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Passed Appropriations Bill Extends the EB-5 Regional Center Program Through December 8, 2017

Congress reached a deal last week with the White House, that President Trump has subsequently signed, extending existing funding levels and other program authorizations (such as the EB-5 Regional Center Program) included on the last “continuing resolution” (“CR”) through December 8, 2017. The deal also increases the debt limit and provides disaster relief funding to hurricane victims.

The EB-5 authorization comes in Section 105 text of the deal which reads: Continues all authorities, requirements, and limitations from 2017 Appropriations Acts through the date in section 106 (December 8, 2017). Allows for valid obligations and expenditures during the period of the Continuing Resolution (CR). 

In the meantime, stakeholder groups such as IIUSA and the EB-5 Coalition continue negotiations with lawmakers on reforms to the EB-5 program. Key policy issues such as targeted employment area (TEA) designation methodology, minimum investment levels, visa number set-asides, and the effective dates of the new law are all interconnected and are being negotiated on almost a daily basis. The differences being debated in these topics are narrow and a framework for a bill is believed to be within reach.


USCIS Now Denying Advanced Parole for Individuals Who Leave the U.S. While I-131 Application is Pending

August 2017

This information only applies to foreign nationals planning to leave and subsequently reenter the U.S. with an advanced parole document while his/her adjustment of status is pending.

This information does not apply to foreign nationals who plan to travel on a temporary visa (i.e. H-1B, L-1, E-2/E-3, F-1, J-1, O-1/O-2, R-1) and who do not have a pending adjustment of status.



“Advanced parole” is travel permission granted to a foreign national who is already in the U.S. and is in the process of applying for a green card.

In technical terms, Form I-131 Application for Travel Document is filed to obtain permission to enter and leave the U.S. while Form I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status is pending. Individuals are not allowed to leave the U.S. while their Form I-131 is pending. Prior to now, an individual could re-enter the U.S. on a previously-approved advanced parole.

(H, L, K, and V visa holders have certain other rights which should be discussed with their immigration attorney prior to leaving the U.S.)


What is currently happening:

Form I-131 (both initial applications and renewals) are now being denied in instances where foreign nationals leave the U.S. even when the foreign individual already has previously-approved advanced parole. USCIS seems to now be enforcing the limited-view statement of law stating that an applicant cannot leave the U.S. while his/her Form I-131 is pending.

Even foreign nationals with H, L, or K visas (with valid multiple entry stamps) may not leave the U.S. while their Form I-131 is pending. If s/he leaves the U.S. while waiting for an application for advanced parole, the application for advanced parole is now considered to be abandoned and subsequently denied. This results in the foreign individual having to enter the U.S. on his/her valid H, L, or K visa.


What to do now:

It is now advisable for individuals who are filing Form I-131 while waiting for adjustment of status to NOT travel outside of the U.S. until the Form I-131 is approved (even if the foreign national already has a previously-approved Form I-131). Based upon current USCIS adjudication time, Form I-131 processing takes approximately 4 months. It is advisable to not leave the U.S. during such adjudication time.

You should contact the experienced immigration attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP with questions or concerns regarding your advanced parole or adjustment of status.

Tel: (949) 383-5358                          Email:                      


David Hirson & Partners, LLP at the EB5 Investors Magazine Conference in San Francisco

David Hirson & Partners, LLP is proud to have sponsored and presented at the EB5 Investors Magazine Conference in San Francisco on July 27 & 28, 2017. EB5 Investors Magazine continues to host high-quality events which provide anyone interested in EB-5 with a wealth of knowledge and an abundance of prime networking opportunities.

On the first day of the conference, firm partner, Mr. Nima Korpivaara, was the moderator on the “Source of Funds Issues” panel in the Agent Workshop. Nima and the panel discussed third-party transfer of investment funds, indebtedness, and common issues encountered with obtaining loans from companies. Migration agents from around the world were able to learn more about source of funds issues commonly encountered in Form I-526 EB-5 petitions.

The second day of the conference saw DHP’s other partner, Mr. David Hirson, moderating another panel regarding EB-5 investor source of funds issues. This panel spoke to the wider conference audience about recent trends seen in EB-5 investors’ source of funds. David moderated a panel comprised of top experts in this subject who were able to provide the audience with unique and helpful insights.


Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was the keynote speaker at the conference’s main lunch. Among other topics, Mr. Cruz spoke about supporting the renewal of the EB-5 Regional Center Program in order to continue creating full-time jobs for U.S. workers.


As we approach yet another “sunset” date for the EB-5 Regional Center Program, please contact our expert EB-5 team at David Hirson & Partners, LLP for more information about how to go through the EB-5 immigrant investor visa process or how to utilize EB-5 funding in your business.

Telephone: (949) 383-5358                  

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Direct EB-5 Investment vs. EB-5 Regional Centers: Which Immigration-Investment Path is Right for Investors?

Many prospective foreign investors who are interested in EB-5 immigration are unsure as to whether they should invest through an EB-5 regional center or if they would be better off directly investing in a project or business venture of their own creation.

This article explores the two pathways for EB-5 immigration – direct EB-5 investment and regional center investment – and how they differ.

The path you should choose will ultimately depend on what your personal goals and abilities are and how you prefer to use your abilities to meet your goals.

EB-5 Immigration through Direct Investment
If you are the kind of investor who would like to operate your own business in the United States, feels qualified to open and operate this business, and who is willing to operate this business under the scrutiny of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a direct EB-5 investment may be a good option for you. (Note that your new enterprise will also be subject to U.S. corporate, tax, and employment laws and regulations.)

If you plan to open and operate your own business in the United States, you must understand that to qualify for EB-5 immigration with a $500,000 investment, you will need to open that business in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). A TEA is a geographic area meeting certain requirements allowing it to qualify for the reduced $500,000 investment level. If your business is not located in a TEA, then the minimum investment required is at least $1,000,000.

Under either path, direct or regional center, each investor must prove to USCIS that the requisite 10 full-time U.S. jobs were created through the investment. The direct EB-5 investment option typically relies on direct-hire jobs. This means that the business that you open and operate in the United States must create (and document) jobs for at least 10 US citizens or permanent residents. This can be a very difficult requirement to fulfill, depending on the business type you undertake.

Also, with a direct EB-5 investment, you will be required to prove that you maintain direct ownership and some managerial control over the business that you open and operate in the United States. This means that you must be engaged in the management of your business and in making the decisions that come along with this kind of business. There are, however, some business models you can consider that will allow you to straddle the line between a hands-on and a more hands-off approach to the management of your business.

Generally speaking, the reasons that some EB-5 investors choose direct EB-5 investment immigration is because they:

  • Feel qualified to operate their own business
  • Want to manage their own business
  • Feel that if they operate their own business, their investment will be safer and offer them a higher return or security.


EB-5 Immigration through Regional Center Investment
The EB-5 regional center program is a perfect alternative for investors who want to qualify for EB-5 immigration, but who don’t want to be actively involved in operating an EB-5-invested business in the United States.

The regional center path has the same minimum investment requirements as the direct EB-5 investment path: an investment project located in a TEA currently qualifies for the lower $500,000 minimum investment while all other (non-TEA) investment projects currently require at least $1,000,000 to be invested in order to qualify under the EB-5 program.

Evidence of creating 10 full-time U.S. jobs must still be submitted to USCIS under this option. With the regional center path, the regional center and investment project work together to gather the necessary evidence for investors to prove that the necessary jobs were created.

David Hirson & Partners, LLP specializes in “pooled direct EB-5 investments” where direct EB-5 investors can potentially enjoy the benefits of regional center investments, depending on the investment project meeting certain conditions. Pooled direct investments will require the direct hiring of 10 full-time workers per EB-5 investor, but could also allow the investor other benefits created under the regional center path.

EB-5 immigration through regional center investment offers the following advantages to investors:

  • You will not have to work in the business
  • You will not have to live in proximity of the business, meaning that you can live anywhere in the United States
  • You will not be required to be actively engaged in managing or making decisions for the business.
  • The required U.S. job creation may include both direct and indirect jobs.

That being said, it is extremely important for you to work with your legal counsel and your financial advisor to choose the right regional center and project in which to invest your money. Performing proper due diligence before you invest will demonstrate that:

  • The investment meets the requirements for EB-5 immigration. In other words, that it will render you eligible to obtain a conditional green card through the EB-5 program and later a permanent green card.
  • The investment meets your requirements in terms of the type of return you expect on your money.

Again, the path to EB-5 immigration that you choose, be it direct investment or regional center investment, should reflect the kind of investor you are and align with your goals and abilities. For more detailed information on the subject, consult with an experienced EB-5 immigration lawyer.

Contact an Experienced EB-5 Immigration Lawyer
This article briefly explains the general differences between direct EB-5 investment and EB-5 regional center investment and their related advantages. However, there remains much more on the subject that you, your attorney, and your financial advisor can explore in more detail with the assistance of a qualified EB-5 immigration attorney. At David Hirson & Partners, LLP, we are familiar with the various requirements that an investor must meet in order to qualify for EB-5 immigration and can help you successfully navigate your immigration process.


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What Is an EB-5 Regional Center? [Infographic]

Organizations designated as “EB-5 Regional Centers” by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) facilitate the EB-5 investment process. Specifically, Regional Centers enable foreigners to invest money into projects which create at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs per investor. Regional Centers reduce certain hurdles in investment projects meeting the rigorous EB-5 job requirements. EB-5 capital from various foreign investors is pooled by Regional Center entities and then invested in economic development projects meeting USCIS’ strict regulations. Currently, Regional Centers are responsible for about 95% of all EB-5 capital invested in the U.S. economy.



DHP’s Vietnam Team: Educating Vietnamese EB-5 Investors and Migration Agents & Promoting International Exchange with the University of California, Irvine School of Law

Earlier this month, David Hirson & Partners, LLP’s Vietnam EB-5 Team worked in-country for ten days. They met with various clients and partners at conferences and meetings in both Ho Chi Min City and Hanoi.


Mr. Phuong Le, supervising attorney of DHP’s Vietnam team, helped old and new partners to understand current EB-5 conditions and educated the Vietnamese EB-5 market on some of the finer intricacies of the EB-5 process. Ms. An Nguyen, Director of DHP’s Vietnamese Marketing, was likewise on hand to discuss various aspects of Vietnamese source of funds.

Also while traveling through the country, DHP’s Vietnam team helped foster knowledge about the School of Law at University of California, Irvine (UCI). This school is one of the newest law schools in the U.S., and it has rapidly climbed the rankings to become a top-tier law school in the nation – ranked No. 28 by U.S. News and World Report. Part of DHP’s unique partnership with UCI’s School of Law includes promoting Vietnamese students to come and study at a top U.S. law school, educating and encouraging international exchange and understanding.

David Hirson & Partners, LLP is proud and honored to be working with our partners and clients in Vietnam. We are one of the very few EB-5 law firms in the U.S. with a team dedicated to Vietnam’s EB-5 market. Please contact our experienced team members for more details about the Vietnam EB-5 market or going through the EB-5 process from Vietnam.

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Preparing for Potential Changes to the EB-5 Program in Late 2017

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As we move through the summer Congressional season, we cannot be certain of what, if any, changes will be made to the EB-5 Program. Lawmakers may very well choose not to take action, which could lead to the EB-5 program being added to a Continuing Resolution alongside other programs. Furthermore, it is hard to have any confidence in the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) rulemaking process, as it seems that the entire process of making changes to the rules (EB-5 or otherwise) is at a standstill. That said, we understand that members of Congress or their staff members have made representations to DHS to reduce the proposed investment amounts.

Nevertheless, project developers and regional centers cannot ignore that changes to certain foundational aspects of the EB-5 program will happen. In such an atmosphere, regional centers and others who utilize EB-5 funding need to prepare for changes that might come about relating to transparency and regulatory consistency which will be added to the maturing EB-5 program.

Now is the time for both regional centers and project developers to create strategies for accommodating potential changes that may have to be made to EB-5 investment opportunities. Some of these have already been offered to the public or may be offered this summer. Developing a solid strategy with experienced immigration counsel before these changes take place is highly recommended.

The proposed changes to the EB-5 program will necessitate time for each investment opportunity or project. There is much to be considered from both the project and investor’s sides. That being said, here is a quick summary of the changes that are anticipated, and five things that regional centers and EB-5 project developers should be considering.

Changes to TEAs and the Minimum Investment Amount

A significant shift will occur in the way Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) are defined, altering the ability of an EB-5 project to offer TEA benefits. Some projects may be placed on the market with legitimate TEA status, only to have the rules regarding TEAs change in the interim.

We also know that the minimum investment required will increase. For investments made in TEAs the minimum investment amount might rise to $1 million or more. There is much speculation that it will only rise to $800,000.

Federal rulemaking procedures allow for the possibility that these changes could take place with a 30-day notice period contained in a final regulation which DHS publishes in the Federal Register, unless lawmakers take action beforehand.
It is possible that the pending DHS EB-5 regulation changes could take place at any time, probably with a minimum 30-day notice. This rulemaking could be preempted by new legislation.

Changes to how TEAs are defined and to the minimum investment amounts are likely to facilitate the need for significant changes to investment contracts for EB-5 financing. Additionally, there is discussion to have a certain percentage of EB-5 visas set aside each year for TEA vs. non-TEA projects. Current discussions have this percentage ranging from 7.5% to 20% of the yearly EB-5 visa quota set aside for TEA projects, with the remaining EB-5 visas allotted to non-TEA projects.

So, what can EB-5 project developers and regional centers do now?

  • Speak with your immigration and securities attorneys regarding how you should go about informing both your potential and existing investors of any changes in the TEA designations that may impact the deal or the immigration benefits.
  • Take steps to ensure that your investment contracts contain the necessary legal disclosures and mechanisms to deal with any change to the minimum investment amount. In new offerings, utilize flexible provisions that can capture whatever changes new TEA rules and investment amounts may take place in the future.
  • Once you know when and what EB-5 program changes will be made, be sure to work with your immigration and securities attorneys to properly notify potential investors. Any potential investor that has already received a solicitation or offer to invest may have to be informed of the changes in writing.
  • To steer clear of any conflicts of interest, advise your investors to secure independent legal advice in regards to any regulatory or legal changes to their ability to meet the requirement for the immigration benefits that their investment may provide.
  • A significant change in the minimum investment amounts can have an impact on the entire structure of an investment opportunity. Get both securities and corporate counsel involved in the process as soon as possible, preferably in advance of the changes taking effect. You might require revising important documents including: private placement offering memorandum, the business plan, econometric report, etc.

Clear and effective communication between you and your investors is essential. This is critical when the proposed changes to the EB-5 program take place.

With changes to the EB-5 program in 2017 almost a certainty, and knowing that the SEC will continue to focus its enforcement efforts on the EB-5 industry, it is extremely important to effectively handle the expectations of your investors.

You must implement a strategy that ensures that all investment risks have been clearly disclosed to your investors, regional centers and EB-5 project developers They may also want to review existing investment offerings to ensure that investment contracts can be revised by securities counsel in order to maintain current financing, despite significant alterations to the EB-5 program.

To learn more about the EB-5 program, contact the experienced EB-5 immigration attorneys at David Hirson & Partners, LLP today.

Telephone: (949) 383-5358      Email:       Website:

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.

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

EB-5 investment

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 ( 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.

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