Immigration through Investment – Part 2: EB-5 Regional Centers

Thứ Tư, 01 Tháng Sáu 201100:00(Xem: 66171)
Immigration through Investment – Part 2: EB-5 Regional Centers
The Immigrant Investor Pilot Program was created in 1992 and has been extended through September 30, 2012. It provides for the investment tool of Regional Centers. A Regional Center is defined as any economic entity, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment. It may be located in an economically depressed area of a city, or in a rural area. It establishes businesses and creates jobs following the same rules that apply to individual immigrant investors. To do this, the Regional Center uses the money of the immigrant investor. This frees the immigrant investor from the need to be actively involved in the day to day running of a business, but at the same time, because the Regional Center controls the funds, there is financial risk involved.

EB-5 investors receive a Conditional Green Card but are not required to work. They are only required to be involved in management or policy making. Therefore, investors can choose to travel throughout the United States without restriction or maintain dual residences in America and their home country. The benefit of the EB-5 visa is the visa holder does not need to run his business on day-to-day basis and obtains a permanent residency for him and his family.

An EB-5 visa gives holders an opportunity to obtain a permanent residency so that they can live and retire in the USA without the need to operate a business on a day-to-day basis or renew their visa status.

The first requirement of any investor after they receive the visa at the United States overseas consulate office is to enter into the United States within 180 days of visa issuance. The investor must then establish residency in the United States by opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver's license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, renting or buying a home. The law provides that a Green Card holder is free to travel abroad, provided that the trip is "temporary." Generally, the USCIS views any absence from the United States for longer than six months as not temporary. Thus, it is advisable to obtain a "re-entry permit" before departure.

Processing times for EB-5 Regional Center investors vary from as little as a few weeks to as much as six months. After an application has been processed and approved by USCIS, a green card is generally issued within one year of the date that the application was first submitted.

Children of families who immigrate under the EB-5 visa have access to all public elementary and secondary schools without paying tuition and can pay only "residential" tuition at colleges and universities in the United States. After children turn 21, they still can hold their green card and remain in the USA.

Unlike traditional work-related green cards, the EB-5 investor does not have to be involved in the day-to-day operation of the new commercial enterprise. The EB-5 regulations only require involvement in management or policy making. The most commonly used business structure is to make the EB-5 investor a limited partner in a limited partnership. Limited partnerships enjoy an extremely high rate of acceptance by the USCIS as an approved vehicle for investing through the EB-5 program and grant EB-5 investors well-defined rights into the major decisions of a business.

How are the investments usually structured? An investor purchases an interest in the limited partnership. The limited partnership is the business entity responsible for creating and operating the new commercial enterprise that is used to satisfy the requirements of EB-5.
What are the risks to the immigrant investor? As with any investment there is a risk of total loss. A Regional Center selectively chooses EB-5 business ventures that meet CIS regulations and present the greater opportunity for long-term success.
What types of investment funds are eligible? Funds for the investment must come from a lawful source. To prove the source of investment funds, USCIS requires tax returns, bank records, proof of ownership in any businesses, financial statements for each business and business licenses.
What kind of return can be expected from the investment? The level of return an investor can expect depends on the business opportunity into which they invest. The EB-5 Green Card does not depend on the return on investment. It only requires that investment creates the number of direct and indirect jobs in the required time frame.

Q.1. If CIS or the US Consulate does not approve the potential investor’s applications, what will happen to the $500,000 that he has already paid to the Regional Center? 
A.1. Most Regional Centers hold the investment in escrow until the investor is approved by CIS and the US Consulate. If he is not approved, most Regional Centers will refund the capital investment within ninety days of the applicant's written request.

Q.2. Who is eligible to start a Regional Center for immigrant investors?
A.2. Anyone can request approval from CIS to do this, by submitting Form I-924, Application for Regional Center Under the Immigrant Investor Pilot Program, to apply. The filing fee is $6,230 for all regional center proposals.

Q.3. What protection is there for immigrant investors’ funds that are invested in Regional Centers?
A.3. The Regional Center designation does not mean that the regional center’s capital investment projects are backed or guaranteed by the government. Also, there are no guarantees that an investor will eventually be granted unconditional permanent resident status through an EB-5 investment. For example, if CIS determines that the investor’s money is not truly at risk or that insufficient jobs were created through the investment, then the investor’s petition for a permanent green card may be denied. Investors should use caution when making an EB-5 investment.

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