Can money earned through the sale of bitcoins be used to fund an EB-5 investment?

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows EB-5 investors to use a wide variety of sources to fund their investment projects. These sources include inherited funds, real estate sales, loans, salary payments, and the sale of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. As long as investors comply with USCIS guidelines regarding job creation, the minimum investment amount, and the at-risk status of the funds, they can use bitcoin to fund their EB-5 projects.

EB-5 investors who want to use bitcoin need to set up an online bitcoin wallet, place their bitcoin there, and convert it to U.S. dollars. To carry out this transaction, the investor must use a digital currency exchange based in the United States. Even though this process may seem relatively simple, investors should keep in mind that there are some drawbacks to using cryptocurrencies. For example, digital currency exchanges typically limit how much can be purchased at one time. Further, the exchange rates for digital currencies are very unstable.

Even though USCIS is flexible regarding the source of funds used for EB-5 investments, investors are required to provide copious evidence that their funds were sourced legally. Investors must include this evidence in their Form I-526, Immigration Petition by Alien Investor. USCIS asks investors to prove the legality of their sources of funds “by a preponderance of the evidence.” This means that investors must prove with at least 51% certainty that their funds were legally sourced.

To meet this level of proof, investors will likely have to attach exhaustive documentation that outlines how the funds were obtained. As each investor’s situation is unique and USCIS allows for many different sources of funds, the required documents will vary in each case. For instance, investors who are using their salary payments as EB-5 investment funds will have to include bank statements that show each payment. They may also have to include an employment contract and a capital source statement.