Can someone with no employment history apply for an EB-5 visa using gifted funds?

Not all participants in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program are personally wealthy, nor are they all business owners. Many are international students or persons with no employment history. Some are young couples whose richer parents may not be personally interested in immigrating to the United States. Often, those who are not personally wealthy or who have no employment history seek to fund their EB-5 investment journey through private gifts from their wealthier, or employed, friends and family.

Is this possible for those without employment history or personal wealth to use gifted funds for their EB-5 investment? Absolutely.

A foreign national may apply for an EB-5 visa using gifted funds, in part or in whole, as long as the gift is accompanied by lawful source of funds documentation and a deed of gift proving the funds do, in fact, belong to the investor.

Employment history and/or management experience are not required by the EB-5 program—though for direct EB-5 investments, business experience may play an important role in meeting the program’s employment creation requirement. Also, because regional center investments generally require investors to be accredited, any EB-5 investor with no employment history whose investment is based solely on a gift may need to consult securities counsel to determine whether a regional center investment is possible.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not consider the mere transfer of the gifted funds from the donor to the recipient as proof that the EB-5 capital was legally sourced. For EB5 investment capital that was gifted to an applicant, USCIS mostly cares about the legitimacy of the gift and how the applicant’s donor obtained the funds for the gift. Per USCIS guidelines, EB-5 investors must provide sufficient evidence to suggest that it is “more likely than not” that their funds were derived from a legal source.