Tips for Businesses Seeking EB-5 Funding

By Peek & Toland on February 24, 2019

The EB-5 immigrant investor program permits foreign investors to obtain a green card and an eventual means of U.S. citizenship when they invest in new commercial enterprises in the United States that are designed to create jobs. Each project requires that an investment of $1 million create at least ten new full-time jobs for U.S. workers. This option is a highly attractive and beneficial way to gain investor financing.

To more effective secure EB-5 funding, your proposed enterprise will need to stand out from all of the other potential projects. A strong marketing campaign is a necessity, since competition among EB-5 projects for funding is quite high. Any successful project will have to appeal to potential investors and address any concerns by investors, such as in the area of security. You also will need to address any risks and the overall feasibility of the project. You will have to be honest, transparent, and very specific about how your project will create jobs.

Tips for Businesses Seeking EB-5 Funding

Regional centers may make it easier for projects looking for EB-5 funding. These centers are designated by geographical area and industry, and often cover areas that are deemed targeted employment or rural areas. Targeted employment areas, in particular, may be more attractive for investors because they require only a $500,000 investment. Working with regional centers also allows you to count jobs that are indirectly created by the project toward your total number of jobs created, which you cannot do with projects not affiliated with regional centers.

You also may choose to make it easier for investors by applying for exemplar status from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which essentially pre-approves your project. Obtaining this pre-approval gives your investors shorter waiting times. However, getting exemplar status is not an easy process and may take up to two years to achieve.

Whatever your situation may be, you will need skilled legal assistance to work toward a resolution of your immigration law matter. The Texas immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland know how to help you navigate through the maze of immigration forms, regulations, and policies, and get the relief that you need. Take the first step today and secure the future of your family in the U.S. Contact our office today at and set up an evaluation with one of our highly skilled Texas immigration lawyers.

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Arab Investors Lead a Surge in EB-5 Visa Applications

By Peek & Toland on June 22, 2017

Wealthy Arab investors are rushing to sign up for the EB-5 visa program that offers them green cards in the United States in exchange for significant investment in the economy.

The rush to apply for these visas under the immigrant investor program appears to be a result of President Donald Trump’s travel bans. The executive orders are aimed at predominantly Islamic nations. Likely reforms to the EB-5 program may also be acting as a catalyst for more applications.

Arab investors are making EB-5 visa applications

A report on CNN Money quoted Preeya Malik. He’s the managing director of Step America. His company provides consultancy work related to U.S. investor visas. Malik noted a spike in inquiries and new clients since the inauguration of Donald Trump. He said:

“Investors can see how immigration laws are shifting rapidly and are looking to finalize their options before any new rules take place.”

The EB-5 program provides green cards to foreign investors who channel at least $500,000 and create 10 jobs in the U.S. The program caps the available number of visas to 10,000 a year.

The program has existed in one form or another since the early 1990s when it was set up under George H.W. Bush. Entrepreneurs must invest at least $ 1 million in areas that are not deprived or rural.

Over the last five years, nearly 83 percent of all of the EB-5 visas issued went to Chinese investors. Invest in the USA says less than 2 percent went to Arab nations.

That has changed. More Arab entrepreneurs are seeking to apply for EB-5 visas. It follows travel bans targeted at six predominantly Muslim nations accused by the Trump administration of having links to terrorism.

Step America noted a 60 percent rise in inquiries and a 40 percent rise in EB-5 applications since the first travel ban was announced at the end of January.

Arton Capital reported a 200 percent increase in EB-5 applications in its Dubai office in January compared to January 2016. A spike was also experienced in February.

Earlier this year, the Department of Homeland Security issued a draft modernization rule that proposed changes to the EB-5 investor visa program. Investors would have to bring more money to the table under the proposed amendment.

The change raised required investment amounts from $1 million to $1.8 million and from $500,000 to $1.35 million in deprived areas. The amendments are intended to reflect current dollar values but could make investing in the United States more onerous for foreign entrepreneurs.

If you are seeking to invest in the United States, you should be aware the EB-5 program is a very complicated one. An Austin, Texas immigration attorney can help you with your application. Please contact Peek & Toland at(512) 474-4445.

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Department of Homeland Security Issues Amendments to EB-5 Investor Visas

By Peek & Toland on May 16, 2017

EB-5 investor visas allow foreign nationals and their families to gain green cards if they make a substantial investment in the U.S. economy.

However, a series of scandals in recent years led to calls for a tightening up of the program.

Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a criminal complaint against Regional Centers in Vermont. Two ski resorts were accused of being part of Ponzi schemes. The resorts went into receivership, leaving some innocent overseas investors facing possible deportation.

EB-5 investor visas face reform

Amendments to the EB-5 investment visas program were recently proposed by the Department of Homeland Security, in what was termed a Modernization Rule. A consultation period ended in April.

A foreign investor will need to bring more money into the United States than previously to benefit from EB-5 investor visas.

The EB-5 program gives green cards to foreign investors who create at least 10 jobs. The required investment amount was $1 million. Investors have also been able to make a $500,000 investment in a designated “Targeted Employment Area” (TEA).

A Targeted Employment Area is identified by a state as an area of high unemployment. It’s usually a rural area designated for economic development. The majority of EB-5 investors have set up businesses in TEAs.

However, an investigation last year pointed to potential gerrymandering that meant EB-5 investors were able to set up businesses in affluent areas for $500,000.

The new rule would:

  • Raise required investment amounts from $1 million to $1.8 million and from $500,000 to $1.35 million in deprived areas to reflect current dollar values; and
  • Allow foreign nationals to retain priority dates if an initial investment fails or stalls as they are waiting for a date to become current;
  • Give the Department of Homeland Security the power to designate regional centers. This would remove that responsibility from the states.

The changes were worked out in the final days of the Obama administration. They will be subject to review by the Trump administration.

If you are an overseas investor who wishes to bring job opportunities to Texas, it’s important to hire an immigration lawyer to help you with complicated EB-5 Investor visas. Please contact us for a consultation.

Posted in Immigration, Immigration Reform

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EB-5 Investor Visa Program is Extended Until December

By Peek & Toland on December 1, 2016

The EB-5 investor visa program has attracted plenty of criticism amid claims overseas investors have gone to the wall. It has also been investigated for fraud.

However, the problems with the program were not serious enough to prevent Congress extending it until December 9, 2016.

A recent article in Forbes pointed out some of the successes of the program, notwithstanding the bad publicity.

The EB-5 Investor Program has been extended until December

The EB-5 Investor Program has been extended until December

The article pointed out wealthy foreign investors — predominantly from China — are stumping up at least $500,000 each to rebuild dilapidated urban areas and create employment.

The article pointed out it’s a win-win. In return for their investment the foreign nationals get a green card. Their spouses and children under 21 also qualify.

The extension to the program was signed into law on Sept. 28 by President Barack Obama.

The EB-5 Visa program is administered by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services department. UCSIS processes the applications and decides which investors get into the United States. China accounts for as many as four out of five EB-5 investor visas.

You can read more about immigrant investor visas here. Businesses are considered a new commercial enterprise under the EB-5 program. They must be for-profit and owned by a sole proprietor, a holding company, a partnership, a business trust or a joint venture

There are a series of requirements to apply under the EB-5 Investor Visa Program. These are related to investment levels and job creation.

What You Must Prove to Apply Under the EB-5 Investor Visa Program

You are a job creator

To qualify for an EB-5 investor visa your enterprise must create or keep at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years. These can be direct jobs from the injection of capital or indirect jobs that resulted from money flowing from the initial investment.

You are a Capital Investor

You can provide cash, inventory or other collateral to qualify for an EB-5 visa.

Only applicants who have invested in excess of $1 million of money that is not borrowed will be considered for a visa. However, capital investors qualify if they instead invest at least $500,000 in a deprived area or one with high unemployment.

If you are an investor who is seeking to use this program in Texas, you should be aware of its complexities. There are series of potential pitfalls. An experienced EB-5 attorney can help you apply. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

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How the EB-5 Investor Program is Fraught with Perils

By Peek & Toland on August 31, 2016

The EB-5 investor program remains troubled and controversial. In February, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing to discuss the problems and whether they could be fixed.

Put simply, too many potential overseas investors write six-figure checks only to lose their money and end up not even qualifying for green cards.

EB-5  visa program is fraught with perils

What Is the EB-5 Investor Program?

We explain the workings of the EB-5 Investor Program here on our website. The program allows job creators from overseas to visit the United States with the aim of investing in new, local businesses.

There are certain stipulations. To qualify for an EB-5 visa, your company must preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years.

Capital investors can also qualify. To meet this requirement you must invest more than $1 million of your own money. Capital investors can avoid the $1 million investment requirement if they invest at least $500,000 in a high-unemployment area or a specified rural area.

It sounds like a win-win, but the EB-5 program has made the wrong kinds of headlines over the last few years. The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched a series of investigations.

In December 2015, it announced widespread enforcement actions against lawyers across the United States who are charged with offering investments while not registered to act as brokers.

We are also seeing investors miss out on the opportunity to pump money into the U.S. economy, as well as losing their funds and the chance to work in the country. Indeed the Center for Immigration Studies reported that South Dakota lost $120 million in EB-5 funds.

There were numerous problems including high fees associated with the program. A massive beef slaughterhouse project funded by EB-5 money was one casualty. It went bankrupt denying scores of overseas investors from Asia of their money and their green cards

The system fails with an alarming regularity and overseas investors are often the victims. They fall foul of unscrupulous developers, promoters, officials and even white collar criminals. There is a need for more security and more protection for investors.

The program is so beset with pitfalls that The Seattle Times urged it to be scrapped in a June editorial.

It noted how American Life was recently fined $1.2 million for using unlicensed advisers to assist possible immigrants. Another EB-5 coordinator is facing a criminal investigation after claims that he defrauded Chinese investors.

The numerous pitfalls also call into the question the judgment of the legislators who appear to have failed to see how foreign investors, many of whom lack basic English skills, would have been taken advantage of.

Arguably, Congress should have realized that bureaucrats and securities law enforcers would not have been adequately equipped to promptly expose the abuses in the system.

If you are an overseas investor seeking to take advantage of the EB-5 program, it makes sense to hire experienced Austin immigration attorneys to ensure you don’t fall foul of the many potential pitfalls. You can contact us here for a consultation.

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