According to the USCIS Policy Manual, each EB-5 investor must prove that they are “the legal owner of the capital invested” and have “obtained the capital through lawful means.” This rule is known as the source-of-funds requirement.
Lawful sources of EB-5 investment capital include salary payments, real estate sales, gifts, inheritance, stock proceeds, loans, or otherwise. As an investor’s EB-5 investment funds can be derived from multiple sources, EB-5 investors often need to submit multiple forms of documentation.
No single source of funds is universally easier to prove than another. Each investor’s financial background is different, and so the easiest sources to prove are those that involve the simplest and clearest paper trail. For instance, a salary earned from lawful employment accompanied by payroll records and tax information would be one of the simplest sources to document.
As individual investors’ circumstances vary so widely, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not provide a specific list of required documents for proving source of funds. It is highly recommended that an investor work with EB-5 professionals or an immigration attorney to identify the simplest and clearest source of investment funds.
In all cases, EB-5 investors should provide a capital source statement explaining in detail where their specific investment funds derive from. To give a clear example, EB5AN has created a free example I-526 source-of-funds cover letter. This template presents a source of funds derived from a loan secured against real estate, with the loan funds provided by an individual. EB-5 investors can tailor this free template to their specific sources of funds.
To prove their source of funds is lawful, EB-5 investors can use a myriad of supporting documents: Tax returns (personal, corporate, partnership) filed within the last five years, bank statements proving deposit from the stated source of funds, business registration records, certified copies of court judgements, government administrative proceedings within the last 15 years, employment contracts, real estate ownership and sales contracts, a copy of a will bequeathing funds to the investor in the case of inheritance, additional capital source statements from one’s lender or benefactor in the case of a loan or personal gift, or other such proof of sources of capital.
EB-5 investors must provide this evidence proving lawful sources of funds when submitting their I-526 petition. Sometimes, USCIS also requires source of funds evidence for an investor’s administrative fees, so investors should ensure they have evidence for both their investment amount and any fees they had to pay.