How can a Libyan investor successfully apply for an EB-5 visa?
I am a Libyan investor interested in the EB-5 program. I have a clean business background and funds for investment. However, I have heard about CARRP and other such issues with I-526s. As a Libyan, what can I do to make sure my EB-5 application process goes smoothly? How will an immigration attorney help me with this process? How should we respond to bureaucratic hurdles if they come up?
You should definitely obtain the services of an attorney familiar with EB-5. You are not precluded from applying, but your sources of funds will be scrutinized carefully. If you obtain counsel then proper preparation will save answering a lot of questions.
An experienced EB-5 immigration attorney and law firm with experience in representing middle eastern and North African clients will be able to assist, and will analyze your source and transfer of investment funds, and OFAC and Department of Treasury requirements.
Not all the investors from Libya or Muslim countries get put into CARRP, as it is not an official program sanctioned by the USCIS or other agencies. While there is an additional security clearance called the Administrative Process triggered by a name check or some other security reasons, it is done randomly and it is done usually at the consulate post, and checks are vetted through the FBI and other security agencies. Most of these Administrative Processes will take 3 - 6 months, but some take longer as the FBI has a backlog for the security clearance. If the bureaucratic hurdles are unreasonably long, you may wish to have your lawyers file attorney inquiries, seek Congressional help or file Mandamus action in the federal courts. However, a great many people from Iran, Pakistan and other countries that are predominantly Muslim have successfully obtained EB-5 benefits.
As one might expect, there will likely be increased scrutiny of a Libyan EB-5 investor's sources of funds and whether any of them are derived from business with sanctioned nations (namely Iran) or from illegal or questionable activity. You should work with experienced U.S. counsel not only on the immigration side of things, but also on the investment side as well. Keeping in mind the likely hurdles you may face with USCIS, having skilled counsel at the outset work with you on proof of funds, background checks and the like will move things as best as they can. Bureaucratic hurdles will always arise, but I can certainly tell you that working with counsel in Washington D.C. makes getting over those hurdles sometimes a little easier.
You may need an OFAC determination and extra documentation to authenticate your source of funds. An immigration attorney is essential because this is a process that requires the interpretation of and compliance with U.S. laws.
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