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EB-5 Frequently Asked Questions
What is a targeted employment area?
A targeted employment area is either a rural area (i.e., not in a town of 20,000 and not in a Metropolitan Statistical Area) or a non-urban area that has experienced unemployment rate that is 150% of the national average.
When may I exit the investment?
USCIS regulations say that your investment must remain in place until the Removal of Conditions, around three and a half years after the investment. The unwritten rule for Regional Centers is that there cannot be a total redemption before 5 years.
Must the entire amount of the investment be made at the time of filing the EB5 petition?
No. However, the investor must prove the availability of the funds and an actual legal commitment of the capital. An intention alone without any present commitment will not qualify. However, in practice, the USCIS will frown on application in which the investment is not, at a minimum, in an escrow account.
Are there any rules regarding the investment in an existing business that enables the existing business to expand?
The investment must result in 40% increase either in net worth of the business or number of employees. In such cases though, only the newly added employees will count toward employment creation.
Must the investor have any specific relationship with the business in which the investment is made?
The investor does not need to be an officer of employee of the business. However, he must be engaged in the business whether through managerial control, by being a member of the board of directors or by being a limited partner.
Do all family members get conditional permanent residence status at the same time?
Yes, the investor, his spouse and unmarried children under 21 (on the date of the I-526 petition filing) can obtain permanent resident status at the same time through a single investment.
What is the timeline of the process?
The I-526 petition is normally reviewed within 3 to 6 months while the conditional permanent residence process takes between 4 to 9 months. However, it is anticipated that by September, 2011, a 15 day Premium Processing service will be available for the I-526 petitions.
What is a regional center?
USCIS has approved many regional centers. If the investment is made in one of the approved regional centers, the investor will not have to demonstrate the creation of direct jobs of 10 US workers. Indirect employment based upon econometric projection will be enough.
Is an investment in a regional center guaranteed?
No, there is both an immigration and financial risk. For this reason it is important for an investor to choose the regional center and regional center project meticulously.