Foreign Nationals Invest In (and Build) the United States with EB-5
Cleveland, June 5, 2014: People around the world with an American Dream ask, “What’s the best way to get a United States Green Card?”
Francis Fungsang knows. Immigration lawyer and partner at Margaret W. Wong & Associates, based in Cleveland, in charge of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Practice Group, and the Corporate Law Practice Group, Fungsang recently announced his client, a resident of China, completed the first step of the EB-5 Investor program.
“It’s easy to have an American Dream,” Fungsang said, “but investing in America with foreign funds can be difficult. And as if it weren’t restricted enough, unlike other visa programs, the EB-5 immigrant investor program only has 10,000 slots each year. But with the right planning, the immigrant investor has two huge incentives: first, it’s a relatively straightforward process; second, they can bring their spouses and children to the U.S.”
Our client started this process when he decided he wanted permanent residency in the United States – and perhaps even become a U.S. citizen in the future. He contacted our firm and asked us to plan his U.S. investment, and gather the necessary EB-5 immigrant investor paperwork.
The law firm first verified that he had sufficient funds, that those funds were obtained lawfully, and then explained the various investment options that qualify for the EB-5 program. “There is risk in any investment,” Fungsang said, “and if you lose your investment before you complete the process, then you also lose your eligibility for the Green Card. Selecting an appropriate investment is essential.”
Hotel construction is about as safe as you can get. Such a large project is usually organized or assisted by a Regional Center, which is a business or entity approved by the U.S. government to participate in the EB-5 program. To fund the project, the Regional Center aggregates monies from multiple investors, manages the investment project, and provides updates to the government. The Regional Center also tracks the number of U.S. workers hired as the result of the investment – the program requires the creation of at least 10 jobs per immigrant investor. Or, the individual can invest directly in a private business without going through a Regional Center.
“Only when we are certain that we can establish the availability and legal origin of the funds,” Fungsang said, “can we implement the investment. And then, only when the investment is verified in place with a Regional Center or private business, can we request from the government the client’s conditional Green Card.”
“Notice I said ‘conditional’ Green Card. That’s not the end of the process,” Fungsang cautioned. “There’s a two-year conditional residency period in which the investment funds are implemented and the U.S. workers are hired. Meticulous records have to be kept. At the end of the two-year period, we can file the I-829 petition to remove those conditions for the ‘permanent’ Green Card.”
“When we receive approval of the I-526,” said Fungsang, “we can file your I-485 or DS-260, and two years on, your I-829 – after which you get your permanent Green Card. By filing the I-526, our client is asserting to the United States government that he has invested $500,000 of his own funds into a U.S. business, with a plan to put Americans to work in that business.”
“There are many EB-5 solution providers out there, especially with the popularity of the program among immigrants seeking the American Dream,” Francis concluded. “Please make sure your provider has considerable experience in both immigration and finance. If that’s the case, your American Dream should be well on its way.”