Relocating permanently to the United States with your family through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 Program) is not a decision that should be made lightly—and it doesn’t come without some risks.
An experienced EB-5 visa attorney is essential to a foreign investor’s successful EB-5 application. The process can take many years and often involves several complex requirements and a few important but sometimes confusing applications.
An EB-5 immigration attorney can help ensure the necessary requirements are met and the paperwork is submitted in a timely manner, helping to avoid potential missteps that may set your application back months or even years.
This article will cover the role of an EB-5 immigration attorney, how to find the right EB-5 attorney for you, and what you can expect from them. If you are immigrating to the United States or seeking permanent residence and your Green Card, this article will be very useful.
What Is the Role of an EB-5 Attorney?
An experienced EB-5 attorney is an expert in immigration law. They have a thorough knowledge of the intricacies of the EB-5 program. This includes the first step of filing Form I-526E, Immigration Petition by Regional Center Investor, to the last step of filing I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status.
Once a foreign investor has chosen a qualifying new commercial enterprise (NCE) to invest in, an experienced EB5 attorney will play a crucial role in obtaining permanent resident status for the investor and their family.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 Program) was established by Congress in 1990 to promote economic growth in the United States through foreign investment that creates jobs for American workers. In return for their capital, the immigrant investor obtains permanent resident status for themselves and their dependents.
The EB-5 Program requires the immigrant investor to invest a minimum amount in an NCE. If the NCE is doing business in a rural or high unemployment targeted employment area (TEA), the minimum investment amount is $800,000. If located outside a TEA, the minimum is $1,050,000. The investment must create and sustain at least ten full-time positions for U.S. workers for a minimum of two years.
Most EB-5 investors choose NCEs sponsored by a regional center. Regional center sponsorship allows investors to use more flexible methods to calculate their job creation.
Key Point: What Is a Regional Center?
A Regional Center is an organization that has been approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and is involved in promoting economic growth, job creation, and capital investment within a specific area.
The EB-5 process can be confusing, and it requires several applications/petitions to be filed. An experienced EB-5 attorney will act on an investor’s behalf by:
- Providing advice on all aspects of the EB-5 process.
- Ensuring that the investor’s petitions are correctly completed and filed, and that documentation complies with USCIS regulations.
- Coordinating submission of petitions to USCIS.
- Liaising with USCIS and relevant government agencies.
- Assisting with the preparation of a foreign investor’s source of funding documentation which is an integral part of the EB-5 visa approval process.
- Keeping abreast of the progress of the investor’s NCE and liaising with the regional center.
- Dealing with any issues that arise during the process.
EB-5 Investor Insight | Ram
Having worked with immigration attorneys who had filed EB-2s for my wife and friends, I realized that I needed to go with a smaller firm that could dedicate its time to me and guide me through the process.
Read more about Ram’s experience here.
Why Do You Need an Experienced EB-5 Immigration Attorney?
An immigrant’s decision to permanently relocate their family to the United States is a significant one. So successfully meeting all the requirements laid down by USCIS will give an immigrant the best chance of achieving permanent residency status and enjoying the freedoms and benefits that come with living in the United States.
The EB-5 process can be lengthy and complex; mistakes can cost time and money and even lead to the rejection of an application.
An experienced EB-5 immigration attorney will have an in-depth knowledge of immigration law and will be able to successfully guide prospective immigrants through the process. They will also be familiar with EB-5’s new commercial enterprise developers and help them to locate a reliable regional center sponsor.
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Learn more about the Twin Lakes EB-5 Project HERE!
How Do You Know If an Attorney Has Experience with the EB-5 Program?
There are many immigration attorneys available to help immigrants move to the United States temporarily or permanently in various ways. However, negotiating your way through the EB-5 application process requires experience and a proven record of success.
Immigrants should carefully vet prospective attorneys before hiring them. As an EB-5 investor, you need to carefully screen prospective attorneys to find the right one to help you immigrate successfully to the U.S. Here is a list of questions to help get you started:
How many I-526/ I-526E and I-829 petitions have you facilitated?
The I-526 petition, superseded by the I-526E petition, is the first form submitted in the EB-5 visa process. It is an application for conditional permanent residency in the United States. The petition is submitted once the investor has selected an investment in a project or business venture (Project) via an NCE and transferred their investment capital into the NCE’s account.
As part of the I-526E petition, EB-5 investment participants must provide, inter alia, documentation about the NCE and the Project; prove that they have made the minimum investment amount required; and provide personal information about themselves and eligible family members. They must also show that their investment capital has been lawfully sourced.
A successful I-526E application means that the investor and their family members can apply for Immigrant Visas giving them conditional permanent resident status (conditional Green Card). A conditional Green Card is valid for two years.
Three months before the expiry of the conditional Green Card, Form I-829 must be filed. The I-829 petition seeks to have the conditions on the investor’s Green Card removed while also securing an extension to their conditional Green Card while the I-829 petition is being processed.
An EB-5 attorney with a strong track record in the facilitation of I-526/ I-526E and I-829 petitions plays a vital role in guiding EB-5 investors through the complex immigration process and ensuring a successful outcome.
What are your approval rates for I-526E and I-829 petitions?
Although you may find an attorney that has facilitated a large number of I-526/ I-526E and I-829 petitions, you still need to look into their success rate.
There is no good reason for an attorney not to have this information available to share with you. A high number of petitions with a corresponding high approval rate is a very good sign.
Do you have a strategy for proving the source of funds on capital invested?
An investor must show that the funds they have invested in a Project via an NCE have been legally sourced. This is a key component of the EB-5 visa application process. Legal sources include salaries, dividends, gifts from family or friends, inheritances, and proceeds from the sale of real estate and stocks. The documentation must be complete and accurate. Mistakes or misrepresentations can result in a rejected application.
If funds are from the sale of property or an inheritance, the documentation will need to go back in history to show that the original purchase of the property, or the money behind the inheritance, has been lawfully sourced.
An experienced EB-5 attorney’s detailed plan for preparing the required documentation is a very important aspect of the EB-5 immigration process. It reflects the attorney’s competence, thoroughness, and ability to navigate the EB-5 program.
How prompt are you in responding to clients’ queries? And how easy will it be to contact you directly??
EB-5 visa applications can be complex so a good working relationship with your EB-5 immigration attorney is essential. The attorney must be readily available to provide guidance in the process of compiling the required documentation. When interviewing attorneys, ask questions and see if you get timely responses. Make sure that the attorney is available when you need them. You don’t want delays that extend what is already a lengthy process.
Have you worked with applicants from my country?
Every EB-5 application is different, and gathering sources of funds and tax documents can be formidable in the applicant’s home country. For example, the documentation required by USCIS may not be compatible in format with the documentation that can be accessed by the applicant. An EB-5 immigration attorney who has successfully processed applications specific to a particular country of origin can greatly simplify the process.
When vetting a potential immigration attorney, consider one who:
- Is familiar with your cultural background; and
- Has successfully processed applications from your specific country.
Your choice of immigration attorney can affect the process. A competent EB-5 attorney will know what to expect and help avoid the pitfalls that can arise.
Can you provide me with references from your clients?
A competent immigration attorney will have a list of clients who have used their services and would be happy to provide testimonials. Check the attorney’s website for online reviews, references, and testimonials. There may also be clients from your country who will speak with you about their experience.
As an example, take a look at some of the testimonials provided by our recent clients at EB5AN.
What Are the Steps Needed to Hire an EB-5 Immigration Attorney?
Finding the right EB-5 attorney can prove difficult as there are now immigration attorneys without EB-5 experience who are taking on the work. Through its operation of 15 USCIS-authorized EB-5 regional centers sponsoring more than 2,000 EB-5 investors, EB5AN has worked with many EB-5 immigration attorneys. To request a list of experienced EB-5 immigration attorneys that we have direct experience with and whose services we are pleased to endorse, please contact the EB5AN team. You can also reach us via phone, text, or WhatsApp at +1 (561) 386-5356 or by email.
Find the Right EB-5 Immigration Attorney for Your Unique Case
Given the complex and multi-year nature of the EB-5 application process, it is important to do your due diligence before selecting an EB-5 visa attorney to guide you through the process. Take the time to ask questions, listen to the responses, and clarify when and if an attorney’s response leaves you with doubts or further questions.
Talk to as many attorneys as you need to find the one with the knowledge and experience to ensure that your EB-5 application is successful. It will all be worth it when your EB-5 application is approved.
Your EB-5 attorney should:
- Have experience in submitting EB-5 applications, including, most importantly, source of funds documentation.
- Have an intimate knowledge of immigration services requirements, including job creation, and keep abreast of changes to them.
- Have a proven track record of successful EB-5 applications.
- Be responsive to your needs.
Contact EB5AN today to request a list of experienced EB-5 immigration attorneys we endorse.