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USCIS Class Action Member Identification Notice

USCIS announced that a class was certified in Zhang v. USCIS that includes any individual with a Form I-526 that was or will be denied on the sole basis of investing loan proceeds that were not secured by the individual’s own assets. The notice includes details on how to contact USCIS to identify yourself if you believe you are a potential class member.

USCIS Updates Policy Manual Guidance on Geographic Area of a Regional Center

USCIS issued a Policy Alert updating guidance in its Policy Manual regarding a regional center’s geographic area, requests to expand it, and how such requests impact the filing of Forms I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.

Visa Programs Extended Through December 9

USCIS announced that it has updated the information for the EB-5 Regional Center (EB-5) and EB-4 Non-Minister Special Immigrant Religious Worker (SR visa) programs in its Adjustment of Status Filing Charts for the October 2016 Visa Bulletin, after President Obama signed Public Law 114-223 on September 29, 2016. DOS also issued a cable on the extension of the EB-5, SR visa, and Conrad State 30 programs. Public Law 114-223 extended these three visa programs, as well as the E-Verify program, until December 9, 2016

EB-5 Program in question.

Forbes reports on the current state of the EB-5 investor immigrant program and reauthorization efforts, stating “it seems doubtful that anything more ambitious than a short-term extension of the existing EB-5 program will be passed before the September 30th expiration date. The only problem with a short-term extension is that it will place the fate of any renewal of the program right in the middle of the 2016 Congressional elections and the Presidential campaign.”

EB-5 China Cut-Off

Effective May, 1, 2015, only Chinese-born EB-5 applicants with priority dates before May 1, 2013,

The EB-5 Investment with only $500,000

I only have $500,000. Can I still get the Green Card?

Question: I have heard that you can only get the Green Card if you invest $1,000,000. However, I only have $500,000. Can I still do this?

Answer: Congress created the EB-5 immigrant visa category in 1990 for immigrants seeking to enter to engage in a commercial enterprise that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time jobs.  The basic amount required to invest is $1 million, although that amount may be $500,000 if the investment is made in a “targeted employment area.” Of the approximately 10,000 visas available for this preference each year, 3,000 are reserved for entrepreneurs who invest in targeted employment areas. 

Question: In that case, what is a targeted employment area?

Answer: The statute defines a “targeted employment area” as a rural area or an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average. An area not within a metropolitan statistical area (as designated by the Office of Management and Budget) or the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more is considered a rural area. Each state notifies USCIS which state agency will apply these guidelines, and determines targeted employment areas for that state. Basically, if you have the $500,000, you must find a rural area (which are basically farming type areas), or places which have high unemployment.

Question: I have a couple friends who want to invest with me. Can we all invest in the same business?

Answer: The regulations specifically allow immigrant investors to pool their investments with others seeking EB-5 status. Each investor must invest the applicable statutory amount. All of the new jobs created by the new commercial enterprise will be allocated among those within the pool seeking permanent investor visas.

Question: So how many jobs must be created?

Answer: It will be 10 employees per investor. That means if you enter into a pooling arrangement with 2 other people, that there must be 30 employees in total that will be created and that the investment (if in a targeted area), must be $500,000 per person.

Question: Must we show where we got the $500,000?

Answer: You must show it is legal and that it was obtained legally and that it is your money. There are various challenges to show this, especially if it was obtained by inheritance.

The importance of tracing funds is present in all situations and is very important to the ultimate approvability of the petition. The sticky issues involving gifting, disposition of a trust, inheritance, and other complex fact patterns must be accompanied by full documentation of the history of the funds and objective confirmation that all taxes have been paid on the acquisition and disposition of the funds.
Question: Is it easy to get the EB-5?
Answer: It is the opposite of easy. It must be prepared meticulously with all of the proper documentation, proof and supporting evidence. Make sure you do everything necessary to hire an experienced Immigration Attorney.

EB-5 Investment Visas. Do it right!

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