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How can I invest funds prior to visa approval?

I am planning on a direct EB-5 investment in a franchised business such as McDonalds. How can one be expected to invest a majority of the investment requirement prior to visa approval? Is it possible to invest a smaller amount and demonstrate some type of commitment to invest the remaining amount subject to visa approval?

Answers

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    Reza Rahbaran

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Under the EB-5 regulations, an investor must have invested or be in the process of investing their funds. An investment amount which suggests to the USCIS that the investor has reached the point of no return is advisable. It is not necessary to invest the majority of the funds, a smaller amount may be invested, and the remainder may be placed into the project account.

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    Shahzad Q Qadri

    RC Creator
    Answered on

    If the franchiser agrees, you can put the money in escrow with the release subject to the approval of the visa. This would suffice the commitment issue.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Your questions straddle both the immigration and franchise laws. You are expected to invest literally over $500,000 or $1 million before your EB-5 visa approval. As a result, you may have to put at risk more than a smaller amount in order to demonstrate any commitment to the EB-5 visa program. In addition, perhaps a far more significant fact is that the USCIS is not likely to permit you a sort of test the water approach by investing anything less than either $500,000 or $1 million. You must invest the entire amount for EB-5, and it must be an at risk investment, meaning you can lose the entire investment. We can sort out for you the interlocking legal landscapes between EB-5 immigrant visa and franchise laws. This is because while both areas of law can be combined, you must pay attention to the different goals and operational principles of each area of law before you put your EB-5 investment at risk.

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    Rohit Kapuria

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The regulations dictate that you must have invested or be in the process of investing your capital contribution. In your proposed scenario, you could transfer the funds into an escrow account which has a clear trigger to immediately disburse the funds into the business following approval of your I-526 application. However, this may not be an ideal scenario for a franchise deal. Unless you are investing in a pooled direct franchise deal, it is unclear how the business will progress without your capital investment. Furthermore, USCIS may question your actual commitment to placing your funds at risk if the funds are not fully invested prior to approval of your application. You should discuss your concerns with an EB-5 immigration attorney.

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    Anthony Korda

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Although the regulations state that an investor must have invested or must be in the process of investing, USCIS generally requires the full investment to be committed to a project prior to the filing of an I-526 petition. Although many projects offer an escrow arrangement, this is not strictly within the regulations and is generally permitted by USCIS on strict conditions as a concession. Given the lengthy processing times for an I-526 petition, many projects now require funds to be available at the time of I-526 acceptance by USCIS and will undertake to try to replace an investor in the event of a denial as opposed to offering an escrow arrangement.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, but the funds will need to be committed in an escrow or otherwise.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The business plan and other legal documents may clearly show all the required investment funds are available in escrow to be committed. Some of the investment funds will be committed at time of filing the I-526 petition and the balance may be committed at time of the approval of the I-526 petition.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    In order to qualify for the EB-5 immigrant investor visa, you need to invest the full $500,000 (if business is located in a TEA) or $1 million; However, you can have the invested funds be held in escrow conditioned on it being released upon the approval of the petition. That is an acceptable practice for USCIS, but you need to find a project that can accommodate this.

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    Philip H Teplen

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Regretfully, the investment must have been commenced and must be substantial in order to seek I-526 approval. I realize that it is not fair and because of that, many people prefer regional center investments that hold money in escrow. If you would like to discuss, you can call me.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    In order to qualify for EB-5, you must have invested or be in the process of investing the required amount of capital. You can use an escrow account as long as the release of the funds occurs automatically upon approval of your I-526 petition.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    First, be careful of franchise rules that require citizenship or permanent residency for their investors (that is, you'd be making the investment before obtaining permanent residency). Second, you have to have invested or be in the process of investing, but that generally has resulted in the investor placing the entire amount of the investment into an escrow account, to be released upon I-526 approval.

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    Bill Travis Klein

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The entire required amount must put at risk through contract or escrow (not spent) at the time of applying for EB-5. Talk with an immigration attorney to help you with the process and make a plan to move forward.

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    Johanna Keamy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 204.6(e), the immigrant investor in the EB-5 Program is required to invest his or her capital. Invest means to actually place capital at risk for the purpose of generating a return, and the mere intent to invest is not sufficient. In making an at risk investment, an investor's money may be held in escrow until the investor has obtained conditional lawful permanent resident status if the immediate and irrevocable release of the escrowed funds is contingent only upon approval of the investor's Form I-526 and subsequent visa issuance or, in the case of adjustment, approval of the investor's Form I-485. (8 C.F.R. ? 204.6(j)(2). You will therefore need to make an at risk investment in the commercial sense and can place money in an escrow account pending approval of the I-526 petition.

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    Aleksandr Troyb

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should discuss this matter with the attorney who will handle this case. You may be able to deposit your investment funds with a trustee who would hold them until your petition is approved. If the petition is approved, the trustee will release the money. If the petition is denied, the trustee would return the funds to you. The difficulty will lie in the preparation of the trust agreement. It must be clear that the release of funds is only contingent on the petition approval. If there are other contingencies, or if there are other problems with the agreement, immigration may reject your petition.

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