EB5 Regional Centers - Path to Green Card

Thứ Tư, 11 Tháng Chín 201300:00(Xem: 19284)
EB5 Regional Centers - Path to Green Card

The program of Green Cards for investors began with the Million Dollar Green Card. This required an investor to bring 1 Million dollars to the US to start or purchase a business that would hire at least 10 American workers.

To encourage more foreign investment, CIS then allowed a smaller amount of $500,000 to be invested in a rural area or in places where the unemployment rate is at least 150 percent of the national average. These are called TEA (Targeted Employment Area).

For both the 1 million and 500 thousand Direct Investments, the foreign investor must be present and must be actively involved in the management of the business. He retains complete control of the finances of the business.

A third type of Green Card investment is called the Regional Center. A Regional Center is not connected in any way to the US government. It is a private financial venture that arranges for investment in businesses that meet the requirements of foreign investors. The foreign investor simply transfers $500,000 plus a start up fee to the Regional Center. After that, the Regional Center has complete control of the investment money and the financial return to the investor is usually minimal.

To some investors, the Regional Center is attractive because they do not need to be personally involved in the running of a business. And, they are free to live anywhere in the US, can bring their spouse and children under 21, and just need to wait for CIS final approval of the business.

The downside of Regional Centers is that they maintain complete control of the foreign investor’s money. If the Regional Center puts the money in a business that quickly fails, or that does not meet CIS requirements, the foreign investor will have to start the EB5 Green Card process all over again. And there is no guarantee that the investor will see all or any of his $500,000 investment again.

Earlier this year there was some negative publicity about some Regional Centers. Some of them did not maintain the requirement of creating ten jobs for US workers or did not satisfy CIS that they were functioning according to the requirements of the program. As a result, CIS was investigating new Regional Center applications more carefully, and approvals were slower. In addition, CIS moved its Regional Center processing office to Washington and this created further delays.

However, this year also saw CIS approve a number of new Regional Centers. USCIS continues to make progress on its backlog of I-924 applications, with 31 new Regional Centers approved this summer, for a total of 112 new centers approved this year.

In any trustworthy Regional Center program, the center will put the $500,000 investment in escrow until CIS approves a visa for the investor. If a Regional Center states that they will start using the money as soon as it is received and will not wait for CIS visa approval, then the investor should be wary.

Q.1. For EB5 investments, what is the biggest challenge that potential Vietnamese investors face?
A.1. Business and accounting procedures in the US and Vietnam are quite different, so the potential Vietnamese investor may have difficulty providing a complete paper trail for the money he plans to invest in the US.

Q.2. What about the dependents of Green Card investors?
A.2. An investor’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can be admitted to the U.S. with the investor. The spouse and children will be authorized to work or attend school in the U.S. If the investment receives final CIS approval after two years, the whole family can be approved for permanent Green Cards. 

Q.3. After a Green Card investor gets his permanent Green Card, how long does he have to wait to apply for US citizenship?
A.3. He can apply for a permanent Green Card after two years and then must wait five more years to apply for US citizenship.

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