The EB-5 Visa has become an increasingly attractive visa for Indian investors seeking permanent residency in the United States. The cap increase on the number of applications, economic growth opportunities in the U.S., and a direct route to obtain permanent residency has increased the popularity of the EB-5 Visa. Advantages of an EB-5 investment include: the potential for a high return on investment, a shorter wait time to receive a green card, and the lack of a requirement for employer sponsorship that other employment visas usually require. While the EB-5 visa potentially rewards an Indian investor with commercial success and permanent residency, there are some important factors to consider to ensure a successful investment.
Factors To Consider Before Applying For The EB-5 Visa
Before applying for an EB-5 visa and planning your investment, there are important considerations that should factor into your decision. Choosing between investing in a new commercial enterprise or a regional center, the inherent risk and type of your capital investment, your investor support, and proper account management all play a key role in ensuring your success.Taking extra time to make educated decisions with the help of an immigration attorney can help mitigate the risk of a failed investment.
New Commercial Enterprise Vs. EB-5 Regional Center
There are two choices when it comes to your EB-5 investment. You can either choose to invest through an EB-5 regional center or a new commercial enterprise. Many investors decide to invest through the regional center program because it is simpler and quicker than starting their own business. You could establish a new commercial enterprise by starting an original business, purchasing or expanding an existing business.
Type of Capital Investment
To meet the capital investment requirements, secured assets must be in the form of cash, inventory or intangible property and equipment. This capital is calculated according to the U.S. fair-market value for the same or similar assets. Capital cannot be borrowed, it must come from an investor themselves.
Inherent Investment Risk
As with any investment, there are some potential associated risks that come with an EB-5 investment. Your personal wealth will be tied up in illiquid investments with no guarantees or safeguards. Even when investing in a regional center, there are no USCIS protections, your funding could potentially be fraudulent, and there is little legal recourse you can take should your investment fail. Understanding some of the inherent risks to your investment can help you make a more educated decision on how to invest properly and what drawbacks you can realistically expect.
How To Make Your Investment a Success
Although it is important to know the factors that could cause your EB-5 investment to fail, there are measures you can take to place you in a better position to yield a successful investment and establish permanent residency in the U.S. Putting forth additional sources of capital, finding a trustworthy team of investors, carefully managing an Escrow account for your EB-5 investment and thoroughly researching the regional center you may plan to invest in are actions that will lessen the risk of a failed investment.
Have Additional Sources of Capital
Unfortunately, risks are unavoidable. However, you can plan to have solutions or alternatives to minimize the damage of potential risk. One of the major risks on an EB-5 investment is if your investment does not lead to the required number of jobs created. If you are unable to create 10 jobs within the two year period, the conditions on your green card will not be removed and you will have to return to your home country upon its expiration. To help prevent this, ensure that you provide additional sources of capital on top of your initial investment so you can be certain you are able to create the required jobs.
Have A Strong Team of Investors To Support You
If you are creating an new commercial enterprise, you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, having a strong and trustworthy group of investors that are supporting you will help to ensure that your business is a success. This will also help to reduce the personal losses you incur in the unfortunate event that your commercial enterprise is unable to have a positive return on investment..
Transfer Your Investment Through An Escrow Account
The safest way to transfer your investment is with an EB-5 escrow account, which is unique from a standard Escrow account and cannot be opened at any bank of your choosing. Some banks are not willing to incur the risk of a failed EB-5 investment. Though establishing an Escrow account for your investment may be a prolonged process, it is important to find a bank that will structure your investment for a favorable outcome and terms of investment. You can make the release of your investment contingent on your I-526 petition approval as away to provide yourself with a level of security on your investment.
Diligently Research Your Regional Center
Before fully committing to your regional center, make sure that you are performing a background check and are fully researching the project. Just because the regional center has been approved by USCIS does not mean that the specific regional center is abiding by all laws or has a plan that will lead to the successful completion of your project. There have been cases of investors being defrauded by regional centers that have manipulated the EB-5 visa program to offer fraudulent investments. If your investment isn’t backed by additional capital, you can lose money and be left with no government protection to recoup your assets.
Hire An Experienced Immigration Attorney
It is important to receive professional assistance when planning your EB-5 investment. Doing so alone can leave you exposed to risks you may be unaware of or legal protections you hadn’t considered.. Recruit the expertise of an experienced immigration attorney who has specialized expertise in EB-5 investment law and management. They will work with you to help select your investment, to fill out your application, and explain the steps you can take to protect your investment and mitigate the risk of its failure.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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