eb5 direct vs regional center investment

EB-5 Financing: Direct Investment vs. Regional Center Investment

The EB-5 Visa program is a tried-and-true method of U.S. job creation that enables foreigners to seek a green card while investing significant funds into U.S. enterprises. Foreign nationals from many countries, but most particularly China and India, pursue the EB-5 path to U.S. residency. An increasing number of U.S. businesses rely upon EB-5 money to fund projects which create jobs for U.S. workers here at home.


The minimum investment for EB-5 immigration is currently either $500,000 or $1,000,000, depending upon whether the project is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). If the area is designated as a TEA, that means it is either rural or experiencing an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average. Regardless of whether someone seeking an EB-5 immigration path chooses to invest into a TEA, there are two main ways that they can invest their funds: direct investment or investment through an EB-5 regional center. Either way requires the foreign investor to create at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs, however, the methodology for counting created jobs is quite different depending upon the method of investment.


Direct EB-5 Investment


The first method is through direct investment. An example of a direct investment project could be an investor choosing to open a small hotel that will employ at least 10 people full-time. Unless the proposed hotel is located in a TEA, there is a minimum $1,000,000 investment requirement and the investor must clearly show that there is direct job creation of no less than 10 full-time positions to work at the hotel. Examples of direct job creation in this scenario would be a full-time manager, concierge, or maid. Under many circumstances, the minimum investment requirement does not feasibly create 10 jobs. The job creation requirement becomes particularly difficult when the minimum investment amount is lowered because the project is located in a TEA.


EB-5 Regional Center Investment


The second EB-5 investment method allows investors to invest in a qualifying project through an EB-5 Regional Center. By investing through a regional center, EB-5 investors can pool together funds into a single project and also be allowed to count indirect and induced job creation toward their 10-job minimum. An indirect job example would be a job created at an equipment manufacturer that supplies parts to an EB-5 project. Induced jobs would be jobs created within the community based upon the project’s needs or upon income spent by employees of the project (those that have “direct jobs” and do their shopping in the community).


There are many variables and moving parts when it comes to the EB-5 immigration path to residency. The best thing that a potential investor into the EB-5 immigration program can do is to hire an experienced and qualified law firm, specializing in EB-5 Visas, to guide them through the process. Contact the experienced 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

Tips to Ensure a Smooth Immigration Process

Relocation to a new country is exciting, but also challenging. The immigration process to the U.S. in particular is not always an easy one. However, there are many preventive measures that can be taken which increase the odds that any given immigration will go smoothly. David Hirson & Partners, your Los Angeles EB-5 visa lawyers, can offer several tips for those seeking to enter or remain in the U.S. under any program.

Tips to make the immigration process smoother


Prepare for delays

It is well-known that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is very backed up and takes a long time to process applications. Those needing to submit an immigrant application should submit ahead of time for any deadline. Do not wait until the last minute to turn in paperwork – those that have an expired legal status can be arrested or deported.

Explore various visa options

Sometimes, immigrants have several paths to citizenship available to them. The EB-5 visa is available to those who meet specific investor requirements. Other visa programs can be pursued if the investor’s family members are currently living as citizens in the U.S.

Follow program regulations

It is critical that the requirements for your visa, work permit, or green card application are thoroughly and correctly understood. Violating a seemingly small requirement can delay the processing of your visa, possible cancellation of your visa, or even deportation for you and/or your family members.

Hire a qualified law firm

The best tip is to hire an experienced lawyer to help you with the process. Trying a “do it yourself” approach often ends with your visa being denied based upon technical issues, such as lost paperwork or missing minor documentation. Working with the skilled lawyers at David Hirson & Partners will maximize your chances of a smooth immigration process from start to finish.

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

Finding a qualified eb-5 lawyer

What to Ask When Choosing an EB-5 Immigration Lawyer

Finding a highly qualified EB-5 immigration lawyer to assist you with your immigration journey is of utmost importance in ensuring that you and your family have the best possible chance for approval. However, there are many immigration attorneys out there who have started to take on EB-5 work without having the skills and experience to provide that chance. Considering the political climate of the U.S. government as we head into 2018, it’s more important than ever to choose an attorney who knows how to navigate the waters of EB-5 applications, including advising on projects and regional centers with proven track records. Here are three questions you should ask before hiring someone to help you obtain your EB-5 visa.


  1. What are your I-526 and I-829 approval rates?


This information, when provided honestly and accurately by a lawyer, is very valuable for potential investors. It is an insight into the end result that you are hoping to achieve yourself. Track records of approvals should be a material factor in making your decision of which firm, and which lawyer, to trust. If the EB-5 immigration lawyer you are talking with cannot or will not provide their approval rates, it’s time to find someone who will. (Please note that while past success does not guarantee future success, past success does enhance the possibility of future success.)


  1. What is your approach to proving source of funds?


The source of an applicant’s investment funds is one of the primary issues to be addressed with an EB-5 applicant. Tripping up in this area is a major reason for denial of an application. (If you use a third-party service provider in your home country, be sure to also ask them about their success rates.) Sourcing funds requires a knowledge of U.S. laws and also some familiarity with the applicant’s home country. Which leads us to our third question…


  1. What experience do you have with applicants from my country?


Every EB-5 application is different, and so is every EB-5 applicant. However, some things about the process can be generalized based upon the home country of the applicant, and it’s crucial that the chosen EB-5 immigration lawyer has proven experience with the applicant’s country. Ask your EB-5 lawyer how many applications they have processed from your country, and how many of those have been successful. If they have never worked with an applicant from your country before, don’t let yourself be the first test case!


Find an experienced EB-5 immigration lawyer who knows the ins and outs, including how the tax laws of your country affect sourcing of funds in your application. Contact David Hirson & Partners, LLP today for help with your EB-5 immigration process.


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

EB-5 Regional Center Program Extended Until February 8, 2018

EB-5 Regional Center Program Extended Until February 8, 2018

On January 22, 2018, President Trump signed a bill into law which extended Continuing Appropriations for federal government services to February 8, 2018. Congress and the President agreed on this bill to allow the U.S. government to start full operations after shutting down for three days. This action also extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program (with no changes) until February 8, 2018. Also extended were the Conrad 30, E-Verify, and Religious Workers immigration programs.

If you have any questions about how this extension will affect your EB-5 immigration plans or EB-5 Regional Center operations, please contact our experienced team of EB-5 professionals who will provide you with the best possible advice.

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

David Hirson & Nima Korpivaara Recognized by Eb5 Investors Magazine

David Hirson and Nima Korpivaara of David Hirson & Partners, LLP Recognized Again as Two of the Top Twenty-Five Immigration Attorneys by

Eb5 Investors Magazine

Hirson and partners recognized by eb-5 magazine top 25

Both Mr. David Hirson and Mr. Nima Korpivaara were again recognized as being two of the top twenty-five immigration attorneys in the EB-5 industry. Every year, Eb5 Investors Magazine polls the EB-5 industry to find out who is contributing most to the industry. David and Nima, both partners at David Hirson & Partners, LLP (“DHP”), have been recognized by this poll for the last few years. David and Nima are grateful and proud to be recognized by their hard-working peers. Both would like to thank the hard-working attorneys and staff at David Hirson & Partners, LLP who work tirelessly to ensure their clients achieve their corporate immigration goals.

The same issue of Eb5 Investors Magazine also included an article co-written by DHP’s Mr. Phuong Le (along with Aaron Goforth of Baker Tilly Capital and Osvaldo Torres of Torres Law P.A.). “Practical Steps for Investors in Traditional & Merging Markets Considering Regional Center Versus Direct EB-5 Investments” discusses some considerations potential investors should take into account when it comes to selecting the route for their EB-5 investments.

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


EB-5: A Tool for U.S Economic Revitalization [Infographic]

Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma ravaged the southeastern United States late in 2017, leaving behind billions in damage- both to homes and to businesses.

Rarely thought of, the capital raised by the EB-5 program is ready to be utilized in the rebuilding efforts: $274 Million in Houston and $885.5 Million in Miami.

This highlights the extraordinary power of the program to do good for local communities affected by natural disasters. Check out the following infographic to learn more.

EB-5 Capital & Disaster Relief

eb-5 visa vs eb-2 visa

Why the EB-5 Visa is a Better Option than the E-2 Visa

An ever-growing number of foreign investors are establishing their livelihood and their lives in the U.S. by choosing to inject their capital into the U.S. economy. Many investors are choosing to apply for one of the EB-5 visa spots, while some are going a more temporary route using the E-2 visa. Our Los Angeles EB-5 lawyers understand that the significant differences between the two require taking a look at the pros and cons of each for every prospective applicant. However, while the E-2 visa has many attractive attributes, including a significantly lower capital investment requirement, the EB-5 is a better and broader alternative for those looking to resettle in the U.S. Here are three important differences between the two types that showcase reasons why the EB-5 visa is the superior route.


The EB-5 Visa Allows You to Bring Family Members


The EB-5 visa can allow your immediate family members to come to the U.S. with you. This includes spouse and children only, but it is a significant advantage in the world of visas. The E-2 visa is only for the investor himself or herself and does not facilitate the entry of family members.


The EB-5 Visa is Open to a Broader Range of Countries


EB-5 visa holders come from a broader range of countries because this type of visa has fewer limitations on country of origin. E-2 visa holders must come from a treaty investor country, i.e., a country that is a party to the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation. For many prospective visa applicants, this restriction bars them from applying for an E-2 visa altogether, but does not bar them from applying for an EB-5 Visa.


The EB-5 Visa Paves the Way for a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)


The EB-5 visa is an immigrant visa, which can lead to a green card and permanent resident status for its holder. An E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa, which can be renewed without limit but cannot lead to obtaining permanent residency in the U.S. This immigration intent is one of the reasons for the higher investment requirement of an EB-5 visa, which in most instances is $1,000,000 but in certain cases can be as low as $500,000. While an E-2 requires an initial investment of only $100,000, the applicant must show “non-immigrant intent” when applying with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Therefore, for those applicants seeking a way to permanently establish themselves in the U.S., the EB-5 visa is the obvious choice.


If you are considering the EB-5 visa or have further questions about the differences between the EB-5 and E-2 visas, contact David Hirson & Partners, LLP today.


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

eb-5 immigration attorney

The Importance of Using an Experienced EB-5 Immigration Lawyer for Your EB-5 Application

Through the EB-5 visa program, foreign investors who contribute a minimum of $1,000,000 to a qualifying U.S. venture can enter the U.S. with their immediate family members (their spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age). Under certain conditions, the minimum investment can be lowered to $500,000 for projects operating in Targeted Employment Areas. Successfully finding and investing in a qualifying EB-5 project  is one of the first steps toward obtainment of a U.S. green card and lawful permanent residency. However, the immigration process is littered with traps for the unwary, which is why hiring and working closely with an experienced EB-5 attorney is especially important. One small misstep may put you months or years behind in your immigration process, or can very well cost you the approval of your immigration petition. Here are some of the most compelling reasons to use an immigration lawyer when applying for an EB-5 visa.

There Are Requirements Beyond Simply Investing the Minimum Investment Amount

When talking about the EB-5 visa program, the most common preliminary question is the cost of the initial investment. (It is important to note that a significant increase in the minimum investment amount is expected to occur within the next six months or so.) However, there are many requirements beyond the monetary investment, and the application process is hindered whenever a step in the application process is taken without fulfilling or submitting all necessary requirements. By working with an experienced EB-5 visa lawyer directly, you can rest more assured that every requirement is met in a timely manner, including having a well laid out report documenting the source(s) of investment funds.

Working With Your EB-5 Lawyer From the Beginning Helps Pave the Way to Your Future in the U.S.A.

The short-term immigration goal is to apply for and obtain an EB-5 visa for the immigrant investor and his or her immediate family members. In the long-term, though, most investors desire to stay in the U.S. with their families as permanent residents. Establishing a relationship with an experienced EB-5 immigration lawyer now will mean you have the advantage of a lawyer’s advice for how to transition from EB-5 visa applicant to green card applicant. When the goal is to become a lawful resident, it is even more important to have the wisdom and experience of a knowledgeable EB-5 lawyer on your side from the very beginning.

The Paperwork is Important – But Often Confusing

EB-5 visa applicants are some of the smartest people out there, and they’re ready to put in the time and invest the money necessary to make their dreams a reality. Even the smartest investor, however, can easily become buried in the paperwork surrounding visa applications and immigration processes in general. For those who are not used to U.S. laws and regulatory workings, it is a huge chance to take on what is already a very competitive slot for an EB-5 visa. Using an experienced EB-5 visa lawyer is the smartest way to ensure you have every advantage in the application process.

Contact David Hirson & Partners, LLP today to learn more about how we can assist you in your EB-5 immigration process.

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


DATE:            November 10, 2017

FROM:           David Hirson & Partners, LLP

SUBJECT:      Summary & Analysis from USCIS IPO EB-5 Stakeholders Meeting – November 7, 2017

*NOTE: The following is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with your counsel for advice specific to your situation and needs.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (“USCIS”) Immigrant Investor Program Office (“IPO”) hosted an EB-5 Stakeholders meeting in New York on November 7, 2017. IPO representatives provided some valuable guidance into issues while leaving many questions yet to be answered. Please see below for a summary/analysis of pertinent points:

  1. Processing Order for I-526 Petitions – No “FIFO;” Project First, I-526 Petitions Second

IPO went as far as to admit that they do not adjudicate I-526 petitions on a strict “First In, First out” (“FIFO”) basis. Rather, IPO organizes adjudication of EB-5 petitions by individual projects and each adjudication team is assigned certain projects which are adjudicated after coming in and the team has capacity to move on to adjudicating that project.

The main takeaway is that project review always comes first, followed by the associated I-526 petitions on a FIFO basis. Thus, there are two scenarios that illustrate when the FIFO “clock” for the investors actually begins:

  1. Projects with Exemplar

In this situation, IPO will review project documents first and then adjudicate all associated I-526 petitions afterwards.

  1. Projects without Exemplar – Project Review begins after Two I-526 Petitions are Received

If an exemplar has not been filed, IPO will generally wait to receive at least two (2) I-526 petitions for a project before reviewing the project documents. If the project is EB-5 compliant, IPO will then adjudicate the remaining I-526 petitions.

Thus, it may become a practical necessity for Regional Centers/Projects to file exemplars, whenever feasible, if the goal is to speed up I-526 adjudication. It is already becoming a standard expectation from the EB-5 market, so not much may change.

  1. Exemplar Filings – Include a List of Associated I-526 Petitions

IPO made it clear that when filing an I-924 Exemplar, it would make their life easier if a cover letter listing all I-526 petitions filed under that exemplar was included. Note that Regional Centers should already have this information on file and the list would be similar to the supplement that is filed with the I-526 petitions. On approval of an exemplar, it may be advisable to update the list of filed I-526 cases associated with the project.

  1. Filing of Form I-924A

For the annual I-924A report, IPO stressed that they want RCs to provide accurate accounting/estimates of job creation for all projects under sponsorship.

Specifically, IPO expects “live updates” on the number of jobs created for the Fiscal Year being reported on. Regional Centers should calculate job creation by using (1) the same economic methodology that’s contained in their project’s economic report and (2) updating the corresponding job creating inputs for the past Fiscal Year.

In plain English, projects need to take the budget (or other input used in the economic report) they submitted with their business plan and update what progress they have made that fiscal year. Essentially, it is a yearly update one usually prepares for the Form I-829 petition’s job creation analysis.

Note that the information must be based on the past Fiscal Year to be credible and it’s no longer acceptable to merely count jobs based on the number of approved I-829 petitions.

Finally, the I-924A must be filed at the California Service Center (not the IPO office) by December 29, 2017.

  1. Material Change & Switching Projects/RCs after I-526 is Filed

This was the longest discussion during the call. All roads lead back to Matter of Izummi and Chapters 4 & 5 of the Policy Manual, but even then, it is unclear if IPO is understanding the questions being asked.[1] This will probably be revisited in a future stakeholder engagement.

One major issue that was discussed was when can an investor safely transfer to a second project if there’s a problem with the Regional Center or project. Part of the answer here depends on if the contemplated switch is to occur before or after the investor receives Conditional Permanent Residence (CPR). However, not much clarity has been provided after that.

  1. Before CPR (I-526 Pending Adjudication)

Unfortunately, there are not many options for the investor here. IPO stated that the following scenarios will be considered a material change if it occurs before an investor attains CPR and consequently will result in grounds to deny an I-526 petition: RC termination/loss of designation (even if another RC takes over the project), switching NCEs, and switching projects/JCEs.

It appears that IPO is taking the stance that if a project is under investigation and a receiver is appointed to take over the NCE/project, then this is not necessarily a material change. It appears that the rationale is that if the underlying purpose of the NCE remains the same, the project remains the same, and that the project will otherwise be completed, then a mere change in management of the NCE will not necessarily negatively impact the investors. However, whether this is true is unclear.

On the other hand, IPO appears to be taking a hardline stance that if the RC is terminated or loses its designation, then that is an automatic material change and consequently a denial. This was a controversial point and was met with immediate resistance.

  1. Between CPR and Filing of I-829

If the investor has obtained CPR, then he has a few more options. IPO appeared to allow an investor to switch projects, but was unclear what procedures or steps must be taken. It appeared that IPO was stating that it would only be acceptable if the funds are returned to NCE1, which will then invest into NCE2 and the second project. It appears that IPO is also requiring NCE1 to remain operational during this entire process.

  1. Reinvestment of EB-5 Funds into a Second Project (Scenarios)

The following are the scenarios that were also discussed and ones that are likely to be encountered in situations involving a failed/troubled investment:

  • If a project has failed, but the EB-5 funds were not spent (i.e. money held in escrow), then can the funds be reinvested to another project where 10 jobs have been created? Likely answer is yes, but must be aware of timing so that the reinvestment is not considered a material change.
  • If the funds have been spent, and the project fails so that the investment has been completely lost, can the investor become a member of a new NCE with no further investment and no jobs created or insufficient jobs created by the first JCE? – Likely answer is no.
  • If funds have been spent, only 5 jobs have been created, can remaining funds be redeployed to another project to create 5 more jobs to meet the required 10? May have to deal with both a timing issue (for material change) and a nexus issue (would some of the EB-5 funds have to be invested in Project 1 and Project 2 to establish nexus?).
  1. Completed Project – Redeployment of Funds
  • If funds have been spent, 10 jobs have been created, however, I-829 is pending (e.g. China backlog), so funds must be redeployed to another project to ensure funds are “at risk.” If 10 jobs have already been created by the first project, is the investor required to create another 10 jobs from the second project? – EB-5 eligibility is already locked in. (this is true even if RC is terminated at this stage).
  1. Bridge Financing

There is apparently some controversy about how IPO is deciding what is acceptable bridge financing for EB-5 projects, but without specific facts, it’s unclear if this is a widespread policy change or a problem with an individual case/rogue adjudicator. One issue that IPO was adamant about was that when EB-5 funds are being used to repay bridge financing, the EB-5 funds must flow from the NCE to the JCE, who can then pay the bridge facility. The NCE cannot pay the bridge facility directly (because the EB-5 funds would not be made “fully available” to the JCE).

Typically, when discussing bridge financing, the focus is generally on 3 factors: (1) temporal (when must it be contemplated), (2) procedural (do you need a MOU or agreement), and (3) nature/purpose of financing being repaid. Of the three, the last one is arguably the most important.

Implicitly, for bridge financing to be acceptable the “short-term” financing that is being repaid with EB-5 funds must have been spent on costs related or necessary to the project (in other words, a project-related nexus). On one end of the spectrum, a short-term loan to pay for construction costs in advance of the EB-5 loan closing is uncontroversial. On the other hand, IPO has specifically rejected (including during this call) the use of EB-5 funds to buyout developer/owner equity or to pay down permanent financing. This makes sense if we look at it from an economic policy standpoint. The first situation has a direct nexus to the project’s development and thus creates economic benefits to the surrounding community. The second situation provides no economic benefit (or jobs) to the community because EB-5 is being used to facilitate a paper transfer of wealth or to refinance and help lower the cost of capital for a project.

Our firm will share our thoughts on this issue in a separate article, but we expect this topic to be revisited again in a later engagement.

  1. Miscellaneous Points:
  • I-485 interviews will become a standard requirement for all petitions, including EB-5 petitions.
  • A number of practitioners (including our office) have reported that they never received physical copies of RFEs/NOIDs despite receiving online case updates that they have been mailed out and requesting them from CIS Customer Service. Thankfully, IPO said they are aware of the issue and that it should be resolved now.
  • IPO reiterated that the only way for a RC to expand its geographic designation is through a Form I-924 filing.
  • IPO again confirmed that the “sustainment/at-risk period” ends once the two-year CPR period is over.

Contact our expert EB-5 team at David Hirson & Partners, LLP for more information about you specific EB-5 situation and needs.

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


[1] For reference, a material change is one that affects an investor’s decision-making at the time of filing the I-526 petition. Under Matter of Izummi, a petitioner must establish eligibility at the time of filing and that a petition cannot be approved if, after filing, the petitioner becomes eligible under a new set of facts or circumstances.

Indian immigration

Why the EB-5 Visa is the Best Immigration Option for Indian Immigrants

Note: While this post focuses on foreign nationals from India, all of the immigration options discussed here can apply to foreign nationals of any country except for those born in Mainland China.

Out-of-country investors seeking permanent residency can breathe a sigh of relief if they have not yet started their visa process. The EB-5 Investment Visa program was set to expire on September 30, 2017, but was granted an extension through December 8, 2017. This program allows qualified foreign investors to obtain their green cards within approximately two years, if they carefully follow the EB-5 program requirements. Indian immigrants make up a significantly-growing portion of EB-5 Visa applicants, and the EB-5 Visa is a good choice for them. This is especially true now that all slots for H-1B Visas (a very popular immigration option for Indian nationals) have been filled for the 2018 fiscal year.

H-1B Visa Program Slots Filled

The H-1B Visa is a popular choice for immigrants from many countries, but it is particularly utilized by Indians and Chinese working in the IT sector for U.S. companies. However, the available slots for H-1B Visas fill up fast through the lottery system. Once those chances are gone, the next best option for many Indian nationals is to apply through the EB-5 Visa Program. In fact, since the H-1B Visa depends upon continued job placement with the sponsoring employer, the EB-5 Visa is seen as a more stable, albeit more costly, path to residency.

EB-5 Visa Program Extended

H.R. 601, the “Continuing Appropriation Act,” has extended the EB-5 Visa for qualified immigrant investors. This extension ends on December 8th of this year, which means we will likely see an influx of applications for the program within the next two months. Indian students who have studied in the U.S. but were unable to obtain a visa through their employer might be able to qualify for residency under the EB-5 Visa Program. However, they must act quickly with the help of an experienced EB-5 Visa attorney – and, most likely, with the help of their parents in putting together the $500,000 minimum investment.

Changing Guidelines are Coming

For Indians and others with access to the capital to take advantage of the EB-5 Visa Program, the time is now. Not only is the December 8, 2017 cut-off approaching, but there is a strong probability that changes are coming to the program sooner rather than later. Guidelines on various visa programs may change as soon as late 2017 or early 2018. One proposed change, to increase the minimum investment amount in the EB-5 Visa Program to $800,000 (and as high as $1.8 million US for projects located in areas that don’t qualify for a lower investment amount), would be particularly hard on Indian students turning to EB-5 only after having been declined in the pool for H-1B Visas. And H-1B Visas may undergo a change in guidelines as well, with one proposed bill aiming to more than double the minimum salary requirements for American companies employing immigrants through the program.

To learn more about your business immigration solutions, contact the experienced  immigration attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP today.

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