In order to be eligible for an EB-5 immigrant visa through the USCIS for the purpose of business immigration, you are required to invest in a new commercial enterprise or in a regional center project that has or will create at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs.
You are also required to submit documentation proving that the investment funds were “obtained through lawful means” and that they followed a lawful path in being transferred to the new commercial enterprise or regional center project in the U.S.
The law cites four categories under which a petitioner can prove that he or she has invested, or is actively in the process of investing, funds that were lawfully acquired:
- Foreign business registration records;
- Corporate, partnership and personal tax returns including income, franchise, property, or any other tax returns of any kind filed within the last five years;
- Evidence identifying other sources of capital; or
- Certified copies of any judgments or evidence of all pending legal cases, administrative proceedings within the past fifteen years.
To assist you in collecting the evidence needed for your EB-5 application, here are a few tips that we recommend you to consider as they relate to each of the categories above:
1. Business Records
Firstly, you should provide a brief summary of each business in which you are currently involved or have been involved. This summary should highlight the following details:
- What the business does
- When it was established
- Who owns it
- Its ownership structure
In addition, you can provide your business registration records, documents that show that you are the proprietor, director or an employee of the business, your website address, your business and promotional materials, or whatever documents that show your relationship to the business.
If you have sold interest in a business that led to you realizing a capital gain, you can show the documents regarding the sale of the business along with any government approved business valuation reports and/or accountant’s report showing the value of your business.
It is particularly important to show and prove that you have a legitimate source of income. So, try and supply your individual, partnership, corporate, or any other tax returns you have filed in the last five years, whether they are audited or not.
As this pertains to your employment, if you earned the funds that you have invested through employment, you should provide your related income tax returns, salary reports, tax deduction documents, as well as, your employment contract.
3. Others Sources of Income
If you have income from sources other than business or employment, such as speculative investments, real estate holdings, gifts, inheritance, divorce settlements, lawsuits settlements or judgments, or even lottery winnings, they should also be properly documented as part of your I-526 application.
To begin with, if you have made any speculative investments that have paid off over the last two years, submit a record of these investments, as well as, the bank statements relating to these investments.
If you own any real estate, you should include a summary of each property with your application. This should include information specifying the location and address of the property, the date you made the purchase, the price you paid for the property, how you arrange for financing, etc.
In addition, you should provide documents that show how you acquired the real estate in the first place. This may include deeds of sale, trust documents, and mortgage papers. If you acquired a loan to invest in a particular property, then you should provide the loan documents as well.
Furthermore, if you have had the real estate appraised by a government approved appraiser, you could attach these documents to your application along with copies of lease or rental agreements for any rental property through which you are receiving regular income.
4. Judgments, Legal cases, and Administrative Proceedings
Any legal actions which ruled in your favor or against you should also be properly documented as part of your I-526 application. Keep in mind, the USCIS will take a close look at any legal actions in which you were involved to find evidence that the funds you have invested were earned through criminal activities or by fraud.
Proving that your funds followed a lawful path
Lastly, a critical part of your I-526 application is evidence related to the transfer of the investment funds to the U.S. Any confirmations, deposits slips, and bank statements that show the withdrawal and deposit of funds that were electronically transferred, as well as, the bank letter that confirms the wire transfer will all be instrumental in proving that the funds followed a lawful path to the new commercial enterprise or regional center project in the U.S.
Contact an Experienced Business Immigration Attorney
Preparing an EB-5 application along with the necessary documents and evidence can be very complicated. So, guidance from a legal professional can be indispensable. An experienced EB-5 attorney will be familiar with the various requirements that an EB-5 applicant must meet and can help you navigate the system successfully.