Can someone in the United States on a temporary worker visa sell personal assets and use the proceeds for an EB-5 investment?

A foreign national on a temporary worker visa is permitted to sell their personal assets to gain funding for an EB-5 investment as long as the act of engaging in the sales transaction is not considered a form of unauthorized employment.

Unauthorized Employment

As defined by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), unauthorized employment is “any service or labor for an employer within the United States by a noncitizen who is not authorized by the INA or USCIS to accept employment”. The definition also extends to noncitizens who exceed the limitations or expiration date of their employment authorization. Therefore, it would be unlawful if a temporary worker visa holder were to attempt to sell personal assets beyond the timeline of their employment authorization.

Lawful Source of Funds

However, given the temporary worker visa holder abides by the regulations of their visa and their personal assets were lawfully acquired, any profits earned by selling the assets would be considered an eligible source of capital for an EB-5 investment. In order to receive approval of their I-526 petition, the EB-5 investor must fulfill the lawful source of funds requirement. In this case, depending on the nature of the personal assets, the EB-5 investor will likely be required to provide extensive documentation that proves full, legal ownership.

While it is difficult to determine which documents are needed of EB-5 investors due to the unique nature of each individual case, it is generally recommended for EB5 investors to append their tax returns for the past five years and also trace the origins of both direct and indirect sources of investment capital. Apart from tax returns, the EB-5 investor will likely be required to include any of the following documents with their I-526 petition: bank statements, capital source statements, deeds and certificates of ownership of assets, purchase and sales contracts, loan agreements, or affidavits/ letters of recommendation from a trustworthy source if no recorded evidence exists.