EB-5 Investment Visa in the USA
The EB-5 immigrant investor program is a program created by the US government with the purpose of boosting the US economy by attracting investments in the US and creating new jobs.
The program requires foreign investors to invest in a new commercial enterprise in the US while providing them with the opportunity to gain a US Green Card
and become citizens after 5 years of residing in the US as Permanent Residents or Green Card holders. In simple terms, the foreign investor is required to create at least 10 jobs for US citizens or legal residents with his/her investment, and in return, he/she can enjoy all the perks of being a US citizen or permanent resident.
Since its launch, the EB5 Program has been reformed to a great extent, yet, its prime purpose remains the same to date. Once just another federal immigration program, it now stands as an essential tool for producing new employment opportunities along with stimulating the US economy both nationally and internationally The process begins with the due diligence team of the American Immigration Group, who spend a considerable time doing due diligence and analyzing the projects that require an EB-5 loan. Upon approval from the due diligence team, the recommendations are sent to the underwriters, who carefully look at each project and select projects that prove to be sound investment opportunities. These projects are then sent to the economist to study and provide a report on the economic impact of the project and its ability to create sufficient jobs as required by USCIS.
Once the project is determined to comply with the job creation requirements of USCIS, the economist then ensures whether the project is located in a TEA (targeted employment area) or a non-TEA as per USCIS guidelines and requirements. American Immigration Group selects only TEA projects to bring to the market, as the required investment amount for a TEA designated project is $900,000 vs. non-TEA $1.8million, making it easier and more affordable for the investor. American Immigration Group then sends the picked TEA projects to independent third-party companies to conduct feasibility studies and appraise the project.
There are two feasibility studies required:
1) Market feasibility study, which studies the market in which the project will be located, the industry, the competitive set and gives a conclusion on the commerciality of the project
2) Economic feasibility study, which studies the project costs and projections and compares them to the market to determine that the costs used in the financial projections made by the developers are market values.
The feasibility studies serve to provide an unbiased and honest opinion on the value and marketability of the project. This allows the American Immigration Group to draft the business plans and send all this documentation to the Securities attorney to pen down the offering memorandum.
Upon the finalization of the documents, they are reviewed by the deal specialists one more time before being sent to the immigration attorney. The documents are then filed with USCIS for approval.
Upon receiving the approval of the project by USCIS, American Immigration Group proceeds to the fund-raising stage. The funds are raised privately through local agents or representatives in different countries as is required by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). Once an investor subscribes to a project after reading, analyzing, and doing their own due diligence on it, their immigration attorney files their I-526 petition with USCIS, for which the investor is required to provide documentation of the source of funds he/she has invested. This process is done by and between the investor and their immigration attorney. Although not required by USCIS, American Immigration Group always structures the EB-5 investment as a loan to the project, based on the fact that loans are less risky than equity investments. During the term of the investment, American Immigration Group updates investors periodically with the project's progress and its financial statements.
Also, during this period, the investor should have received their Conditional green card and have either fulfilled the conditions and applied to remove them or have successfully removed the conditions and received an unconditional US Permanent Residence (Green Card). When the loan matures, the project will have to pay back the loan to the fund. Once the funds are in the fund's escrow account, American Immigration Group as the fund manager will pay back the investors according to the terms disclosed in the offering memorandum, thus making the investment less risky. The investor can then continue their immigration process and apply for US Citizenship by Investment, which is optional and not conditioned by their EB-5 investment.
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