EB-5 Visa, EB-5 Green Card


Andrew P. Johnson has been processing EB-5 Green card applications for the last 17 years. Mr. Johnson’s immigration law firm has represented applicants applying for the EB-5 visa from numerous countries around the world. Moreover, the primary issue with EB-5 applicants is proving the legal origin of funds for the EB-5 investment. Andrew P. Johnson is a requested speaker regarding EB-5 origin of funds. He has spoken to EB-5 investors groups in numerous countries abroad such as Istanbul, Turkey, Moscow, Russia, Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Tbilisi, Georgia.

In 2013, Andrew P. Johnson was invited to speak to over 30 United Nation Ambassadors regarding the EB-5 visa investor program. In 2015, Mr. Johnson was invited to Washington DC to speak to over 40 United States Ambassadors about the EB-5 investment program. Based on Andrew P Johnson’s experience regarding EB- 5 origin of funds, he has been invited to speak on Podcasts that go into intricate detail regarding the numerous ways in which EB-5 investors can prove their origin of funds. In addition, Mr. Johnson was invited to participate in a podcast to explain how to overcome the difficulty of transferring EB-5 investment funds out of a country that restricts individuals from moving personal funds abroad.

Andrew P. Johnson offers free consultation regarding the EB-5 green card program and he will review an applicant’s origin of funds, and if there are complications, Mr. Johnson will suggest legal routes and provide examples of legal ways in which to prove origin of funds to US CIS (the adjudicating Government Agency which evaluates the EB-5 investment application).

Finally, many EB-5 applicants primary question is “Which regional center should I choose for my EB-5 investment?” Mr. Johnson was interviewed on a podcast in which he explains the safety mechanisms EB-5 applicants should look for when they choose a regional center project. Most applicants want to see protection clauses within the private placement memorandum and completion guarantees by the developer and other safety measures which reduce the risk of having the EB-5 green card application denied. In the podcast, Andrew P. Johnson delves into intricate detail of what specific contractual clauses an EB-5 applicant should look for in a regional center project.

The Law Offices Andrew P. Johnson has handled EB-5 clients throughout the World, which is advantageous because US CIS requires specific documentation depending on nationality of the EB-5 applicant. Our staff speaks over 10 languages and we offer a free consultation regarding the eligibility of a potential EB-5 applicant.

How to Prove EB-5 Source of Funds?

The EB-5 Program is a visa program that affords foreign national entrepreneurs, their spouses, and their unmarried children under the age of 21 with an opportunity to obtain permanent residency in the United States while simultaneously stimulating the U.S. economy. The program is administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and requires applicants to invest $1,000,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the U.S. or at least $500,000 in a Targeted Employment Area.

A key aspect of the EB-5 application process is the applicant’s ability to establish that the investment funds have no ties to criminal activity. As a result, the EB-5 regulations require the applicant to prove both a “lawful source” of the funds and lawful “path” of the funds, meaning the funds were transferred to the U.S. commercial enterprise or investment by lawful means.

What Type of Documents Are Needed to Prove EB-5 Source of Funds?
To prove that the investment capital came from a lawful source, the EB-5 regulations require the applicant to submit:

• Foreign business records;
• Corporate, partnership, and personal tax returns or similar documents that were filed in the preceding 5 years;
• Evidence identifying other sources of capital; or
• Certified copies of court judgments, pending court cases, and administrative proceedings with the past 15 years.

How to Trace EB-5 Funds to their Original Source?

It’s important for the applicant to understand that the investment funds must be traced back to their original source. For example, if the funds to be used for the EB-5 investment are in a bank account the applicant will need to submit bank statements showing that the funds are in the account but must also document where the funds were before they were deposited into the bank account. The same rules apply if the EB-5 funds are tied up in real estate investments, stocks, or business accounts. All investment funds, even if they come from multiple sources, must be traced back in an unbroken chain to the original source. If the original source is a third party such as the case with a bank loan, gift from a friend or relative, or inheritance, the funds need to be connected back to the third party and there must be proof that they were lawfully obtained by the third party.

It goes without saying that proving the original source of the funds often requires the applicant to submit a considerable amount of documentation. This could include such things as bank, retirement, and stock account statements; documents memorializing real estate transactions and property taxes; loan documents showing that the applicant’s loans came from a lawful source; income tax statements; employment contracts and financial statements reflecting salary, earnings, and bonuses; and any documents that establish any type of business income.

This list is not exhaustive and the applicant could be required to trace a single set of funds through multiple layers of investment. For example, suppose the applicant is investing $1,000,000 and $500,000 of those funds are in a bank account. Additionally, suppose the $500,000 in the bank account originated as a $250,000 gift from family but grew over time to $500,000 as the result of several business and stock investments. The applicant must document these funds through each transactional layer beginning with proof that the $250,000 was a lawfully obtained by the individual gifting it, showing how the monies lawfully grew to $500,000 through stock and business investments, and ending with the statement reflecting $500,000 in the bank account. Also, keep in mind that this only reflects half of the $1,000,000 investment. The applicant would also be required to trace the other $500,000 back to its original source.

Additionally, the applicant should be aware that some commercial enterprises or EB-5 projects in the United States have administrative fees. Investment funds used to cover these fees must also be lawfully obtained by the applicant and traced back to a lawful source.

How to Prove the Legal Path of EB-5 Funds?

As far as proving the path of the funds, all of the same rules and requirements outlined above apply. The key is that there must be proof that the funds are being lawfully transferred from the EB-5 applicant to the United States commercial enterprise.

How to Prove EB-5 Origin of Funds for a Real Estate Transaction?

Finally, there could be situations in which the applicant is unable to provide some of the necessary documentation. Each source of funds will have a separate list of required documents to prove  a legal route for US CIS purposes. If an applicant was trying to prove their source of funds through a real estate transaction that was paid initially paid through the investor’s income, they would need to provide bank statements reflecting the deposits of their salary. The secondary evidence may be tax payments or an employment contract. These documents would prove that the funds were legally earned prior to the purchase of the real estate.

For a Real Estate purchase, documents needed would include a purchase agreement, property ownership certificate or deed, and thank statements showing payment for that property. Please note, in some countries this is not possible and declarations would need to be provided by their EB-5 immigration lawyer in order to supplement the lack of evidence. For example, the Russian banking system in the 1990s usually does not provide a clear path of funds as banks did not keep proper records and numerous banks opened and closed during that time leaving little or no records for the applicant to retrieve. Also, Vietnamese banks in the 1980s and 1990s were almost nonexistent with respect to tracing records and a path to prove origin of funds. In these circumstances, declarations would substitute bank records. In these situations, USCIS accepts declarations from the investor or someone who could attest to the specific information that would have been memorialized in the missing document.

Procedures and Timeline for Regional Center/Investor Filings

  • Investors file EB-5 petitions (Form I-526)
  • Approximate processing time 12 months or more (Processing times can and do vary)
  • Regional center files Form I-924A, annual reporting form filed annually
  • Investors file petition for removal of conditions (Form I-829)
  • 21 to 24 months after investor becomes conditional permanent resident
  • Approximate processing time 12 months or more (Processing times can and do vary)

 

Step Estimated Time Notes
EB-5 Investors filing I-526 Petitions 3 months or more Processing time can vary
EB-5 Investors receive 2 year permanent residency card 12-15 months Processing time can vary
EB-5 Investors file I-826 to 21 month from the date of 2 year green card 12 months or more Government processing time as of January Received 10 year green card
File N-400 for citizenship 5-7 months from initial green card 4 months Received US citizenship (optional) Applicant can choose to only have green card status

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Success Across The United States

Our Senior Partner, Andrew P. Johnson, was a government prosecutor until he started the immigration law firm in 1999. He has authored numerous articles on immigration and international matters which have been published by the American Bar Association and the American Immigration Lawyers Association. In 2013, Andrew P. Johnson was invited to speak to over 30 United Nation Ambassadors regarding the EB-5 visa investor program. In 2015, Mr. Johnson was invited to Washington DC to speak to over 40 United States Ambassador about the EB-5 investment program.

Client Reviews:

“I had a long and difficult case with immigration and Andrew Johnson and his staff kept us updated throughout the process told us how long it would be and told us to follow their instructions and we will receive a green card. With something so important as a green card is nice to have a strong attorney who can make sure everything is done properly. We felt very confident throughout the entire process because we knew we had someone who is an expert and we received a green card in 2018. They did a great job.

Senel Karnabat

New York Office

65 Broadway Suite 1603
New York, New York 10006

Andrew P. Johnson - Immigration Lawyer