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What services are EB-5 immigration attorneys supposed to provide?

I have done some research and got wildly different estimates from immigration attorneys for the EB-5 application. Why is there such a large difference in fees charged by lawyers for EB-5? After charging these fees, what is the attorney responsible for/what services will they provide? If the fees are paid up-front, what happens if I were to get an RFE or something - would the attorney be required to assist me?

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Attorneys may charge different rates. Rates or flat fees may also depend on the scope of legal services to be provided. You should review an attorney-client agreement to determine what specific services an attorney will be obligated to provide. Sometimes, attorneys charge a separate fee for an RFE. There may not be an RFE if the case is well-prepared and if it is a well-established regional center with an excellent track record.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Attorneys are free to charge what they believe to be reasonable for the services provided. In most cases if the attorney has done the job well there should not be an RFE or it should be directed at a narrow issue. Projects are very different though - an established regional center with a good track record is a much different case than a stand-alone project where there is no business plan, an entity has not been created, etc. Further, some business models are simple and others are quite complex as can be the ownership structure being offered to the investors. The attorney's retainer should explain the services being provided in detail and you are entitled to have this explained in detail to you orally. You should understand each and every document you are signing, what your risks and benefits are, what happens if the project is not built, what if the jobs are not created as promised, what happens if the I-526 is not approved, what is the expected rate of return on your money, is there a chance to get your money back when the project is built, etc.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An experienced EB-5 immigration attorney has the expertise to advise you on the required information AND action to prepare the I-526 investor's petition, and the authentication of the source and transfer of personal investment funds, and immigration due diligence on the viability of the EB-5 project.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Just like any legal or professional service, the market has a wide range of prices depending upon various factors, including the scope of services to be rendered, the level of expertise and experience of the attorney or law firm, the complexity of the case, etc. The arrangement between you and your attorney should be clearly documented in a retainer agreement or engagement letter/agreement. For example, the agreement should be clear as to what happens and who is responsible in the event an RFE is issued, as well as any other services included or excluded from the normal processing of your type of immigration case.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The attorney should provide you with a fee agreement that specifies the work to be performed. Normally, in the EB-5 context it would be the preparation and filing of the I-526. This would include guidance on showing the source of funds, and obtaining the requisite personal documentation. You should ask whether or not the fee includes answering RFEs. Ask the attorney to provide you with a draft of the agreement and then you may negotiate any changes. It is best to know at the beginning what is included and put it in writing.

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    Raja S Gill

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The fees charged by an attorney depend on the hourly rate, complexity of your case and the knowledge and experience of that attorney. The fees may also vary based on the services that are included. Once you narrow down your search, you should review the retainer/fee agreement to determine whether the quoted attorney fees cover the RFE. You may also propose to have part of the fees set aside in the client trust account to cover an RFE. It really depends on what you and any specific attorney agrees to. You should work with someone you feel comfortable with. I would advise against choosing an attorney solely because he or she is willing to do it for a smaller fee.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Sorry for the lawyer answer, but it depends! More experienced lawyers often charge more. You are paying for the years of experience that goes into your representation. In my opinion, an immigration attorney should assist you with reviewing the EB-5 project for immigration compliance issues, authentication of the source of funds, and putting together and filing of the I-526 petition. Some may add on consulate processing or adjustment of status up front. Some include responses to RFEs in their price, and others do not.

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    Vaughan de Kirby

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Retaining an investment immigration attorney is an investment in your and your family's future as well as a significant financial commitment. I recommend you look for an attorney that offers you the assurances and value you are looking for rather than price.

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    Robert Cornish

    Securities Attorney
    Answered on

    It is up to you to negotiate with an attorney who can set a fee schedule that is right for you. Most attorneys in this area charge a flat fee for their services, sometimes with an additional fee for things such as RFEs. The reason for this is that the process, no matter how many times an attorney works within it, is fraught with surprises that in many instances can consume inordinate amounts of time. The attorney should have all of this written out clearly for you in a retention letter that both you and the attorney will sign. If the attorney won't provide one, you shouldn't work with them. That being said, shopping around for an attorney to handle an investment of $500,000 to $1 million based on the additional cost of an RFE as you are doing is something akin to shopping around for a doctor to perform surgery. You really need to concentrate on hiring the person with whom you are most comfortable and feel can do the best job for you in your particular circumstances.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Attorney fees are based on many different factors, such as the years of experience, level of expertise in EB-5, number of hours expected in order to prepare the cases, and the attorneys' track record, etc. Normally, the seasoned EB-5 attorneys with several years of EB-5 experience with great track records charge approximately $20,000. This fee includes all the steps of the EB-5 process from I-526 and RFE if any, I-485 adjustment or DS-260 immigrant visa applications for the investor and his/her whole family, and I-829 and RFE if any.

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