Direct Investment as an EB-5 Visa Path

 

With EB-5 regional centers being the most popular avenue for EB-5 visa applicants, many do not realize that direct investment as a path for obtaining an EB-5 visa holds many opportunities as well. In fact, the direct EB-5 investment pathway is underutilized among foreign nationals seeking an EB-5 visa. What is even more notable is that while the regional center program must be reauthorized by Congress, and thus is currently not a permanent option for seeking an EB-5 visa, the direct EB-5 investment option is a permanent law. This means that, absent some affirmative action by Congress to repeal the law, is the direct EB-5 investment pathway will always be available to immigrant investors.

Passive versus Active EB-5 Investment

Part of the appeal of the regional center program is that EB-5 regional centers allow EB-5 investors to take a more passive approach to investing funds. For many visa seekers, this is simply an easier way to invest, and that is understandable. Perhaps that is why over 95% of EB-5 visas granted each year are given to investors choosing to utilize the regional center program. However, for those who wish to utilize direct investment, it is not nearly as difficult as one might assume. It’s true that direct investment projects often require more involvement, but for many investors, that winds up being a very good thing. It is also possible to structure direct EB-5 investments as a type of passive investment.

A Multitude of Opportunities – Franchises

By using the direct EB-5 investment option, EB-5 visa applicants have a wider variety of opportunities to pursue. One of the best avenues is to become a franchisee for a brand well-established in the U.S. There is a huge benefit to investors who pursue this choice, as franchises make a great deal of information available to potential investors ahead of time (i.e. franchise disclosure documents and other public records). Compared to the information typically available through EB-5 regional center investments, the franchise route may offer a greater chance to evaluate success. In addition, franchising is regulated by both federal and state governments; in most cases far more so than passive regional center investments. Many franchises typically undergo regular audits and provide annual (or other regularly-scheduled) updates to investors. The investor also retains more control over the course of a direct EB-5 investment.

There are some drawbacks to using direct EB-5 investment as a path to the EB-5 visa, but many advantages also exist. The best advice is to have an experienced EB-5 visa attorney evaluate your particular situation. Call the expert EB-5 lawyers at David Hirson & Partners, LLP today to discuss your options with us.

 

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

Things to watch for in EB-5 extensions; contact an experienced immigration attorney at Hirson & Partners, LLP

3 Things to Watch in the Future of EB-5 Visas

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program begun in 1990 as a federal program to promote job and economic growth here in the U.S. by tying foreign investors and capital investments in qualifying projects in the U.S. These foreign investors were then given a path to a green card in return for their investments into the U.S. economy which are directly tied to creating at least 10 full-time positions for U.S. workers. While it was little-used at first, during the Great Recession of the late 2000s and early 2010s, EB-5 investment funds became an important source of capital funding during a time when bank financing and other types of traditional credit dried up.

Since 2015, Congress has repeatedly attempted to modify the EB-5 program in one way or another, but has thus far fallen short of implementing any change and has simply extending, the program as is. The latest extension, in March of this year, has caused U.S. developers and investors to look elsewhere for funding to complete projects. The following are three things to watch for (and be aware of) as we wait to see how the EB-5 program changes in the near future.

Some developers will hesitate on future projects.

Although this is to be expected, there are developers this year who may wait to initiate projects they had hoped to fund by EB-5 investors. Some of these developers are simply waiting until the end of the current six-month extension to see if Congress extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program yet again or substantially raises the minimum investment amounts, while others are looking elsewhere for project funding. The good news is, developers with projects already underway using EB-5 funds are typically still operating with a “full steam ahead” mentality.

Projects may seek less EB-5 funds in the future – or not.

Some projects are likely to seek less EB-5 funding out of caution of the changing program; however, EB-5 remains a consistent and important driver of these projects. The percentage of development funds that originate from the EB-5 program tends to grow larger as the scope of the project grows larger. In relatively small development projects, such as those with a total budget under $40 million, it is not uncommon to see only around 20-30% of funds coming from the EB-5 Visa program.

Existing projects may scramble to raise EB-5 funds during this latest extension.

Some good news for investors is that developers currently in the midst of fundraising for projects are viewing this latest extension as a golden opportunity to get investors in at the current minimum amounts before there is any chance of the U.S. government raising the minimum investment amounts. Investors who can get their required funds and application materials in order prior to the end of the current extension are encouraged to do so, since it could be the last chance to invest at the $500,000/$1,000,000 levels. While the construction industry is optimistic about the future of EB-5, now may be the best time to invest, since it is unclear when the U.S. government will increase the investment amount for the program or enact changes to the program. Failure to extend the EB-5 Regional Center Program could be fatal to EB-5 Regional Center project investors who have not yet been admitted as conditional permanent residents

One of the best decisions a potential EB-5 investor can make is to partner with an experienced EB-5 attorney working on their behalf, long before their application is drafted or filed. Whether you are committed to the EB-5 program or just considering it as one of many avenues, call David Hirson & Partners, LLP. Our attorneys are experienced immigration attorneys who have helped a multitude of investors successfully navigate the EB-5 and other U.S. visa programs.

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

EB-1, EB-2, EB-3: Learn the Difference in These Immigrant Visas [Infographic]

As a law firm focused on corporate and family immigration, our highly qualified immigration lawyers are often asked to explain the differences between different visas, specifically various business immigration visas. While all employment-based visa programs allow skilled foreign nationals to come work in the U.S., there is a vast difference in requirements between the EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 visas. Indeed, there can be very significant differences even within the subcategories contained within each visa type. Scroll down to see some of the major similarities and differences between the EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 visa programs.

EB-1 Visa Program

The EB-1 visa program is aimed at priority workers. There are 3 subcategories under the EB-1 visa: EB-1A (aka EB-1-1) for those with extraordinary abilities, EB-1B (aka EB-1-2) for outstanding professors and researchers, and EB-1C (aka EB-1-3) for multinational managers or executives. In general, all EB-1 applicants (regardless of subcategory) are often distinguished experts in their field, whatever that field may be, or those who are top management in their company and are trying to transfer to the U.S. The EB-1 visa can be one of the most difficult EB visas to obtain. Very few are admitted into the U.S. under the EB-1A and EB-1B subcategories, while slightly more applicants, in comparison, are successful in meeting the somewhat lesser standards required under EB-1C. Successful EB-1 applicants typically show extraordinary ability in the arts, sciences, education, or athletics. Alternately, they may be in the top management of a company with operations both in the U.S. and abroad. An applicant under the EB-1 program must demonstrate their willingness and capacity to continue their work and/or research in the U.S.

EB-2 Visa Program

If a potential applicant has an advanced degree or significant expertise in their area of work or study, they may apply under the EB-2 visa program. The requirements for this program are not as stringent as EB-1, although the benefits are also not as great (especially for applicants from China and India). There are two main subcategories for EB-2: those with an advanced degree and those with exceptional ability. Most applicants under the EB-2 visa program must have their petitions submitted by a potential U.S. employer, but some may self-petition under the National Interest Waiver (“NIW”) subcategory.

EB-3 Visa Program

The EB-3 visa program is the lowest qualification program out of the three covered in this blog post. While the good news is that qualifying under EB-3 is easier than EB-2 and EB-1, the bad news is that there is significant backlog for nationals applying from certain countries, waiting 10 years or more for visa availability. There is also no self-petition for an EB-3 visa. This category covers skilled workers with 2 years of training or work experience, unskilled workers, and professionals.

To learn more about these and other employment and investment visa programs, contact the corporate immigration lawyers at David Hirson & Partners, LLP. Our experienced lawyers will work with you from choosing the right program all the way through submission of the petition and beyond.

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