Frequently Asked Questions

CanAm Enterprises offers investors key insights into the EB-5 Program to gain a conditional or permanent U.S. green card. See answers to some of the most common investor questions.

Question of the Day

How long does the entire EB-5 immigration process take?

Answer: The current average wait time for an I-526 petition is 20-26 months, at which point you would go to the consulate for processing, or adjustment of status.  You would next begin your conditional permanent residency which lasts 2 years, and 21 months into that 2-year period, you would file your I-829 for the removal of conditions.  The current average for this petition is 27-35 months.  We have seen shorter adjudication times than this, but it is best to plan for the average to be the time you wait.  If you are subject to retrogression, this would force you to wait to go for consular processing/adjustment of status after the I-526 is approved.

General EB-5 Program Questions

The EB-5 Program allocates 10,000 visas per year for immigrants and their dependent family members whose qualifying investments result in the creation or preservation of at least ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Of the total, 3,000 visas are specifically allocated to immigrants who invest through USCIS-designated Regional Centers.

There are no requirements with respect to prior business experience or education. The only requirement is that the investor is accredited and meets certain suitability standards with respect to income, net worth, etc. The investor also must prove unconditionally that the source of funds is legal through the submission of proper documentation. Related Insights: Beijing Mother Uses EB-5 to Relocate for Better Air Quality for Her Children 

No, but it is strongly recommended that a non-English speaking investor hires the services of a translator to ensure that the investor fully understands the investment terms and that the offering materials are reviewed carefully before the investor makes a decision.

A Limited Partnership is a business organization with one or more General Partners who manage the business and assume legal debts and obligations, and one or more Limited Partners who are liable only to the extent of their investments. Limited Partners also enjoy rights to the Limited Partnership’s cash flow, but are not liable for company obligations.

Each investment has specific risk factors that are specifically described and addressed in the offering materials for each Limited Partnership. Risk factors differ for each Limited Partnership, but may include economic conditions, failure to meet job requirements, and denied immigration status under the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program.

Many EB-5 offerings depend on the fundraisers who locate and introduce eligible investors to EB-5 projects. Persons who perform this service within the U.S. are subject to U.S. Securities laws and regulations. They are required to hold securities licenses and be associated with a registered broker-dealer in order to conduct sales activities in the U.S.  Investors who are based in the U.S. should only be working with registered broker dealers.

The investor, spouse, and any unmarried children (even if adopted) under the age of 21 at the time of the I-526 petition approval may receive a green card.

There have been proposals for increase of the investment amount. Like any regulatory and legislative actions, this cannot be predicted with accuracy. CanAm encourages all EB-5 aspirants to invest as soon as possible to avoid a situation where one would have to invest significantly higher sums.

Retrogression refers to a situation where the entire country quota of visas (approximately 700) is exhausted for the year and hence no longer available as current. In such cases, the visa applicants join the common line and are served on the principle of first come first served without cognizance of the country of chargeability. Upon the commencement of the next year, fresh 700 visas would become available once again for issuance.

Parents / relatives / friends can gift $500,000 to their child. The legitimacy of the source of $500,000 has to be established by the donor. The I-526 petition has to present that the funds were “lawfully earned”.

Over the past 30 years, CanAm has offered nearly 60 EB-5 projects – see a full list here. Please contact CanAm to determine suitability and to receive information about current projects being offered for subscription.

The investor, spouse, and any unmarried children (even if adopted) under the age of 21 at the time of the I-526 petition approval may receive a green card.

Questions About the EB-5 Program Petition Process

It is strongly recommended that an investor obtains legal services for their immigration petition submission. The narrative and documentation needed for the petition is extensive and an attorney can assist with the petition, consulate interview, and visa processing.

The petition to obtain an EB-5 Visa must be accompanied by the requisite USCIS form, a financial business plan regarding the investment project, detailed financial information regarding the immigrant investor’s source of funds for the investment, and other personal supporting evidence. Related Insights: Issues Relating to USCIS’ Adjudication of Bridge Financing Arrangements in EB-5 Projects 

Under USCIS regulations, investors must demonstrate that investment assets were gained in a lawful manner such as income from a bonafide business, salary, investments, sale of a property, inheritance, gift, loan, or other lawful means.

Once the I-526 petition is filed, the approximate length of time for an investor to pass the U.S. Consulate interview and receive a conditional green card is approximately 24-36 months. It is important to note that each investor’s particular situation is different; adjudication processing times are often unpredictable, subject to USCIS adjudication delays, and may take a longer period of time.

The purpose of the Consulate application is to ensure that the investor and family members undergo medical, police, security, and immigration background checks before the conditional permanent resident visas are issued. At the interview, the Consulate Officer may address these issues and information printed on the I-526 petition, including the nature of the immigrant investment. If the investor and family are in the United States, they may apply to adjust their status at the appropriate office of the USCIS.

Family members may interview in different countries. The country of origin or where the family has current ties is the standard interview site. However, a student attending school in the U.S. would not have to return to the country of origin; status can be adjusted in the United States at the district office of the USCIS.

The conditional green card has an expiration date of two years from the date issued. Investors can submit their I-829 petitions as early as three months prior to the expiration date. CanAm will supply all supporting evidence regarding the Limited Partnership, capital investment and newly created jobs to submit with the I-829 petition. Once the I-829 petition is filed with the USCIS, conditional permanent residency is extended for one year. An investor should carry the USCIS I-829 receipt notice, along with the conditional green card, at all times.

Yes. Should an investor’s I-526 petition be denied, the full investment amount will be returned to the account from which the funds originated. However, once an investor has passed the I-526 stage, the issuance fees are not refundable; the investor must remain in the Limited Partnership for the remainder of the term to receive repayment of principal.

The investor may work overseas, if required, based upon the nature of his/her business or profession. For those permanent residents living outside the U.S., it is recommended that the investor and family re-enter the U.S. no less than once every six months. The longer the investor and family are present in the U.S., the less likely the government is to claim that the investor “abandoned” the United States as a permanent resident, thereby jeopardizing green card status. In some cases, investors may seek the issuance of a “re-entry permit.” This allows the investor permission to remain outside the U.S. for as long as two years without having to re-enter the country to maintain permanent resident status. Children may remain in school even if the investor leaves the U.S.

EB-5 investments with CanAm are structured using the Debt model. This means that the funds are released to the job creating entity in the form of a loan which is expected to be repaid. A creditor’s lien is superior to that of equity holders. Typically in a debt model EB-5 investors are in a mezzanine position, this means that in the event of liquidation EB-5 investors are in a better position to recover their funds as compared to EB-5 investors in Equity model who come after all the creditors in the line of recovery. In case of an Equity model (which is not offered by CanAm), the investor is expected to take an equity risk position in the job creating entity. 

The current average wait time for an I-526 petition is 20-26 months, at which point you would go to the consulate for processing, or adjustment of status.  You would next begin your conditional permanent residency which lasts 2 years, and 21 months into that 2-year period you would file your I-829 for the removal of conditions.  The current average for this petition is 27-35 months.  We have seen shorter adjudication times than this, but it is best to plan for the average to be the time you wait.  If you are subject to retrogression, this would force you to wait to go for consular processing/adjustment of status after the I-526 is approved.

All changes in EB-5 policies are expected to be prospective – they are not expected to apply retroactively to investments already made and petitions already filed. This is our expectation and it should be remembered that policies, regulations, and legislations cannot be predicted.

Job creation is critical for the successful defense of the I-829 petition. Hence CanAm partners with reputed developers with strong execution capabilities and selects projects with adequate buffers of additional jobs. While the norm is 10 jobs per investor, CanAm usually aims for projects which result in 20/25 jobs per EB-5 investor.

After I-526 is approved, consular processing commences and upon the issuance of immigrant visa, the investor can come to live in the United States.

Yes. Private loans secured against assets, irrevocably owned by the investor are acceptable.

Questions About U.S. Green Card Types

Under the regulations, an investor who is approved for the EB-5 Immigrant Visa receives a “conditional” green card, which is valid for a two-year period. An “unconditional” or permanent green card is valid for ten years. Otherwise, the two cards offer the same rights and privileges.

Permanent residence is intent-based, the law does not prescribe a minimum period. Evidence of intent to reside includes opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, and renting or buying a home. In case, the investor plans to leave the United States for over 6 months, it is recommended that he/she applies for a re-entry permit. That said, if the permanent resident plans to apply for citizenship, he/she is required to spend 30 months in the preceding 5 years in the United States to be eligible for citizenship.

The investor may work overseas, if required, based upon the nature of his/her business or profession. For those permanent residents living outside the U.S., it is recommended that the investor and family re-enter the U.S. no less than once every six months. The longer the investor and family are present in the U.S., the less likely the government is to claim that the investor “abandoned” the United States as a permanent resident, thereby jeopardizing green card status. In some cases, investors may seek the issuance of a “re-entry permit.” This allows the investor permission to remain outside the U.S. for as long as two years without having to re-enter the country to maintain permanent resident status. Children may remain in school even if the investor leaves the U.S.

There are two ways to become a U.S. citizen. The first is to be born in the U.S. or to be born to a U.S. citizen. The second is by naturalization. The first step to becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization is to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). Being an LPR for five years is one of the basic requirements for qualifying for naturalization. A second requirement is for the candidate to be physically present in the U.S. for 30 months during the five years prior to the naturalization application. Once naturalized as a U.S. citizen, an individual is entitled to citizenship benefits, including the right to vote and to hold public office.

Business-Related Questions

A Limited Partnership is a business organization with one or more General Partners who manage the business and assume legal debts and obligations, and one or more Limited Partners who are liable only to the extent of their investments. Limited Partners also enjoy rights to the Limited Partnership’s cash flow but are not liable for company obligations.

The USCIS requires that some financial risk be assumed by the investor in order to qualify for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Each investor must qualify for the minimum at risk capital and new job creation requirement. Every effort is made by the General Partner to minimize the amount of risk by ensuring that the investment is properly collateralized and that the Partnership remains in strong financial standing.

The regulations specifically allow for the pooling of funds by several investors in a Limited Partnership that then makes an investment in a job-creating project. The only requirement is that each investor must individually meet the minimum at risk capital and new job creation requirements.

Investor has a limited partner status with the special purpose vehicle and is not expected to participate in the day to day operations of the EB-5 investment.

Need More Information?

Find out why CanAm Enterprises is the industry leader among EB-5 investment firms. CanAm Enterprises offers premier resources for all of your EB-5 investment needs. Our team of highly experienced professionals act as the premier resource for all of your EB-5 investment questions. See required documents, information, and available resources from CanAm below.