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 many EB-5 visas are allocated each year for the EB-5 Visa classification?
Answer: 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, 20% of visas will be reserved for rural projects; 10% will be reserved for high unemployment areas; and 2% of the visas will be reserved for immigrant investment in infrastructure projects.
General EB-5 Program Questions
The EB-5 Program allocates 10,000 visas per year for immigrants and their dependent family members whose qualifying project investments result in the creation of at least ten (10) full-time jobs for U.S. workers. Under terms of the RIA, 20% of total visas are now reserved for rural projects; 10% are reserved for high unemployment areas; and 2% of the visas are reserved for immigrant investment in infrastructure projects.
1) Concurrent filing. A new provision under RIA allows qualified applicants who are already in lawful status in the U.S. to file an application to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident (Form I-485) concurrently with the filing of their EB-5 petition (Form I-526E). Such a filing allows applicants to remain in the U.S. while their EB-5 petitions and adjustment applications are pending. This provision can be especially useful in situations where a visa holder from another category, such as H-1B, may wish to explore the flexibility, freedoms and permanency that EB-5 offers in U.S. immigration policy.
2) Set Asides. As noted above, RIA has reserved a total of 3,200 EB-5 visas annually for investments in qualified rural projects, projects in high unemployment areas or infrastructure projects. The reserved categories create timing incentives for certain EB-5 offerings. At the same time, as these categories are new, investors should carefully conduct a risk/benefit analysis and consider the merits of working with an experienced regional center with a track record of success in all project categories.
3) Integrity focus. RIA includes integrity measures designed to protect investors through the addition of more reporting requirements for regional centers and their operators, and requiring disclosures of fees paid to placement agents and representatives. The new integrity rules mirror many of the rigorous requirements of FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) designed to combat and weed out bad actors in the industry. The new rules also now provide for a policy already in practice at CanAm: retaining a third-party fund administrator to track EB-5 capital transactions in real time. This practice provides an added layer of transparency, confidence, and security for investors.
Should an investor have previous business experience or a minimum level of education to participate in the EB-5 Program?
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.
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-526E petition approval may receive a green card.
The EB-5 visa provides qualified foreign investors with the opportunity to earn a conditional, or temporary, two-year green card in return for investing $800,000 (based on current USCIS guidance) in projects located in high unemployment areas, or $1,050,000 (based on current USCIS guidance) outside those areas, that create at least ten permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
Yes. Children under the age of 21 and not married whose families are issued an EB-5 visa are also eligible for a conditional green card. If those children attend or plan to attend college, the conditional green card gives them the flexibility to study, live, work and travel freely in the United States. Conditional green cards may also qualify students for an institution’s resident tuition rate, which is often at a significant discount from the foreign student tuition rate.
I want to study in the U.S. but I cannot afford $800,000. Is there any other way for me to apply for EB-5?
Parents / relatives / friends can gift $800,000 to the EB-5 visa applicant. The legitimacy of the source of $800,000 has to be established by the donor. The I-526E petition has to present that the funds were “lawfully sourced”.
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.
CanAm offers a wide range of projects, from infrastructure, industrial, to commercial real estate that qualify under RIA. Over the past 30 years, CanAm has offered more than 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-526E 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.
Under RIA and USCIS regulations, investors must demonstrate that investment assets were gained in a lawful manner, such as income from a bona fide business, salary, investments, sale of a property, inheritance, gift, loan, or other lawful means.
Once the I-526E petition is filed, the investor’s petition is subject to U.S. Consulate interview, followed by adjudication by the USCIS for a conditional green card. Processing time varies based on USCIS’ workload. Applicants can receive the most updated estimates by visiting the USCIS webpage dedicated to processing time reports
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-526E 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.
After the I-526E petition approval, can members of the family have their Consulate interview in different countries?
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. Also bear in mind the new concurrent filing provisions under RIA. Qualified applicants who are already in lawful status in the U.S. can now file an application to adjust their status to that of a lawful permanent resident (Form I-485) concurrently with the filing of their EB-5 petition (Form I-526E). Such a filing allows applicants to remain in the U.S. while their EB-5 petitions, and adjustment applications are pending.
Once an investor receives a conditional green card, when does the application for the permanent green card need to be submitted?
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-526E 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-526E 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.
What about my college-age children? Can they remain in the U.S. even if I, as an investor parent, leave?
Yes. Children who were under the age of 21 and unmarried when the investor received I-526E approval enjoy all the freedoms of the green card and are not subject to the same restrictive provisions of other visas. These privileges include working, living and going to school anywhere in the U.S., and potentially receiving the discounted tuition rates that colleges afford to resident students at the undergraduate and grade levels.
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.
Job creation is critical for the successful issuance of the permanent green card through the approval 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.
If the investor resides outside of the U.S. when applying for EB-5, when can he/she and his/her family come live in the U.S.?
After I-526E 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
An investor who is approved for the EB-5 Immigrant Visa receives a “conditional” green card, which is valid for an initial two (2)-year period. An “unconditional” or permanent green card is issued following approval of the investor’s I-829 Petition and remains valid for ten (10) years (subject to further extensions). The two cards offer the same rights and privileges.
Permanent residence is intent-based, and 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 lawful permanent resident plans to apply for citizenship, he/she must have resided continuously in the United States after his or her lawful permanent resident admission for at least 5 years prior to filing the naturalization application and up to the time of naturalization.
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 continuously reside in the U.S. for at least five years prior to filing the naturalization application and up to the time of naturalization. Once naturalized as a U.S. citizen, an individual is entitled to citizenship benefits, including the right to vote and to hold public office.
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.