+1-800-997-1228
Questions & Answers

How does the EB-5 Program view hawala?

If someone earned legal funds in Foreign Country A, then transferred that income to Foreign Country B by using hawala, are those funds still considered "legal" for source of funds purposes? This same person now wants to use the funds in Foreign Country B to invest into an EB-5 project and they can transfer out of Foreign Country B by a bank transfer. However, this person is worried the funds have already been "tainted" with the hawala transfers. How does EB-5 handle this source of funds issue?

Answers

  • Avatar

    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS requires not only that the investor prove the lawful source of funds by a preponderance of the evidence, but it also requires that the path of the funds from the investor to the new commercial enterprise is clearly established. If it appears there is a break or gap in the custody of the funds, the USCIS will question whether the funds actually invested in the NCE came from a lawful source. That is why the use of hawala is not appropriate for EB-5 cases.

  • Avatar

    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Due to the fact that hawala usually does not leave a precise paper trail, tracking Source of Funds would not be possible. Also, USCIS has maintained that, if a transaction is illegal in U.S. or the country where the investor is located, it will be illegal for the purpose of EB-5 adjudication. One exception has been using friends and family to transfer more than per person exchange limit. However, there has been some movement by USCIS to make this more problematic.

  • Avatar

    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Hawala path of funds works for EB5 as long as it is documented in a specific way. You need an EB-5 attorney with experience in hawala networks.

Add your comment

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment.