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Can an H-1B holder raise $1 million and apply for EB-5?

I have an H-1B visa. If I raise enough funds through crowdfunding, venture capital investments, and/or angel investors for a start-up, would I be eligible to apply for EB-5? And would that be the fastest route to permanent residency from an H-1B visa? Will I run into any problems changing from H-1B to EB-5?

Answers

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Any EB-5 investment must be a personal investment. Therefore, funds that you raise from other investors will not count as your personal EB-5 investment in a new commercial enterprise. Assuming you make a qualifying personal investment of lawfully-obtained capital ($500,000 or $1 million depending upon the location) in a new commercial enterprise that will create 10 jobs for U.S. workers within two years, there is no prohibition against adjusting your status from H-1B to EB-5. You must be in valid H-1B status, you must not work without authorization, and you must be otherwise eligible for adjustment of status. Keep in mind that if your goal is U.S. lawful permanent residence, and you are considering making an investment in order to qualify for EB-5, you might want to consider other immigration options open to you as well. It would be wise to consult an experienced immigration attorney who can advise you on all of your immigration options, not just EB-5.

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    J Bruce Weinman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Absolutely not. The investor has to make the investment. In your scenario, other people/entities are making the investment; the capital has to be the investor's. For a longer discussion on source of funds see the regulations at 8 C.F.R. 204.6(e), the AAO precedent decision Matter of Hsiung, and the May 30 Policy Memo. The problem presented by your idea is that you are not making a capital contribution - other people are.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The required EB-5 investment has to be based upon your personal investment funds. The personal investment funds need to be deposited in your personal bank account before it is transferred to the EB-5 new commercial enterprise as an investment.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    In theory, yes, but you would need to show that all the monies were lawfully sourced. If you are maintaining H status you should not have a problem changing to EB-5 permanent residence if your petition is approved.

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    Ian E Scott

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    For an EB-5 green card, the investment must be your investment rather than the investment of others. As such, money raised through a private placement or crowd funding where buyers are buying shares of a company would not qualify. No problem changing from H-1B to EB-5.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should be able to adjust status from the H-1B. Your concern is the source of funds. Are they actually yours?

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An EB-5 investment has to be made up of personal funds. Funds from others investing into your company would not be eligible. With a personal investment, many consider EB-5 to be the fastest way to permanent residency (other than marrying a U.S. citizen). Adjusting status from H-1B to EB-5 is a possible route to take.

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    Shahzad Q Qadri

    RC Creator
    Answered on

    As long as you can source your funds, you should be fine - the key is being able to tell the U.S. government how you got the funds.

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