Relocating permanently to the United States with your family through the EB5 Immigrant Investor Program (EB5 program) is not a decision that should be taken lightly. And it doesn’t come without some risk.
An experienced EB5 visa attorney is essential to a foreign investor’s successful EB-5 application. The process can take many years and involves numerous, often complex, requirements and several important but confusing applications. An EB-5 immigration attorney can help ensure the necessary requirements are met and the paperwork 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 EB5 immigration attorney, how to find the right EB-5 attorney for you, and what you can expect from them.
What is the Role of an EB5 Attorney?
An experienced EB-5 attorney is an expert in immigration law, with a thorough knowledge of the intricacies of the EB5 program, from the first step of filing Form I-526EE, Immigration Petition by Regional Centers 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) in which to invest, then an experienced attorney will play a crucial role in obtaining permanent resident status for the investor and their family.
The EB5 Immigrant Investor 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 investor obtains permanent resident status for themselves and their dependents.
The EB5 program requires the immigrant investor to invest a minimum amount in an NCE. If the NCE is located in a rural or targeted employment area (TEA), the minimum amount is $800,000. If 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 commercial enterprises sponsored by a regional center. Regional center sponsorship allows investors to use more flexible methods to calculate their job creation and may
The EB5 process can be confusing, and it requires several applications/petitions to be filed. An experienced EB5 attorney will act on an investor’s behalf by:
- Providing advice on all aspects of the EB5 process.
- Ensuring that the investor’s petitions are correctly completed and that documentation complies with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations.
- Coordinating submission of the paperwork 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 EB5 visa approval process.
- Keeping abreast of the progress of the investor’s EB5 new commercial enterprise and liaising with the regional centers.
- Dealing with any issues that arise through the process.
Why Do You Need an Experienced EB 5 Immigration Attorney?
An immigrant’s decision to relocate with their family permanently 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 resident status and enjoying the freedoms and benefits that go with living in the United States.
The EB5 process can be lengthy and complex; mistakes can be costly in time and money and even lead to the rejection of an application.
An experienced EB5 immigration attorney will have an intimate knowledge of immigration law and will be able to guide and assist prospective immigrants seamlessly through the process to a successful conclusion. They will also be familiar with EB-5 new commercial enterprise developers and be able to find a reliable regional center sponsor.
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 through the various avenues available. 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. To assist with the vetting process, an EB-5 investor should ask and carefully consider the answers to the following questions.
How Many I-526E and I-829 Petitions Have You Facilitated?
The I-526E petition is the first form submitted in the EB5 visa process. It is an application for conditional permanent residency in the United States. The petition is submitted once the investor has selected their EB5 new commercial enterprise and transferred their investment capital into the EB5 commercial enterprise’s account.
As part of the I-526E petition, EB-5 investment participants must provide documentation about their EB-5 commercial enterprise; 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 EB-5 visas giving them conditional permanent resident status (conditional Green Card). An EB5 visa is valid for two years.
Three months before the expiry of the EB-5 visa, 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 visa while the I-829 petition is being processed.
An EB-5 attorney should have a strong track record in the facilitation of I-526E and I-829 petitions.
What Are your Approval Rates for I-526E and I-829 Petitions?
You have found an attorney that has facilitated a large number of I-526E and I-829 petitions, but what is 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?
An investor must show that the funds they have invested in an NCE have been legally sourced. This is a key component of the EB5 visa application process. Legal sources include salaries, dividends, gifts from family or friends, inheritances, proceeds from the sale of real estate, and the sale of stocks. The documentation must be complete and accurate. Mistakes or misrepresentations can result in an application being rejected.
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 EB5 attorney will have a detailed plan for preparing this documentation. Make sure that you are confident that the attorney is able to do this work as smoothly as possible.
How Prompt Are You in Responding to Clients’ Queries? And How Easy Will It Be to Contact You Directly?
EB5 visa applications can be complex so a good working relationship with your EB5 immigration attorney is of paramount importance. 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 source of funds and tax documents can be onerous 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 EB5 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 an immigration attorney can affect the process. A competent EB5 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.
What Are The Steps Needed to Hire an EB 5 Immigration Attorney?
EB5 visa attorneys aren’t hard to find. Finding the right attorney, however, can prove difficult as there are now immigration attorneys without EB-5 experience who are taking on the work. Through its operation of 10+ 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 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.
What Outcomes Can You Expect from Hiring an Attorney Who Works With EB 5 Investors?
You can expect an experienced EB 5 visa attorney to, on your behalf:
- Prepare documentation in accordance with legal requirements and submit it to USCIS.
- Make sure that your chosen EB5 new commercial enterprise meets the requirements of the EB5 program, including the job creation criteria.
- Deal with USCIS and other relevant government agencies.
- Demonstrate through comprehensive documentation that your funds have been legally sourced.
- Be able to resolve any issues particular to an application from your country.
- Help you choose a commercial enterprise with a trustworthy regional center sponsor.
- Vet your commercial enterprise’s regional center sponsor regarding its track record, transparency, and compliance with program regulations.
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 assist you through the process. Take the time to ask your 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.
Potential immigrants should engage an EB-5 immigration attorney if they want to move to the United States under the EB5 program as quickly as possible.
But foreign investors must also exercise due diligence in the selection of an EB5 attorney. The wrong attorney can impact the success of their application. It can mean delays in a process that can already take many years. Engaging the wrong attorney is a risky proposition.
Your EB5 attorney should:
- Have experience in submitting EB5 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 EB5 applications.
- Be responsive to your needs.
- Help you choose a commercial enterprise with a reliable regional center sponsor and be familiar with leading project developers and regional center managers in the industry.
Contact EB5AN today to request a list of experienced EB-5 immigration attorneys we endorse.