Should money gifted to an EB-5 investor be transferred directly from the benefactor into escrow?

According to the guidelines set out by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), all EB-5 investors must be able to trace their invested funds back to their origin and prove that they were legally sourced. To provide the necessary evidence, investors must submit with their I-526 petition exhaustive documentation outlining the source of their invested funds.

In the case of gifted funds, the key concern for investors is to prove that they genuinely own the gift. Therefore, it would be more practical if the gift were deposited into the investor’s account and then transferred to the EB-5 project’s escrow account. If the gifted funds were transferred directly to the EB-5 project’s escrow account, it would be harder to prove that they genuinely belong to the investor. However, this is not a requirement; USCIS does allow the funds to be deposited directly into the project’s escrow account.

In either case, EB-5 investors must be prepared to submit evidence proving that their invested funds were legally sourced. The EB-5 program allows investors to use a wide variety of sources to finance their projects, and each investor’s situation is unique. Therefore, the documentation needed in each case varies. For gifted funds, investors will likely have to submit a bank statement showing that the funds were deposited. It may also be necessary to procure capital source statements that identify the gift giver, explain how the gift giver obtained the funds originally, and prove that the funds were gifted to the investor. Finally, investors should submit a gift letter that confirms the amount and shows that the investor is not under obligation to pay it back.

If any necessary evidence is missing from the investor’s I-526 petition, USCIS may send them a Request for Evidence (RFE) or even a denial. To avoid this situation, investors should hire qualified EB-5 professionals who can help them keep up with all the relevant regulations.