Specialists in EB-5 Investments

Immigration Questions

The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services office (USCIS) is the USA government office that processes all immigration and visa documents. A great amount of immigration information can be found on their website at www.uscis.gov including additional information on the EB-5 program, forms including the 1-526 and 1-829, and much more.

It is highly recommended that an investor obtain legal services for their immigration petition submission. The narrative and documentation needed for the 1-526 petition package is extensive, and an experienced immigration attorney can provide valuable assistance with the petition, consulate interview, and visa processing.

The 1-526 petition is the initial visa application as part of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Prospective investors and their attorneys file this petition with the USCIS and include documentation demonstrating the investor’s eligibility.

1-526 petitions are most commonly rejected due to the applicant’s failure to demonstrate that investment funds were lawfully obtained.

The 1-829 petition is the final step in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Investors and their attorneys file this petition with USCIS, and provide evidence that the investor has successfully fulfilled all of the program’s requirements, particularly that investor funds resulted in the creation of at least ten jobs. Upon approval of the petition, investors and their family members receive permanent green cards.

An investor who is approved for the EB-5 immigrant visa receives a conditional green card, which must be reissued after two years and is subject to removal of conditions. Otherwise, the two cards offer the same rights and privileges.

The top federal tax rate in the US is however slightly lower than in South Africa and the US tax code is complex (over 72,000 pages long) which allows for tax optimization strategies that can reduce the burden significantly. LCR Capital Partners can put you in touch with Grant Thornton, a pre-immigration tax planning firm.

Once the 1-526 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 6-14 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 history 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.

(For example, if children are attending school in the U.S. and the parents are not in the U.S., etc.) 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.

Husband, wife and any unmarried children under the age of 21. It is possible for adopted children to be included in the family. Upon approval you will receive a form evidencing approval and a travel document. You should also receive a temporary green card in the mail.

A potential investor is required to file a form I-526 for Alien Entrepreneur in conjunction with the documents supporting the EB-5 Investor Visa program requirements. Upon approval of this application, the investor and immediate family (spouse and single children under 21 years of age) may apply for an Immigrant Visa at the US Consulate, or if the investor is already located in the United States, apply for an Adjustment of Status at any regional USCIS office. The entire application process may take nine to fifteen months to be fully completed.

An investor must apply to the USCIS for EB-5 Visa qualification through the submission of a number of required elements including: USCIS forms, business plans and/or geographical statistics, financial information and other supporting evidence.

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.