The EB-5 visa program allows foreign investors to receive permanent residency visas by investing money in either US businesses or projects that create jobs. By investing $500,000 or $1 million, applicants can get on the fast track permanent residency in the US.
But the program is not always so straightforward and there are often a lot of strings attached. Plus, the rules are constantly changing and the process is hardly ever as straightforward as it seems.
Keep an Eye on the Cash
The Patriot Act requires people directly receiving the investments to make arrangements with the bank so that there is a paper trail that outlines precisely where the money came from. This is designed to foil investors seeking to develop a project with money obtained illegally. It also prevents EB-5 citizenship from being granted to somebody who has laundered money.
This can be challenging for some applicants. In India, for example, many people don’t keep their money in banks. Because most people’s cash is “unbanked”, creating an acceptable paper trail to document where the investment money came from can be difficult.
According to some estimates, about 80% of the EB-5 investments come from Chinese nationals seeking permanent residency in the US. But the immigration and investment rules in China can be complicated.
It’s important to have an awareness of what the regulations are in the originating country. For example, it’s a violation of Chinese law to make an offering in Shanghai that hasn’t also been approved there. And immigration consultants in China must be licensed by the Chinese government.
Knowing the rules – or hiring an expert who can help you navigate these often-complicated processes – can make the EB-5 application process go more smoothly.