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One often hears some rich reaching out to U.S.A. by investing huge money there under a program which encourages creation of jobs in rural areas with lots of unemployment. Seemingly, it does not promise any return of investments but promises offbeat path of permanent residency in U.S.A. popularly known as Green card. Mostly popular among super rich in India and elsewhere, this scheme is technically christened as “E B 5 program”.  Let us, for some time, become super rich and learn the nuances of this most after sought program in U.S.A.

Let me introduce you to its web site immediately.

<https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/permanent-workers/employment-based-immigration-fifth-preference-eb-5/eb-5-investors>

Extensive quotations from the instructions are used. I have no option since the American government strictly follows its instructions including legal changes, if any, due to recent court rulings.

Narrating its history in their own language, one understands its importance from 1990 when it was introduced.” USCIS administers the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a program first enacted as a pilot in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since then, investors were also qualified for EB-5 classification by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. On Dec. 27, 2020, President Trump signed a law extending the Regional Center Program through June 30, 2021.

So, to understand in a common man’s language,

USCIS administers the EB-5 Program. Under this program, investors (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a Green Card (permanent residence) if they:

  • Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
  • Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

This program is known as EB-5 for the name of the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive.

Now more to our discussion.

How much to invest and under what conditions?

One may be eligible to be classified as an EB-5 immigrant investor if you:

  • Invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is any for-profit activity formed for the ongoing conduct of lawful business that was either:
    • Established after Nov. 29, 1990; or
    • Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990; that was:
      • Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results; or
      • Expanded through the investment so that a 40% increase in the net worth or number of employees; or
    • Invest the required minimum amount of capital: $1,050,000 for standard investments or $800,000 for investment in a commercial enterprise principally doing business in a targeted employment area or in a regional center-associated infrastructure project.
    • For petitions filed before March 15, 2022, the two amounts were $1,000,000 for standard investments or $500,000 for investments in a targeted employment area.

Consistent demand from investors to obtain Green card pushed the investment limit.

For one interested in the procedure to be followed as an investor under the above scheme, let me guide you.

How to file

  • Reading the instructions for Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor is a must.
  • Completing and signing Form I-526 is expected.
  • Paying the filing fee, if applicable; and
  • Providing all required evidence and supporting documentation are normal processes.

Let us update our knowledge about Form – I-526, named immigrant petition by alien investor which seems to have attracted the attention of all high net-worth citizens from all parts of the world.

Form I-526 and its myriad formulations.

This form proudly proclaims its necessity to use the services of an immigrant lawyer for cleaner preparations and the first acceptance by authorities without any hindrances. U.S.A., the land of immigrants from time immemorial prides itself as formed by immigrants, hard working an average citizen as the cornerstone of its enormous growth over decades, but now depends on the skillful hands of expert lawyers to get its forms duly filled in by experts.

There is no legal necessity to have experts but you know———

Now the basics of the form.

A copy is reproduced for immediate grasp of the subject.

https://www.uscis.gov/I-526.

This contains both the form and the necessary instructions.

I-526 is a 13 paged document with various parts as under: (numbers indicate part number-almost all names of parts reproduced)

1. “Information about you.

2. Information about your investment

3. Information about new commercial enterprise

4. Information about job creating entity

5. Employment creation information

6. Processing information

7. Information on petitioner’s spouse and children

8. Statement, Contact information, Declaration, Certification, and the signature of the petitioner or authorized signatory

9. Interpreter’s contact information, certification, and signature.

10. Contact information, Declaration, Certification, and the signature of the person preparing the petition of other than the petitioner.

11. Additional information.”

Interesting facts about I-526.

Yes, most of us just read the facts for knowledge purposes and fully comprehend that with a million dollar in India, one can lead a happy life in a middle-class city.

But this article wants you to come out of your comfort zone and peep into the world of high-net-worth Indians who want to cross the boundaries legally, look beyond one’s nation, and go to the land of immigrants with life fulfilling ambitions.

Whom am I to stop the flow of information and spoil your curiosity? Now with the flow of information.

The above form indelibly demonstrates:

The petitioner has already invested or is in the process of investing $800,000 to $1.05 million U.S. dollar investment of lawful capital in the new commercial enterprise. The legality to prove the existence of funds emerges out of the petitioner who will show paper trail to trace the origin of funds from banks, sale of assets like shares, fixed properties, or any other legal means of obtaining the funds. The American authorities would mercilessly reject those applications who show any signs of otherwise origin of funds.

It the investor has taken a loan to contribute the funds, the application may be rejected. Risk taking with one’s own funds is the cornerstone of this scheme.

The altruistic nature of this project requires the petitioner to invest in an economically depressed location called a targeted employment area (TEA). The applicants must also present evidence that their investment will lead to the creation of fulltime jobs (35 hours per week or more) for at least 10 U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other authorized immigrant workers to be hired within next 2 years.

EB-5 investor is expected to be in a policymaking or managerial role at the EB-5 project.  This requirement can be satisfied by demonstrating that an investor has voting rights in an EB-5 Regional Center project that is in the form of a limited partnership or limited liability company. Active involvement is a must. No passive involvement.

The instructions to the above form I-526 explains the ways in which the details of investments can be looked at.

What is the evidence of investment?

All the following extensively are quoted from the above instructions issued with the form under discussion. Why not learn from the master guidelines which will guide the authorities to justify my investments, if I sign the form.

1. Lawful Business Entity. Evidence that, as of a date after November 29, 1990, the required amount of capital was transferred to an existing business resulting in a substantial increase in the net worth or number of employees.

2. This evidence must be in the form of documents like stock purchase agreements, investment agreements, certified financial reports, payroll records, or other similar instruments, agreements, or documents proving the investment and the resulting substantial change.

3. Targeted Employment Area. To confirm by documents that the newly created enterprise will generate employment in a targeted employment area. Obviously, one may not know what is a targeted employment area except with the active cooperation of local authorities

4. A targeted employment area is defined as an area which, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area that has experienced an average unemployment rate of at least 150 percent of the national average rate. A rural area is an area not within a metropolitan statistical area and not within the outer boundary of any area having a population of 20,000 or more.

5. If it is an area of high unemployment, the investor will provide information that either the county situated within the metropolitan area with population of 20000 or more has been experiencing an unemployment rate of 150% of national average rate or even if it is situated outside the metropolitan area, the same argument holds good.

6. Now that the investor filled in the form, taken necessary steps towards investment, and filed the form with USICS. Then what happens?

Filing Fee. Each petition must be accompanied by the appropriate filing fee of US $ 3,675. It may vary at the time of filing due to inflation.

If an attorney prepares your application or documents, he/she may charge $4,500, the current attorney fees as per the internet information.

Evidence. At the time of filing, one must submit all evidence and supporting documentation listed in the Specific Instructions section.

After submission of the form, it will be acknowledged.

Biometric Services Appointment.

USCIS may advise the petitioner for an interview, provide finger prints, photograph, or for a signature at any time for proper identification, verification of background and security checks with Federal Bureau of Investigation before making a decision on pending application, petition or request.

The applicant will have to appear for a biometric services appointment at designated USCIS Application Support Center (ASC) with the date, and time appointment or, if one is currently overseas, instructions may be issued to contact a U.S. Embassy, U.S. Consulate, or USCIS office outside the United States to set up an appointment.

What about processing information?

Let me narrate the sequence in simple terms.

Initial Processing.

Once USCIS accepts the petition it will thoroughly check for its completeness. it for completeness Incomplete information or justification for acceptance of the application are missing, rejection may be possible. In a high profile application under this category, the applicant is expected to apply his/her mind and fill up the forms correctly.

Requests for More Information.

Yes, US authorities may request for more information or more evidence to substantiate the claims made in the form. Sometime, they may ask for originals for verification and will definitely return the originals.

But voluntarily giving the originals may be risky and they may not be returned.

Requests for Interview.

Detailed instructions under this head have already been covered in this article.

Decision.

The decision on Form I-526 involves a determination of whether the applicant has established eligibility for the immigration benefit he is seeking. USCIS will notify the decision taken in writing.

Time taken for processing of EB 5 applications

USA – Green card by investment (EB 5 Program)

EB-5 visa processing time for India for I-526 Immigrant petition ranges between 29.5 and 61 months, as of August 2020.

But at the end of this processing period, a temporary Green card is given for facilitating to live in U.S.A.

Where to file this application?

One can refer to website at www.uscis.gov/i-526 or call their National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 for the most current information about where to file this petition.

For TTY (deaf or hard of hearing) call: 1-800-767-1833 is useful.

Conclusion

Prompted by the curiosity of thousands of Indians who have been living from one day to another in U.S.A. expecting their arrival of Green Card which facilitates making one step closer to American living, this article had its origin

Depending upon the nature of the visa which has enabled the technocrats to visit USA for their living, their lifestyles have changed. Yes, their option to deposit $1 million or more towards EB5 visa, popularly known as investor visa exists. There are too many high-net-worth Indians too who may opt for this visa.

For others, it is just fun to know the details of EB 5 Scheme which may take a new turn and make India the most after sought nation to offer investment -based visas. Please read about many Chinese who want to live here for ever even if we can offer an investment -based visas which will augment our foreign exchange resources and make the foreigners realize their Indian dreams. Britishers consider India as their second home and would not mind making it their primary one.

If you can read this article with an open mind, the purpose is served.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purposes only and do not constitute an advice or a legal opinion and are personal views of the author. It is based upon relevant law and/or facts available at that point of time and prepared with due accuracy & reliability. Readers are requested to check and refer relevant provisions of statute, latest judicial pronouncements, circulars, clarifications etc. before acting because of the above write up. The possibility of other views on the subject matter cannot be ruled out. By use of the said information, you agree that Author/Tax Guru is not responsible or liable in any manner for the authenticity, accuracy, completeness, errors, or any kind of omissions in `this piece of information for any action taken thereof. This is not any kind of advertisement or solicitation of work by a professional.

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