[dropcap]The[/dropcap] EB-5 Program is a popular way for foreign nationals to emigrate to the U.S., but is EB-5 the right option for you? Foreign nationals who wish to obtain green cards for themselves, their spouses, and their unmarried children under the age of 21 years, and who have $500,000 to invest in a project in the U.S. can benefit from the many advantages of the EB-5 Program.
RELATED READING: What are the benefits of the EB-5 Program?
Here are 5 questions potential EB-5 investors should ask themselves before committing to the EB-5 Program:
1. Do you have the patience and due diligence skills to go through the EB-5 process? The EB-5 Program can be a long and complex process depending on an investor’s country of origin. If an investor is from a country that is in retrogression such as Mainland China or Vietnam, the wait times can be upwards of 8 years in some cases. Many investors, however, are still applying, despite the backlog, because they see the future benefits their family can obtain through the EB-5 Program outweigh the long wait times. In addition to being patient and focusing on the future, investors must also be either willing to conduct their own thorough due diligence on the program, or they must hire someone they trust to conduct due diligence. It can take an investor several months to research the program, find a project they feel comfortable investing in, find a regional center they like, build a team of professionals, and assemble the documentation necessary to file their petitions. 2. Is your business plan viable? An EB-5 investor must submit a business plan to USCIS for approval. USCIS reviews business plans to determine their potential viability and success. In a regional center project, the regional center’s team will create a credible and detailed business to submit, but in a direct investment, an EB-5 investor may have to hire their own team of professionals to draft a business plan. These business plans must be complaint with EB-5 Program requirements. 3. Will the business be located in a TEA? What is a targeted employment area (TEA)? A TEA is an area that is rural or has a high unemployment rate. TEAs are important to EB-5 investors because projects located in them can have the advantage of qualifying for lower minimum investment requirement of $500,000. An investor who chooses a project located outside of a TEA must invest the full capital amount of $1,000,000. While, on the surface, a TEA sounds like a challenge due to location limits, many investors would be surprised to find out that parts of New York City can and has qualified for TEA status. This is due to how location tracts are combined. Conducting due diligence into TEA designation can help cut an EB-5 investor’s required minimum investment in half. 4. Does the regional center you like handle the specific industry you’re knowledgeable of? Another factor to consider when conducting due diligence on regional centers is to find out what industries they’re approved to sponsor projects in. Regional centers are approved by USCIS for specific industry sectors. You may want to work with a particular regional center, but you many not feel comfortable investing in any of their projects because they’re in unfamiliar industries. A Regional Center approved for projects in the hotel industry may not be approved for projects in the agricultural industry. 5. Will the project be able to prove that it has created/will create the requisite number of jobs? Proving job creation is the key to fulfilling the EB-5 Program requirements. In order to gain approval for the I-826 Petition to remove conditions on their green card, each EB-5 investor must provide evidence that they sustained their capital investment in their project and that the project created 10 full-time jobs for qualified workers for each EB-5 investor. To minimize the risk of coming up short on the job creation requirements, an EB-5 investor will want to review their project’s business plan and job creation methodology early on. What types of jobs with the new commercial enterprise create? Will there be strong evidence to present to USCIS? Will there be a job creation buffer to ensure that all EB-5 investors are credited with job creation?
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