By EB5 Investors Magazine Staff
Pablo Herdener Munoz, 44, of Chile immigrated to the United States for safety reasons and better opportunities for his children.
“In my country there is increasing instability,” he said. “I wanted to move to the U.S. and since I was able to get the investment money, the program seemed to me the easiest way to legally get over to this country.”
Munoz applied for the I-526 in May of 2013, was able to move to the U.S. two years later and then completed the I-829 process in June 2017.
When finding out the family’s I-526 was approved and moving to the land of the free were their most unforgettable memories from their EB-5 journey, he said.
What did you choose to invest in and why?
I invested in the San Jose Marriott Hotel Project in California through the EB5 Capital Regional Center. I bet on this project and regional center because its perfect record, having a successful rate of both I-526 and I-829 filings as well as investment money back from its first projects. The I-526 process took about 20 months.
How was your life in Chile and what did you work with?
I’m an Industrial Engineer with an MBA from the U.S. I worked for my family’s company for more than 10 years and then partially owned it. At the EB-5 decision moment, I didn’t reach an agreement about how to continue the company, so I sold my part and got the investment money. And once I’ve got the I-526 approval, I sold all my Chilean assets, including my primary home, and moved with my wife and three teenage kids.
What was the biggest challenge during the EB-5 process?
Finding trustable and professional people to get advice from. This is why I’m sharing my experience. Also, the more-than-desirable time the process is taking at the government level.
What do you work with and where do you live now?
I live in San Diego in California, where I own a small car repair shop with eight full-time workers. I’m also getting certificates to become a commercial airline pilot.
What advice do you have for other investors who wants to use the EB-5 program?
Get the project through a reputable regional center with a clean history and projects that have been through the whole cycle as well as a good immigration attorney specialized in EB-5, even though it’s expensive. Also, try to collect all documents, such the fund sources in advance.
What benefits and challenges do you think EB-5 investors from Chile and Latin America are faced with?
Regarding Chile, the main benefit is that there is a good relationship between both countries since both countries have open economies, which make it easier with the fund transfers and exporting goods and services both ways. The main challenges, and I believe this is for the whole Latin American continent, are the language barriers and some institutional issues such as corruption. Besides this, another challenge could be the taxation problem that could arise if the investor has income or business from both the U.S. and the home country, such as double taxation, because Chile doesn’t have an agreement yet.
What are your plans for the future?
Keep going with what I’m already doing, get a second job as commercial pilot and buy a rental property once I get my EB-5 investment money back. Personally, I’d like to become a U.S. citizen when possible and finish raising my kids and getting them the best possible education. For them, there are a lot more opportunities over here.