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act issue: The husband will have no tax obligation to IRS.
  • Re-entry Permit issue: A green card holder who does not reside in the US will have to either visit the US every 6 months or apply for a re-entry permit. So the husband needs to consider these issues as to how he wants to maintain his permanent residency in the US when he decides on this matter.
5If the Husband does not apply for his green card with the Wife, who is a Principal Applicant, what are his options to obtain green card at a later date?
  • The husband could apply for his conditional green card as long as the principal applicant has not applied for the permanent green card. (The principal applicant has to apply for her permanent green card between 21 months and 24 months after obtaining a conditional green card)
  • Once the wife obtains the permanent green card, the husband can no longer follow-to-join and will have to apply as a spouse of a permanent resident, which is currently taking approximately 2 years.
6 If the EB-5 client has resided in a third country for more than 1 year since reaching the age of 16, the client has to obtain a police certificate from that particular country.

The police certificate is needed during consular processing after I-526 approval. However, it could be time consuming and difficult to obtain police certificates from some countries such as China, so the client should be informed in advance.

7 What are the US Tax Issues? (For Example, Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, etc.)

Although we do not provide consulting services for tax related matters, we advise EB-5 clients to consult with US tax specialists before obtaining green cards.

If you have a US green card, you are a lawful permanent resident of the US even if you live abroad. This means you are treated as a US resident for US income tax purposes, unless:

  • your permanent resident status has been revoked or abandoned
  • your gross income from worldwide sources is less than the amount that require a tax return to be filed, or
  • there is a bilateral tax treaty between your country of origin or residence and the US which addresses your tax status. Under these treaties, residents of foreign countries are taxed at a reduced rate, or are exempted from US income taxes on certain items of income. These reduced rates and exemptions vary among countries and specific items of income. Within SE Asia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are among the several countries which have negotiated a bilateral tax treaty with the US
8If the EB-5 client or any family members intend to reside outside of the US for more than a year without entering the US, what should he or she do?

He/she should consider applying for a re-entry permit, which allows a permanent resident to reside outside of the US for 2 years without entering the US

However, in order to apply for re-entry permit, the following conditions have to be met.

  • Re-entry permit application has to be received by USCIS while the permanent resident is in the US or any of US territories including Guam.
  • Once a re-entry permit application is submitted with USCIS, the USCIS will send a biometric notice to an applicant within a month, and an applicant has to be in the US for biometric.
9What are the risks of this investment?

Although the EB5 program is a federal government program, the US government does not provide any guarantees to investors in the event there is a default by the project developers in terms of the number of jobs created or payment back to the investors.

This is where the projects we offer have distinguished themselves significantly from other EB5 regional centers, and why our partners, CanAm Enterprises, have the best track record within the EB5 program. All their projects have similar characteristics:

  • No investments are made in start-ups. All project borrowers are established companies seeking funds for expansion projects.
  • The investment is structured as a loan, not as equity into the project. This means that:
    • Borrowers have to provide collateral in return for receiving the loan
    • Investors have 1st or shared 1st lien as borrowers
  • Investor transfers funds to a bank escrow account first. Investment is only released when investor’s visa application is approved by USCIS.
  • Investment is managed by a team of professionals who have over 25 years’ experience in immigration investment project management.
  • Independent Party monitors the project and gives regular progress and financial reports.

It is for these and other reasons that our track since 2004 has been unsurpassed!

10How do I comply with net worth requirements of US$500,000 required by USCIS regulations?

The net worth can be established from any legal source. Earnings from a business or real estate, sale of property, gifts, inheritance, stocks and bonds, the value of real estate including the family home, the value of the stock owned in the family business.

11How long is the processing time for the I-526 petition and the conditional green card?

Based on current schedule by USCIS, the average processing time is about 15 months from the time the investor submits his or her I-526 petition to the time the US consular interview is completed.

12Once I receive my conditional green card, when do I apply for my permanent green card?

The conditional green card has an expiration date of two years from the date issued. Investors can submit their I-829 petition as early as three months prior to the expiration date. The Regional Center will supply all supporting evidence regarding the limited partnership, capital investment and newly created jobs.

13What is the difference between "conditional" and "unconditional" permanent residency?

Under the regulations, an investor who is approved for the EB-5 immigrant visa receives "conditional" permanent residency, which is valid for a two year period. An "unconditional" permanent residency status is issued once USCIS receives documentary evidence just prior to the expiry of the conditional permanent residency that the investor has created 10 jobs through their investment in the project. Once unconditional permanent residency status is issued, the investor will no longer have to provide any further documentary evidence whatsoever when they need to renew their permanent residency status every 10 years. The renewal process of an unconditional permanent residency status is similar to renewing a passport. Outside of these differences, conditional and unconditional permanent residency status offers the same rights and privileges.

14How long must I remain in the United States each year?

You need to enter the US within 180 days of receiving your visa at the United States overseas consulate office. The investor must then establish residency in the United States. Evidence of intent to reside includes opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver's license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, renting or buying a home. The United States resident may work overseas if required based upon the nature of the business or profession. For those permanent residents living outside the US, we suggest the investor and family re-enter the US no less than once every six months. The longer the investor and family are present in the US, the less likely the government is to claim that the investor "abandoned" the United States as a permanent residence, thereby endangering his green card status. In some cases, investors may apply for a "re-entry permit" which allows the investor permission to remain outside the US for as long as two years without having to re-enter the country to maintain permanent resident status.

15How can I be a US citizen?

There are two ways to become a US citizen. One is by being born in the US or being born to a US citizen. The other way is by naturalization. The first step in becoming a US citizen through naturalization is to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). Being an LPR for 5 years is one of the basic requirements for qualifying the naturalization. A second requirement is being physically present in the US for 30 months, during the 5 years prior to the naturalization application. Once becoming a US citizen, an individual is entitled to benefits including the right to vote and hold public office.