There are two distinct EB-5 pathways for an immigrant investor to gain lawful permanent residence for themselves and their immediate family. One is the Direct Investment and the other is the Regional Center Pilot Program investment. As described below, both programs require the immigrant to make a capital investment of $1,000,000 (or $500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA)) in a new commercial enterprise located within the United States.
Direct Investment is not defined in EB-5 law and is an investment in which the investor must demonstrate that his/her capital investment has or will result in the "direct" employment of ten qualifying employees on the payroll of the business.
USCIS defines a Regional Center as any economic entity, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment. Once USCIS approves a Regional Center, it recognizes the economic entity as a designated participant in the EB-5 Pilot Program and acknowledge that the econometric models and business plans appear to be feasible and that jobs should be directly or indirectly created through investment in the approved industry categories. But USCIS approval of a Regional Center does not in any way constitute USCIS endorsement of the activities of that Regional Center, guarantee compliances with U.S. securities law, or minimize or eliminate risk to the investor. As of February 1, 2014, USCIS had approved approximately 440 Regional Centers.
Before selecting a Regional Center, click on the links below and perform your due diligence.
Whether through Direct Investment or Regional Center, potential investors are encouraged to seek professional business advise when making any investment decision.
Here are some common questions and answers:
What is a New U.S. business?
The investor can either create an original business, buy a business that was established after November 29, 1990, or buy a business and restructure or reorganize it so that a new business entity is formed. There are two exceptions. The first exception is that the investor can buy an existing business and expand it. The investor would need to increase either the number of employees or the new worth of the business by at least 40%. The investor would also need to make the full required investment of $1,000,000 or $500,000 depending on the location, and the investor would still need to show that the investment created the necessary jobs for U.S. workers. The second exception to the "new" commercial enterprise rule is that the investor can buy a troubled business and save it from going under. The investor would need to show that the business has been around for at least two years and has had an annual loss of 20% of the company's net worth at some point over the 24 months leading up to the purchase. The investor must still invest the full required amount but he/she is not required to show the creation of 10 jobs. Instead, the investor would need to show that for two years from the purchase date, the company employed as many people as were employed at the time of the investment.
Is the Required Minimum Investment Always $1 million dollars?
Generally, the minimum qualifying investment in the U.S. is $1,000,000. However, in Targeted Employment Area (High Unemployment of Rural Areas), the minimum qualifying investment is $500,000. A targeted employment area is an area that, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area experiencing unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate. A rural area is any area outside a metropolitan statistical area as designated by the Office of Management and Budget or outside the boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,0000 or more according to the decennial census.
What Capital Investment is Required and Where can the Funds come from?
Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, or other tangible property, cash equivalents and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the foreign entrepreneur, provided that the foreign entrepreneur is personally and primarily liable and that the assets of the new commercial enterprise are not used to secure any of the indebtedness. All capital shall be valued at fair market value in the United States dollars. Assets acquired, directly or indirectly, by unlawful means (such as criminal activities) shall not be considered capital for the purposes of section 203(b)(5) of the Act. Investment capital cannot be borrowed but gifts and inheritances are acceptable.
Selecting a Regional Center:
USCIS has indicated that Regional Center terminations will NOT automatically result in denials or revocations of Form I-526 or Form I-829 petitions. Instead, USCIS will hold the petitions until the Regional Center completes the Administrative Appeals Office appeal process.
Victims of Criminal Activity: U Nonimmigrant Status
The U nonimmigrant status (U visa) is set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.
Congress created the U nonimmigrant visa with the passage of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (including the Battered Immigrant Women’s Protection Act) in October 2000.
The legislation was intended to strengthen the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence, sexual assault, trafficking of noncitizens and other crimes, while also protecting victims of crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse due to the crime and are willing to help law enforcement authorities in the investigation or prosecution of the criminal activity. The legislation also helps law enforcement agencies to better serve victims of crimes.
In addition, certain qualifying family members are eligible for a derivative U visa based on their relationship to you, the principal, filing for the U visa. The principal petitioner must have their petition for a U visa approved before their family members can be eligible for their own derivative U visa.
Which crimes qualify for a U Visa?
Abusive Sexual Contact
Female Genital Mutilation
Fraud in Foreign Labor Contracting
Obstruction of Justice
Unlawful Criminal Restraint
Other Related Crimes*†
Certain foreign nationals may request employment authorization or work permit if they are eligible.
For some people, work permits are granted with your underlying immigration status (called “incident to status” employment authorization). For example, asylees and refugees have employment authorization as soon as they obtain such status. In these cases, your work permit is issued upon approval of your application. For other categories such as parolees or individuals with deferred action, USCIS must first approve your application before you are eligible to accept employment in the United States.
Temporary I-551 Stamps and MRIVs
A machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV) usually has the following text on it: “UPON ENDORSEMENT SERVES AS TEMPORARY I-551 EVIDENCING PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR 1 YEAR.” When a new immigrant first enters the U.S., U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will stamp the passport with an admission stamp that indicates the immigrant has permanent resident status and has the date the new immigrant entered the U.S. The employee’s foreign passport with the MRIV is evidence the employee has permanent residence status for 1 year from the date of admission. Even if the MRIV is issued without the statement “FOR 1 YEAR,” employers should treat the MRIV as an acceptable List A document valid for 1 year from the date of admission. If the stamp in the passport is endorsed and is near but not on the immigrant visa, it is still a valid endorsement.
You must allow employees to choose which document(s) they will present from the Lists of Acceptable Documents. In Section 2, an LPR may choose to present a List A document (such as Form I-551, Permanent Resident Card, commonly referred to as a Green Card) or a List B and C document combination (such as a state-issued driver’s license and unrestricted Social Security card).
Forms I-551 may have:
No expiration date. We issued these cards from January 1977 to August 1989.
A 10-year expiration date.
A two-year expiration date.
Temporary Form I-551 Requires Reverification
If an LPR or conditional resident presents one of the temporary Forms I-551 listed below, you must reverify their employment authorization:
List A receipt: The arrival portion of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, containing an unexpired temporary I-551 stamp and a photograph of the employee. They must present their Form I-551 to you no later than when the stamp expires, or one year after U.S. Customs and Border Protection issues the Form I-94 if the stamp does not contain an expiration date.
List A document: A foreign passport with either a temporary I-551 stamp or I-551 printed notation on a machine-readable immigrant visa (MRIV). They must present their Form I-551 to you when the stamp expires, or one year after the admission date if the stamp does not contain an expiration date.
Most MRIVs contain the following language on the visa: “UPON ENDORSEMENT SERVES AS TEMPORARY I-551 EVIDENCING PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR 1 YEAR.” The one-year time period begins on the date of admission. If the employee receives an MRIV without the statement “FOR 1 YEAR,” you should treat the MRIV as evidence of permanent residence status for one year from the date of admission.
If the stamp in the passport is endorsed “CR-1” and is near but not on the MRIV, it is still a valid endorsement.
Enter the number in red font under the MRIV “Expires On” date as the document number.
List C document: An expired Form I-551 with a Form I-797, Notice of Action, that indicates USCIS has extended the card’s validity. You must reverify the employee’s employment authorization in Section 3 before their extension ends.
Naturalization is the process to become a U.S. citizen if you were born outside of the United States. If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.
To apply for naturalization to become a U.S. citizen, you must:
Be at least 18 years of age at the time you file the application;
Have been a lawful permanent resident for the past three or five years (depending on which naturalization category you are applying under);
Have continuous residence and physical presence in the United States;
Be able to read, write, and speak basic English;
Demonstrate good moral character;
Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of U.S. history and government;
Demonstrate a loyalty to the principles of the U.S. Constitution; and
Be willing to take the Oath of Allegiance.
For detailed information and exceptions, including special provisions for those who have served in the U.S. military, please see Naturalization through Military Service.
Please visit our Citizenship Resource Center for additional information.
After You File
Once you file for Naturalization, you will receive:
Receipt notice confirming USCIS received your application;
Biometric services notice, if applicable;
Notice to appear for an interview, if required; and
Notice of their decision.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
What Is DACA?
On June 15, 2012, the secretary of Homeland Security announced that certain people who came to the United States as children and meet several guidelines may request consideration of deferred action for a period of two years, subject to renewal. They are also eligible for work authorization. Deferred action is a use of prosecutorial discretion to defer removal action against an individual for a certain period of time. Deferred action does not provide lawful status.
You may renew your DACA if you:
Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012;
Came to the United States before reaching your 16th birthday;
Have continuously resided in the United States since June 15, 2007, up to the present time;
Were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012, and at the time of making your request for consideration of deferred action with USCIS;
Had no lawful status on June 15, 2012, meaning that:
You never had a lawful immigration status on or before June 15, 2012, or
Any lawful immigration status or parole that you obtained prior to June 15, 2012, had expired as of June 15, 2012;
Are currently in school, have graduated or obtained a certificate of completion from high school, have obtained a general education development (GED) certificate, or are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States; and
Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more other misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
Anyone requesting DACA must have been under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. You must also be at least 15 years or older to request DACA, unless you are currently in removal proceedings or have a final removal or voluntary departure order.
Timeframe for Meeting the Guidelines
You must demonstrate that on June 15, 2012 you:
Were under the age of 31 years
Were physically present in the United States
Had no lawful status
Have resided continuously in the U.S. since June 15, 2007;
Had come to the United States before your 16th birthday
Were physically present in the United States; and
Are in school, have graduated from high school in the United States, or have a GED; or
Are an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States
Visas for Fiancé(e)s of U.S. Citizens
If you are a U.S. citizen who wants to bring your foreign fiancé(e) to the United States in order to get married, you will need to file a Form I-129F, Petition For Alien Fiancé(e). This is the first step to obtaining a K-1 nonimmigrant visa for your fiancé(e). The K-1 nonimmigrant visa is also known as a fiancé(e) visa.
In order to obtain a K-1 fiancé(e) visa, you and your fiancé(e) must intend to marry each other within 90 days of your fiancé(e) entering the U.S as a K-1 nonimmigrant. Your marriage must be valid, meaning both you and your fiancé(e) have a bona fide intent to establish a life together and the marriage is not for the sole purpose of obtaining an immigration benefit.
If your fiancé(e) marries you within 90 days of being admitted to the United States as a K-1 nonimmigrant, he or she may apply for lawful permanent resident status in the United States (a Green Card).
If you have already married, plan to marry outside the United States, or your fiancé(e) is already residing legally in the United States, your spouse or fiancé(e) is not eligible for a fiancé(e) visa. Go to the Bringing Spouses to Live in the United States as Permanent Residents page for more information about how to help your foreign spouse apply for a Green Card.
Defense against Deportation and Removal (Litigation)
In today’s immigration climate of heightened enforcement and security, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) frequently initiates removal proceedings against many foreign nationals for numerous reasons ranging from technical violations of the immigration laws, such as illegal entries and visa overstays, to more serious grounds such as immigration fraud, alien smuggling, and criminal history grounds. Our firm is a leader in the aggressive representation of individuals facing removal from the United States. The firm handles all aspects of deportation and removal defense before the United States Immigration Court and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), including bond and detention hearings and motions to reopen. Our firm has enjoyed great success in securing termination of removal proceedings and relief for our clients, allowing them to avoid the harsh consequences of removal and continue living in the United States.
There are two phases to a removal proceeding. In the first phase, the question of whether or not the person is removable is addressed. If removal charges are successfully contested, removal proceedings are terminated and the person is allowed to remain in the United States. In situations where a person is found by the Immigration Judge to be removable, the removal proceeding moves into a second phase where the question becomes whether the person is eligible for and deserves relief that would allow them to remain in the United States notwithstanding their removability. In the relief phase, our firm is expert on all relief applications including:
-Adjustment of Status
-Asylum and Convention Against Torture
-Cancellation of Removal for Permanent Residents
-Cancellation of Removal for Non-Permanent Residents
-Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA)
-INA § 212(c) waivers
-INA § 212(h) waivers
-INA § 212(i) waivers
-INA § 237(a)(1)(H) waivers
Appeals and Motions to Reopen
Our firm handles appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and to federal circuit courts of appeals, as well as motions to reopen for people who have already sustained a final order of deportation or removal.
Detention and Bond Hearings
Our firm specializes in securing the release of clients who have been detained by the Department of Homeland Security. Typically, this is accomplished through bond proceedings before the Immigration Court at the outset of removal proceedings or through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Adjustment of Status
If an individual was inspected and admitted and/or paroled into the United States and meets certain qualifications for resident status (commonly referred to as a green card), immigration laws permit the change of an individual's immigration status to occur here in the United States from nonimmigrant or parolee (temporary) to immigrant (lawful permanent residency). The common term for a change to permanent status is “adjustment of status.” Adjustment of status is the process by which an eligible individual already inside the United States can change or "adjust" their status to that of a lawful permanent resident status (a green card) without having to return to their home country to complete visa processing at the US Consulate. Consular processing is the alternate process where an individual who is outside the United States (or who is in the United States but is ineligible to adjust status) applies to obtain a visa abroad and if approved, enter the United States as a lawful permanent resident. See page Consular Processing for an alternative to Adjustment of Status. The Law Offices of Alexis Saab at 562-904-2622 can answer your questions, and help you navigate the complicated world of U.S. immigration law. Here are some common steps in the Adjustment of Status process:
1) Determine if you qualify for Adjustment of Status
In order to change adjust status, you must be certain that you have a basis or ground of eligibility. Determining whether you qualify requires the advise of an experienced professional who can advise you of any risks involved with applying. Determining which category best fits your situation is key. Here are some examples of category's:
Family Based: Family based categories require that a U.S. citizen or permanent resident relative file a Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative, for you.
Employment Based: Employment based categories most often require the intending U.S. employer to file a Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker, for you. Entrepreneurs who intend to invest significant amounts of capital into a business venture in the United States may file Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur” on their own behalf.
Special Classes of Immigrants: In some cases, certain immigrants may file a Form I-360, Petition for Amerasian, Widow, and Special Immigrant, or have one filed on their behalf.
Humanitarian Programs: Most humanitarian programs do not require an underlying petition but typically require additional requirements before filing for adjustment.
U-VISA, Domestic Violence and Crime Victims: Some individuals who were victims of certain crimes, may qualify for adjustment of status.
Depending on the category you qualify for, it is possible you may be eligible to have the petition filed at the same time that you file your application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. This is called “concurrent filing.” Immediate relatives of a U.S. citizen and certain other classes of individuals may be able to file concurrently. Most categories, however, require that you first establish your eligibility for the immigrant category by having an approved petition before you are allowed to file Form I-485, for these categories you will not be able to file concurrently. Please call our office at 562-904-2622 to discuss your options.
2) File (if you are eligible) your Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status Regardless with supporting documents.
3) Fingerprints/Biometrics. Appear for biometrics and an interview. The Government will conduct background checks before considering your case.
4) Attend your Interview before an immigration officer.
5) If approved, receive your Lawful Permanent Residency card.
Call the Law Offices of Alexis Saab today to see if you qualify (562) 904-2622.