What documents are needed to begin the EB-5 process?

Generally speaking, an EB5 investor’s I-526 petition must be accompanied by documentation that proves they have met all the criteria for the EB5 program. While the circumstances of each EB5 investment differ, meaning the appended documentation can vary between projects, the basic areas to cover remain the same.

The I-526 petition and accompanying documents must show that the required capital has already been invested or otherwise irrevocably committed to the project. Necessary evidence can include bank statements, promissory notes, loan certificates, and security agreements.

Investors must provide documentation on the project they have chosen to invest in — this can include a business plan, hiring schedule, market analysis, and any required licenses or certification. In essence, USCIS must consider the project to be viable and capable of creating enough jobs for an EB-5 investment. Moreover, documentation that proves the new commercial enterprise is eligible for the EB5 program is also required. This can include state business certificates, articles of incorporation, merger or consolidation certificates, joint venture agreements, and limited partnership agreements. If the project is in a targeted employment area (TEA), the investor must also include documents that justify the TEA status. Depending on the type of TEA, the necessary documentation can include population data or unemployment statistics. Finally, if the investor is working with an EB5 regional center, they must provide information on the regional center as well.

The source-of-funds requirement is widely considered the most difficult part of the I-526 process. The documents needed for an investor to prove the lawful source of their investment funds varies depending on their situation. Investors are advised to work with an experienced EB-5 immigration lawyer to determine the best fund sources to use. Doing so can streamline the process and minimize the chances of being issued a request for evidence. Source-of-funds documentation can include bank account statements, tax returns, employment records, investment records, property deeds, loan documentation, gift records, accounting records, and more.

USCIS requires investors to be actively involved in their investment project. However, what exactly this entails depends on the type of investment. While applicants who choose direct investment are solely responsible for the project, regional center investors usually sign on as limited partners and have little to no managerial duties. In either case, documentation that details the investors involvement is required, such as corporate documents and a description of the investors responsibilities.