What I have found about the EB-5 program

#1
Hi everyone, I am new to the forum.


I am currently in the research stage and I am going to share what I have found so far.


1. The whole process of the EB-5 visa seems quite complicated. Some of the information I have found on the internet is sometimes plainly contradictory, what makes me think that most of the lawyers that post online have no or little experience on the matter. Sure, this seems like little problem if they have lots of time to do their research however, usually, clients are quite in a hurry and in some cases desperate.

So, people should be very careful when selecting a lawyer to work with them and should evacuate al doubts before signing any contracts with them.


2. Just to make it clear to everyone, there are to big ways to get an EB-5 visa:



1) You can go on your own and invest between $500.000 to $1.000.000 (more of this later) and create at least 10 full time jobs in a 2 year period.


2) You can invest through a Regional Center between $500.000 to $1.000.000 (more of this later) and create at least 10 full time jobs, however, you can count indirect jobs if you direct your investment through a Regional Center. (more later)



* How can you invest 500k instead of 1 million? Well, the only way to do this is if your business is "mainly doing business" in Targeted Employment Area or TEA. There might be a TEA when either of the following is true:


a) The business is in a rural area, or:


b) The business is located in an area that has experienced an average 150% unemployment rate with respect to the national average.



Keep in mind that States define TEAs, and not all of them do. (I think that you can pay a specialist such as an economist to try to convince USCIS that your project is located in a TEA, I am not sure though)



So, in a few words, those are the two options you have as an EB-5 investor. But, as British people say, the devil is in the details, and in this case he or it actually is. If you just read the stated above you might think it is an easy way to get a visa provided you have the money. Well, it is not, in most cases.


Let me explain both scenarios.


First, the direct investment as some call it.


In this scenario you have to invest 500k and create 10 jobs, period.

You can't count indirect jobs, period.

(Unless you partner with an already established Regional Center and pay their administrative fee) In this case, they have to show that your investment will create indirect jobs, however, you can only invest in one of the industries they were approved to do business on.


This option would seem more appropriate for someone with some business background.


The hard part: finding a suitable business idea that would create 10 jobs in a two year period.



Second, the Regional Center option.


This option seems more appropriate for someone that wants someone else to manage their money. Somewhere else I've read that it is like lending your bank your money for a very low rate, pretty much as having your money in a savings account for two years.



Regional Centers differ in many aspects. Some are trustable, some are not. Do your due diligence on the matter and don't invest if you don't believe the fundamentals of the business proposal you are presented with seems too good to be true.


The good part of Regional Centers or RCs is that they sometimes manage to pool many investors into a very interesting project and they are allowed to count indirect job creation.

The bad part is that some are really sketchy and they make baseless promises to potential investors. (No one can promise you will get your EB-5 and no one can promise you will get your l-526 approved in a specific amount of time, simply because USCIS has its own website to check how long it takes them to process, in average, the petitions)


Now, a very misunderstood point: You can only invest 500k instead of 1 million on a Regional Center only if it is either located in a Rural Area or in an area that has experienced 150% of the average USA unemployment rate at the time you present the l-526 form. What I mean is if, for example, you start enquiring about a project on January and December comes by and you only then decide to make the investment, then you should double check the unemployment rate or the Rural Area status of the area where the Regional Center is located. In this case, if the unemployment rate has fallen below the 150% of the national average, you will most probably find some trouble proving that you should be allowed to invest just 500k (I'm not saying it is impossible though)


Long story short, you can ONLY invest 500k instead of 1 million IF your project, whether a Regional Center or a Direct Investment, is located in either a Rural Area OR in a place that has experienced a 150% unemployment rate related to the national unemployment rate.


What I have read is that Rural Areas rarely change, but unemployment rates tend to change, so double check.


About the jobs and their nature:


The jobs you create directly MUST be of a certain nature that they are expected to last for at least two years. (if you buy a piece of land and build a commercial center and want to count those jobs towards your visa, you should demonstrate that they are going to last for at least 2 years, if construction is finished before that, those job positions won't count towards your case)


My guess is that a business that involves 50 employees that pick kiwis for two months every year won't work either.


Jobs that are part time are not counted either. But, you can count jobs for which employees have a "job sharing agreement", that is to say, two people share the same position on different times.



And finally, full time jobs as defined by USCIS are those that involve at least 35 weekly hours.





Now, the details about unemployment and TEAs.


1) Can you create a TEA?

Some States will even help you create a TEA at a census tract level. This means that the size of the area you want to label as a TEA doesn't have to be a city, it can be as big as just a couple of blocks. Fact-finder is a web page lets you find the census tracts if you can get the ones with high unemployment.


2) How do I certify that a TEA is a TEA?

Well, some States have officials dedicated to this task and some don't. In those that do have the service, the office should provide you with one. In those places where there isn't one, you might "create" one by using solid economic methodologies.


3) I would suggest that if the data you have is very old, and a new data set is due to be released son, you should wait to be a bit more certain you won't have trouble with this.





The rule USCIS uses to make determinations:


From what I have been able to find there are two important things.


1) If you present a business plan, you should deliver one that is, above all other things, credible.


2) You don't seem to have to prove that something is true. The burden of proof seems to be to demonstrate or provide evidence that something "is more likely than not" to happen, which is sensibly different than certifying that something is or will be true.



The origin of funds:


This is a crucial part of the matter. Some aspects to keep in mind:


All funds invested (including the administrative fees) should be traceable and of legal origin.

e.g. 1. If your dad used to sell drugs and gifted you with some of the money he earned, you won't qualify.

e.g. 2. If you can demonstrate that your dad worked hard in a legal business and gifted you with 500k and paid for any gift taxes, and you want to invest in a RC with an administrative fee of 40k and you didn't provide evidence that those funds were of legal origin, you might receive a Request For Evidence or RFE to provide documents about the origin of that money.


Otherwise all legal and traceable funds for which taxes have been paid, should qualify.


The rule seems to be to provide evidence that the origin of funds is more likely than not of legal origin and that taxes in your home country or where due have been paid.



Well, of course there is much left out of this post. I am on the discovery journey only and still have many doubts. I hope this works for people like me that are looking for information.


If you have any questions you think I can help you with, don't hesitate to send a message.


And if you have a good business idea or are looking to invest in a Direct Investment and looking for another partner in the same stage, please get in touch.


Finally, I want to make clear that I am not a lawyer or in any ways related to an EB-5 company or RC, all what I have written above is the result of my own investigations for my own case and it doesn't represent any kind of advice. Please, talk to your lawyer or trusted advisor before making any decisions.


Thank You!
 
#2
I own and operate 2 gas stations in Probable TEA. I also own the properties. I bought one in 2012 for a little over a million $$. My down payment here was 20%, about 200k. I bought another property (also a gas station) last year, for 750 K for which my downpayment was also 20% about 150k. I have other investments in the business such as closing cost for the properties and inventory worth more than 150k. That brings my investment over 500k. Even though my total investment (including the bank loans) would be well over 2mil.
I was on an H1 visa since 2003-2007. Got my ead in 2007 and have been into business since then.
Since i am from india, my priority date has been laging way far behind then the rest of the world. I have been thinking about converting into eb5 since a couple of years now.
I have a couple of questions.
1. Do multiple business with smaller investments count?
2. How can i find out if my businesses are in the TEA?
3. Would the bank loans count towards my investment or just my down payment (this is just incase if my gas stations do not qualify for being in TEA)

Any insight would be highly appreciated.
 
#3
Hi there. Remember I am not a lawyer and this is no advice of any kind. I'm on my own journey yo an eb5.

2. I think it depends on where you live. In some states such as Florida,
ht
tp://lmsresou
rces.labormark
etinfo.co
m/
library/targeted_employment_
areas_2014.pdf

If somewhere else, some states have a specialized office that does this.
Another option is to provide additional information, a company that does this is:
ht
tp://w
ww
.impactdatasourc
e.c
om


3. I don't know about loans. I think it is ok as long as they are backed by your personal property. (not really sure)

1. I am positively sure you can invest in multiple business so as long they are wholly owned by you or your company.

A good starting point is to search for the EB 5 policy memorandum.

is a link to one:
htt
p://
ww
w.uscis.gov/sites/
default/files/USCIS/Laws/Memoranda/
2013/May/EB-5%20Adjudications%20PM%20
(Approved%20as%20final%205-30-
13).pdf


However I think there is a more recent version. But don't know where to find it.

Please note that there will be no better advice than a lawyer's specialized in EB5 visas. Being the case that you have so much in stake, spending 400 or so for an hour of good advice doesn't seem so much to me.

As a piece of advice, if you go to a lawyer, try to get someone that specializes on this type of visa and preferably to somewhere where they only do that, believe me, it will be much better for them to understand your situation.

If it is ok with you, could you tell me a bit about the visa you are in? how did you get the H1-b for yourself? was it easy?

Please let me know if there is anything else I could help you with.

Regards,

Andresovich
 

mmmag

New Member
#4
Hi everyone, I am new to the forum. Andresovich- I am new exploring the EB5 way to get green card. Can you please share your experiences the business way or the regional centre?

Thanks
Mansi


I am currently in the research stage and I am going to share what I have found so far.


1. The whole process of the EB-5 visa seems quite complicated. Some of the information I have found on the internet is sometimes plainly contradictory, what makes me think that most of the lawyers that post online have no or little experience on the matter. Sure, this seems like little problem if they have lots of time to do their research however, usually, clients are quite in a hurry and in some cases desperate.

So, people should be very careful when selecting a lawyer to work with them and should evacuate al doubts before signing any contracts with them.


2. Just to make it clear to everyone, there are to big ways to get an EB-5 visa:



1) You can go on your own and invest between $500.000 to $1.000.000 (more of this later) and create at least 10 full time jobs in a 2 year period.


2) You can invest through a Regional Center between $500.000 to $1.000.000 (more of this later) and create at least 10 full time jobs, however, you can count indirect jobs if you direct your investment through a Regional Center. (more later)



* How can you invest 500k instead of 1 million? Well, the only way to do this is if your business is "mainly doing business" in Targeted Employment Area or TEA. There might be a TEA when either of the following is true:


a) The business is in a rural area, or:


b) The business is located in an area that has experienced an average 150% unemployment rate with respect to the national average.



Keep in mind that States define TEAs, and not all of them do. (I think that you can pay a specialist such as an economist to try to convince USCIS that your project is located in a TEA, I am not sure though)



So, in a few words, those are the two options you have as an EB-5 investor. But, as British people say, the devil is in the details, and in this case he or it actually is. If you just read the stated above you might think it is an easy way to get a visa provided you have the money. Well, it is not, in most cases.


Let me explain both scenarios.


First, the direct investment as some call it.


In this scenario you have to invest 500k and create 10 jobs, period.

You can't count indirect jobs, period.

(Unless you partner with an already established Regional Center and pay their administrative fee) In this case, they have to show that your investment will create indirect jobs, however, you can only invest in one of the industries they were approved to do business on.


This option would seem more appropriate for someone with some business background.


The hard part: finding a suitable business idea that would create 10 jobs in a two year period.



Second, the Regional Center option.


This option seems more appropriate for someone that wants someone else to manage their money. Somewhere else I've read that it is like lending your bank your money for a very low rate, pretty much as having your money in a savings account for two years.



Regional Centers differ in many aspects. Some are trustable, some are not. Do your due diligence on the matter and don't invest if you don't believe the fundamentals of the business proposal you are presented with seems too good to be true.


The good part of Regional Centers or RCs is that they sometimes manage to pool many investors into a very interesting project and they are allowed to count indirect job creation.

The bad part is that some are really sketchy and they make baseless promises to potential investors. (No one can promise you will get your EB-5 and no one can promise you will get your l-526 approved in a specific amount of time, simply because USCIS has its own website to check how long it takes them to process, in average, the petitions)


Now, a very misunderstood point: You can only invest 500k instead of 1 million on a Regional Center only if it is either located in a Rural Area or in an area that has experienced 150% of the average USA unemployment rate at the time you present the l-526 form. What I mean is if, for example, you start enquiring about a project on January and December comes by and you only then decide to make the investment, then you should double check the unemployment rate or the Rural Area status of the area where the Regional Center is located. In this case, if the unemployment rate has fallen below the 150% of the national average, you will most probably find some trouble proving that you should be allowed to invest just 500k (I'm not saying it is impossible though)


Long story short, you can ONLY invest 500k instead of 1 million IF your project, whether a Regional Center or a Direct Investment, is located in either a Rural Area OR in a place that has experienced a 150% unemployment rate related to the national unemployment rate.


What I have read is that Rural Areas rarely change, but unemployment rates tend to change, so double check.


About the jobs and their nature:


The jobs you create directly MUST be of a certain nature that they are expected to last for at least two years. (if you buy a piece of land and build a commercial center and want to count those jobs towards your visa, you should demonstrate that they are going to last for at least 2 years, if construction is finished before that, those job positions won't count towards your case)


My guess is that a business that involves 50 employees that pick kiwis for two months every year won't work either.


Jobs that are part time are not counted either. But, you can count jobs for which employees have a "job sharing agreement", that is to say, two people share the same position on different times.



And finally, full time jobs as defined by USCIS are those that involve at least 35 weekly hours.





Now, the details about unemployment and TEAs.


1) Can you create a TEA?

Some States will even help you create a TEA at a census tract level. This means that the size of the area you want to label as a TEA doesn't have to be a city, it can be as big as just a couple of blocks. Fact-finder is a web page lets you find the census tracts if you can get the ones with high unemployment.


2) How do I certify that a TEA is a TEA?

Well, some States have officials dedicated to this task and some don't. In those that do have the service, the office should provide you with one. In those places where there isn't one, you might "create" one by using solid economic methodologies.


3) I would suggest that if the data you have is very old, and a new data set is due to be released son, you should wait to be a bit more certain you won't have trouble with this.





The rule USCIS uses to make determinations:


From what I have been able to find there are two important things.


1) If you present a business plan, you should deliver one that is, above all other things, credible.


2) You don't seem to have to prove that something is true. The burden of proof seems to be to demonstrate or provide evidence that something "is more likely than not" to happen, which is sensibly different than certifying that something is or will be true.



The origin of funds:


This is a crucial part of the matter. Some aspects to keep in mind:


All funds invested (including the administrative fees) should be traceable and of legal origin.

e.g. 1. If your dad used to sell drugs and gifted you with some of the money he earned, you won't qualify.

e.g. 2. If you can demonstrate that your dad worked hard in a legal business and gifted you with 500k and paid for any gift taxes, and you want to invest in a RC with an administrative fee of 40k and you didn't provide evidence that those funds were of legal origin, you might receive a Request For Evidence or RFE to provide documents about the origin of that money.


Otherwise all legal and traceable funds for which taxes have been paid, should qualify.


The rule seems to be to provide evidence that the origin of funds is more likely than not of legal origin and that taxes in your home country or where due have been paid.



Well, of course there is much left out of this post. I am on the discovery journey only and still have many doubts. I hope this works for people like me that are looking for information.


If you have any questions you think I can help you with, don't hesitate to send a message.


And if you have a good business idea or are looking to invest in a Direct Investment and looking for another partner in the same stage, please get in touch.


Finally, I want to make clear that I am not a lawyer or in any ways related to an EB-5 company or RC, all what I have written above is the result of my own investigations for my own case and it doesn't represent any kind of advice. Please, talk to your lawyer or trusted advisor before making any decisions.


Thank You!
 

mmmag

New Member
#5
I own and operate 2 gas stations in Probable TEA. I also own the properties. I bought one in 2012 for a little over a million $$. My down payment here was 20%, about 200k. I bought another property (also a gas station) last year, for 750 K for which my downpayment was also 20% about 150k. I have other investments in the business such as closing cost for the properties and inventory worth more than 150k. That brings my investment over 500k. Even though my total investment (including the bank loans) would be well over 2mil.
I was on an H1 visa since 2003-2007. Got my ead in 2007 and have been into business since then.
Since i am from india, my priority date has been laging way far behind then the rest of the world. I have been thinking about converting into eb5 since a couple of years now.
I have a couple of questions.
1. Do multiple business with smaller investments count?
2. How can i find out if my businesses are in the TEA?
3. Would the bank loans count towards my investment or just my down payment (this is just incase if my gas stations do not qualify for being in TEA)

Any insight would be highly appreciated.
Amin_- Did you explore if we can get the EB5 through multile business like gas stations, liquor stores or dollar stores?
 
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