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How quickly will my EB-5 investment money be returned to me?

I am considering investing in an EB-5 project. The promoter told me my investment fund would be returned in five years. When does this five-year countdown begin? Does the five years start when my money goes into the project or upon the approval of the I-526 petition? How quickly will my EB-5 investment money be returned to me?

Answers

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    In an EB-5-compliant project your investment has to be 100 percent at risk and there can be no guarantees for the return of any part of the principal investment amount. You will need to seek advice from an experienced EB-5 attorney who will explain to you the EB-5 regional center loan models in which the loan amounts are repaid in a structured exit strategy.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally, an EB-5 investment is based on the belief that you can lose the investment; in essence the investment is supposed to be at risk. Look at and read carefully any agreement before investing any money. If a promoter told you your fund would be returned within a certain period of time, be very careful - it may simply be a marketing ploy - ask for the investment agreement of any group he is representing. You should be concerned with the terms of the agreement. With reference to the promoter''s claims, when the five-year countdown starts depends on the terms of the agreement at issue. Consult an EB-5 attorney who can vet all the information of such agreement. Last but not the least, bear in mind that an EB-5 investment is an at-risk venture; there is no such thing as a guaranteed return on your investment and you can lose all investments.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Be very careful about what "promoters" tell you about the return of capital. To qualify for EB-5, your investment must be at risk. That means that the entire amount of investment must be subject to both potential gain and potential loss. The agreements you sign with the investment project will determine your rights as a limited partner, LLC member or other participant in the new commercial enterprise. Any guarantee of investment return will disqualify the EB-5 investment. If the exit strategy is to sell your shares or your interest after five years, there is no guarantee that there will be a willing buyer or what the shares or interest will be worth at that time. To be fully protected and to reduce, but not eliminate, financial risk, you should consult with an EB-5 due diligence expert, who can review all aspects of any potential investment and advise you on the good and the bad aspects of the project. That way, you are fully informed BEFORE signing anything and making the investment.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    That is between you and the developer of the project. USCIS has nothing to do with time lines for return of investment.

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    Daniel B Lundy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    When your money is anticipated to be returned depends on the specific investment documents. However, I think it is very important to mention a few things. First, the investment must be at risk, and there can be no guaranty of a return. If there is a guaranty, the investment will not qualify for an EB-5 visa. I mention this because we have heard stories of people claiming that the return of funds is guaranteed, despite the fact that this is not allowed. Second, you must maintain your investment throughout the conditional residence period- i.e. until the time your I-829 petition is approved. This can, in some cases, be longer than five years from the time you deposit your funds with the investment company. The stated processing time for an I-526 petition is currently 13 months. It generally takes about six months to get a visa. Once you get a visa, you have up to six months to enter the United States. The clock for filing your I-829 petition starts at this point (which could already be two years and one month since you deposited your money). You can file your I-829 between 21 and 24 months later. If the I-829 processing time is less than a year, you could see your money back in five years, barely. If there is a delay at any step in this process, you would not want to get your money back at five years, because it would be before your I-829 is approved, and getting your money back early could jeopardize your permanent green card. The bottom line, of course, is to be sure you read the investment documents carefully. This should give you a little extra information to allow you to evaluate the immigration risks of any potential investment.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Whether you will get your investment returned and when depends on the exit strategy described in your subscription and partnership documents. However, these documents will not guarantee the return of the funds as the EB-5 investment must be put "at risk" in order for USCIS to approve your I-526 as well as I-829. Thus, your agent promising you that the investment funds will be returned must be careful and they cannot guarantee that. Having said the above, the exit strategies and time table that most of the reputable regional centers envision is five to six years that starts ticking at I-526 approval, if not when the funds were released from the escrow to the actual project.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This will depend on the terms of the offering documents of your particular project in which you intend to invest. Some projects employ an escrow mechanism and hold investments until I-526 is approved and others do not. It is highly advisable to review the terms if the offering documents and conduct due diligence of the project/regional center before you invest. Please consult an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney with any further questions you may have.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    First, USCIS policy and regulations prohibit a guaranteed return of investment funds. As for your question, exits from an EB-5 investment take place, as you have said in your question, in five years. Many EB-5 projects also require the I-829 petition to also be approved. The five years is often tied to when the investment funds are transferred to the actual EB-5 project job-creating entity in the form of a loan or equity investment. This transfer can take place before or after the I-526 is approved, and sometimes before the I-526 is even filed. It will depend on the particular project you are interested in.

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