EB-5 immigration: The Countries With the Most EB-5 Investors

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The EB-5 Investor Visa Program was established in 1991 to encourage foreign nationals to invest in the United States, and by doing so, stimulate the economy and create jobs for US citizens and lawful permanent residents. In exchange for this investment, the foreign investor will become eligible to receive U.S. green cards for themselves, their spouses, and children under the age of 21.

Qualified foreign nationals from any country can apply for the EB-5 Investor Visa. There are no restrictions based on nationality, although there is a yearly cap on the number of EB-5 visas issued to each country each year. The United States allocates 10,000 visas for EB-5 investors and their family members each year. Each country is limited to seven percent of the total numbers of EB-5 visas available, plus access to the unused visa quotas from other countries.

EB-5 immigration From Mainland China

The demand for EB-5 visas for investors from mainland China is greater than the yearly number of visas allocated to the country for EB-5 immigration. This means that it now takes significantly longer for an applicant from mainland China to receive an EB-5 visa than for a foreign national from another country.

Despite this, China has had the largest participation in the EB-5 visa program over the last five years. Approximately, 85% of all EB-5 visas granted over the past five years went to investors from mainland China.

EB-5 Immigration From Asia

Overall, foreign nationals from Asia have benefitted the most from EB-5 immigration. Between 2012 and 2014, Asian countries represented four of the top five countries with the highest number of investors receiving EB-5 visas. Currently, all top five are Asian countries.

The following nations routinely occupy the top spots when it comes to EB-5 immigration:

1.Mainland China;
3.South Korea; and

Foreign nationals from Hong Kong, India, and Vietnam have also been flocking to the EB-5 visa program. These three nations have experienced noticeable increases in the number EB-5 visas granted to their citizens over the last two years. Among non-Asian countries, a comparable trend has also been observed for EB-5 applicants from Brazil and Egypt.

EB-5 immigration From Iran

Iran, which between 2012 and 2014 ranked in the top five, has seen a steady decline in the number of EB-5 visas granted to their citizens over the past two years. In 2016, Iranians received only 28 EB-5 visas, compared to the 82 visas it received at its peak in 2013. A comparable trend can be seen with Japan, which received 70 EB-5 visas at its peak in 2013, but only received 25 last year.

EB-5 immigration From Non-Asian Countries

When it comes to non-Asian nations, Great Britain and Ireland share rank #7 for receiving the most EB-5 visas in 2016. Each nation had 25 EB-5 visas granted, twice as many as they received in 2014. Russia, Brazil, and Egypt are not far behind.

Contact an Experienced EB-5 Immigration Lawyer

Until a couple of years ago, the 10,000 visas allocated to the EB-5 program were enough to meet demand. But with the recent continued increase in demand from China, 10,000 visas are no longer sufficient. This means that the total wait time for applicants from China to be issued an EB-5 visa is currently approximately 4 years and getting longer.

For this reason, it is extremely important to obtain expert advice and to plan ahead. If you are looking to immigrate to the United States through the EB-5 program, consult with one of our experienced EB-5 Immigration lawyers at David Hirson & Partners, LLP. We particularly urge mainland Chinese-born EB-5 investors to obtain expert advice so your EB-5 application can be filed as soon as possible, securing your position in the EB-5 quota line.

Telephone: (949) 383-5358       Email: info@hirson.com       Website: www.hirson.com


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Update to USCIS Policy Manual – At-Risk Sustainment and Redeployment

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On June 14, 2017, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) released a revised version of its Policy Manual with edits made to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor section (https://www.uscis.gov/policymanual/HTML/PolicyManual-Volume6-PartG.html). The focus is on clarifying the definition of “sustainment” of EB-5 investment. This is of particular importance to Mainland Chinese EB-5 investors who face a very extended time period for the complete EB-5 process due to the visa backlog

The following is a brief summary and commentary on the changes:

1.Definition of “Period of Sustainment”

While EB-5 investors must sustain their investment in an entity that uses the funds to create at least 10 full-time jobs per investor, the investment must also be maintained for the 2 years of conditional permanent residency. In other words, the investment must be sustained exactly from the date that an EB-5 investor begins conditional permanent residency to 2 years later (the date that the investor’s Form I-829 petition is due). The clarification made by USCIS regarding the “period of sustainment” appears to allow repayment to investors can be made as soon as the 2-year conditional period of residency is over, so long as the job creation requirements have also been met.


In the event that a project has completed its plans to fulfill EB-5 job creation requirements but investors still need to fulfill the period of sustained investment (as explained in point 1 above), a project/Job Creating Entity (JCE) may return the EB-5 funds to the New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) to be redeployed into another at-risk venture that falls within the scope of the NCE’s business. I-526 petitions may still be pending adjudication at this point, investors may still be waiting for an EB-5 visa number to become available, and/or conditional residency may not yet have started or finished.

Unfortunately, USCIS has left a lot of ambiguity as to how redeployment is to be accomplished in actual EB-5 practice. We will have to see how USCIS adjudicates projects that didn’t include plans for redeployment in the original offering documents, or have redeployment plans which include mutual funds of publicly traded stocks, or how much detail needs to be included in redeployment plans (to avoid material change).

3.Effect of Regional Center Terminations on EB-5 Petitions

If RC termination happens before conditional permanent residency, it likely will be a material change. If afterwards, the investor may still be able to file an I-829 petition.

For I-526 petitioners: If a regional center is terminated prior to the start of an investor’s conditional residence, the I-526 petition will be denied or revoked based upon material change of the regional center. This affects those investors who received I-526 approval but were still waiting for their EB-5 visa.
For I-829 petitioners: If a regional center is terminated after the start of an investor’s conditional residence, the investor may continue their EB-5 process and file an I-829 petition based upon jobs created by the project.

These latest updates to the USCIS Policy Manual are important to understand and will most likely help to improve the EB-5 Program in the long-run. At present though, we must hope for more clarity to come through USCIS’ adjudications of cases in the near future.

For more information or answers to your specific circumstances, please contact our experienced EB-5 team.

Telephone: (949) 383-5385     Email: info@hirson.com       Website: www.hirson.com

How Chinese EB-5 Investors Are Creating, Not Stealing U.S. Jobs

President Trump’s attempts earlier this year at implementing a travel ban, the suspected religious animus behind those attempts, as well as the public support for the anti-China rhetoric prevalent during his presidential campaign, has given many in the immigration community cause for concern.

To many, these things seem to indicate that a large segment of the American public believes that China is actually stealing jobs from the United States.

However, what has been lost in all of the rhetoric is the fact that Chinese investors create thousands of U.S. jobs every year through channels like the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, which has generated billions of dollars for the U.S. economy since it was established in 1990.

In exchange for investing in a new or existing U.S. business or enterprise that benefits the U.S. economy and infuses it with new capital and new jobs, a foreign investor receives green cards for him or herself and their immediate family to lawfully immigrate to the U.S. Read more

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Navigating Taxes as an EB-5 Investor

As a potential EB-5 investor, you may have many questions concerning U.S. tax requirements. Will I have to file a tax return? How do I file my tax return? And how much taxes will I have to pay?

In short, as long as you earn income as a resident or citizen of the U.S., you have to file a tax return. All U.S. residents, citizens, and those eligible to pay taxes have to pay their stated fair share of the tax burden, enforcement of which is strictly adhered to.

Any income derived from participation in a regional center, whether on a profit or paid-out basis, may be subject to U.S. income tax or withholding. In addition, while an EB-5 investor’s home country may exclude income earned abroad from being taxed, or may allow their citizens to avoid taxation by residing abroad for a portion of the tax year, the U.S. taxes residents on all income earned in the U.S. and levies an estate tax on all worldwide holdings.

U.S. Tax for EB-5 Investors

It is highly recommended that all potential EB-5 investors seek a qualified and licensed tax professional who is well-versed in U.S. tax laws as well as the tax laws of the foreigner investor’s home country, allowing the foreigner to plan for the best tax program, and who can organize the applicant’s affairs prior to applying for conditional permanent residency status. All tax planning must be done before a foreigner becomes a conditional resident of the U.S.

That being said, here is a brief overview of what every potential EB-5 investors should be aware of with regards to paying taxes in the United States:

Once your I-526 immigration application has been approved, you will receive temporary permanent residency in the U.S. With conditional permanent residency, although you may not reside in the United States, you will be considered as a U.S. tax resident and will be subject to the same tax requirements as a U.S. citizen.

This means that each year, you will be required file a tax return declaring your total amount of income from the date of admission into the U.S. or adjustment of status to become a conditional permanent resident. Regardless of where you live, you will be required to report worldwide income and pay applicable taxes on that income.

If you fail to accurately report your income, it can affect your ability to obtain (unconditional) permanent residency status and your ability to become a U.S. citizen. You are, therefore, strongly advised to become familiar with basic immigration and tax requirements before you receive permanent residency in the U.S. This will enable you to avoid any serious tax issues. It is also a felony and large fines and/or jail time can be imposed on tax evaders.

Once you invest in the United States, the investment company will send you a Form K-1 or other tax forms each year. This form will indicate that you are an investor who has earned income in the U.S. and enable you to report this income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on either Form 1040NR (Non-Resident) for investors who are still waiting for their conditional permanent residency or Form 1040 once you have your conditional permanent resident status. It is important to be careful of which form you use to file. If an EB-5 investor who has already obtained a green card continues to file Form 1040NR, their residency and green card can be put in jeopardy as proof of residency in the U.S. (through tax filings) is an absolute requirement.

The deadline for filing a tax return in the U.S. is April 15th each year. Residents of the U.S. will have to file a Form 1040 and pay their income taxes. The filing deadline for overseas residents is on or before June 15th each year. Individuals with financial accounts of more than $10,000 US in non-U.S. accounts have until June 30th of each year to do their overseas financial reporting using Form TD F90-22.1. Of particular importance is the fact that the U.S. requires tax forms to be filed for any overseas account containing any equivalent amount of $10,000 US or more. This includes not only account’s under a foreign investor’s name, but also includes accounts that a foreign investor has signing authority over.

Contact an Experienced EB-5 Immigration Attorney

All foreign investors must plan ahead to successfully deal with the U.S. tax system. Proper tax planning prior to receiving conditional permanent residency can enable the EB-5 investor to significantly reduce their U.S. tax liability before immigrating. For more information and/or assistance with locating a qualified tax professional, contact our EB-5 immigration attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP today.

Telephone: (949) 383-5385     Email: info@hirson.com     Website: www.hirson.com

Disclaimer: No statements made in this blog are to be considered formal/legal recommendations. No attorney-client relationship is made herein and statements made herein are not to be relied upon without first seeking advice from the reader’s own professional advisers and counsel prior to making any decision.

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President Trump and Congress Extend EB-5 Regional Center Program Through September 30, 2017

On Friday, May 5, 2017, President Trump signed a bipartisan omnibus spending bill that was passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate earlier in the week. This bill funds the government as well as extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program through September 30, 2017, with no changes made to the program as of now.

  • Bill Text (p. 734):
    • SEC: 542. Section 610(b) of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1993 (8 U.S.C. 1153 note) shall be applied by substituting “September 30, 2017” for “September 30, 2015”.
  • Explanatory Statement (p. 65):
    • Section 542. A new provision is included extending the Regional Center program within the “EB-5” immigrant investor program authorization until September 30, 2017.

We at David Hirson & Partners, LLP are confident that this extension will allow EB-5 industry stakeholders and our elected government officials to work together to find the best future for this program that creates needed jobs for U.S. workers. There has been, and continues to be, much-needed dialogue about changes to the EB-5 Regional Center Program. A long-term resolution and reauthorization of the program would be very beneficial to the U.S. economy and local economies that have EB-5 projects in them.

If you are interested in learning more about the EB-5 program, its continuing reauthorization, or how to go through the EB-5 process, please contact our experienced EB-5 team at David Hirson & Partners, LLP today.

Telephone: (949) 383-5385     Email: info@hirson.com     Website: www.hirson.com


Two Pathways to an EB-5 Visa [Infographic]

In 1990, Congress established the EB-5 investor program in order to develop and flourish the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Depending on whether the investment is located in a targeted employment area (TEA), rural area or neither, investors are required to meet the current capital investment amount of either $500,000 or $1 million (subject to change in the near future). The Immigrant Investor Program requires all EB-5 investors to prove that their investment helped to create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within 2 years of the immigrant investor receiving their conditional permanent residency in the U.S. There are two pathways for EB-5 investment: Direct investment or Regional Center investment. Consider these requirements to determine which EB-5 pathway is best for you.  Read more

David Hirson & Partners, LLP Recognized as a Top Law Firm in Orange County Business Journal’s Special Report: Law Firms

In the March 20, 2017 issue of the Orange County Business Journal, David Hirson & Partners, LLP was recognized as a top law firm in all of Orange County, California. After less than three years in operation, this Business & Investment Immigration Law Firm is ranked #83 of law firms in the county.

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What You Need to Know About EB-5 Investment Immigration

The EB-5 investor visa program, which is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), offers foreign entrepreneurs the opportunity to obtain lawful permanent residence and citizenship in the United States.

The program has simultaneous objectives of immigration to the United States through eligible investment in a commercial enterprise and the creation of jobs for U.S. citizens and lawful residents.

Qualifying for an EB-5 Visa

To qualify, a foreign investor must meet three basic requirements:

Read more

The Evolving Role of EB-5 Counsel – Considerations for Multi-Party Representation in EB-5 Deals

David Hirson & Partners, LLP is excited to offer the following article, “The Evolving Role of EB-5 Counsel – Considerations for Multi-Party Representation in EB-5 Deals,” to our Vietnamese audience and clients.

The original English version is available to read here. This was originally written for and published in NES Financial’s publication: Navigating a Changing EB-5 Sector – Insights from Experts.

The attorneys at David Hirson & Partners consistently contribute to and publish expert insight in various EB-5 and immigration publications around the world.

If you would like more information about the future of the EB-5 Visa Program, integrity measures, or best practices, feel free to contact our experienced EB-5 team at David Hirson & Partners, LLP today:

Telephone: (949) 383 – 5358                 Email: info@hirson.com              Website: www.hirson.com Read more