When submitting their I-526 petition, EB-5 investors must provide evidence proving their investment funds were lawfully sourced. USCIS also requires investors to provide documentation proving a lawful source of funds for any administrative fees as of the enactment of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022.
USCIS explains the details of the source-of-funds requirement in its Policy Manual, specifically Volume 6 (Immigrants), Part G (Investors), Chapter 2 (Eligibility Requirements), Section A(4), which reads:
The immigrant investor must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the capital invested, or actively in the process of being invested, in the new commercial enterprise was obtained through lawful means. […] In establishing that the capital was acquired through lawful means, the immigrant investor must provide evidence demonstrating the direct and indirect source of his or her investment capital.
The Legal Information Institute at Cornell Law School defines “preponderance of the evidence” as “the burden of proof is met when the party with the burden convinces the fact finder that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true.” This means that an EB-5 investor must prove with 51% certainty that their funds were legally obtained to meet the evidentiary standard as set by USCIS.
Lawful sources of an EB-5 investor’s capital for both their EB-5 investment and administrative fees can include real estate sales, gifts, salary payments, inheritance, loans, stock proceeds, and more. EB-5 investment funds can be derived from several sources. As such, EB-5 investors sometimes need to submit multiple forms of evidence with their I-526 petition to document the sources of all their funds.
Because of the complexity of source-of-fund requirements, EB-5 investors should work with EB-5 immigration counsel to ensure that their I-526 petition meets USCIS requirements. It is best to work with a professional from the outset to identify the simplest source-of-funds strategy available.