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Can I file for I-526 now by initially investing a part of the $500,000 in a franchise?

I''m working on investing in a new franchise as one of the active owners (on an E2 visa). I''m looking at the direct investment EB-5 route. A few questions about the minimum investment amount recently returning temporarily to $500,000(in a TEA area): 1) Can the I-526 be filed now before deciding on the exact franchise business itself? I''m looking to choose a franchise from amongst a couple different viable options and it may take me a few months to decide on one. 2) Can I invest part of the $500,000 now as a placeholder while applying for the I-526, and the rest of the amount a bit later, maybe by showing commitment toward the full investment along with a business plan etc right now? I have the funds invested in my US-based assets but it may take some more time to make them directly available to the franchise (or via a loan taken using these assets as collateral). 3) Other than having funds placed in an escrow, are there alternative methods with which I can show commitment of the required funds? 4) After filing the I-526, can I add more funds (over and above $500,000) to the business in the coming years to help create the 10 required full-time jobs? Would I have to prove that it was *only* the initial $500,000 that went towards creating the 10 jobs? 5) If I file the I-526 now while the minimum requirement level in a TEA is at $500,000, and if USCIS later rolls back this minimum amount to $900,000, would I be obliged to invest an additional $400,000 at any point in time during the application process?

Answers

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This may be doable if you can prove it will definitely be in a TEA.

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    Belma Demirovic Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Based on the scope and specificity of your questions, the best advice is to schedule a consult with a qualified attorney who can guide you through this process. In general, however, you cannot file a direct I-526 petition without knowing what business you will operate. The business plan is specific to the business in question.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Partial investment is risky unless the funds are clearly identified, and you waiting for the authorization to transfer - that is where there are currency transfer restrictions. You must identify the business before you file investing part as a placeholder is risky. Money must be in escrow and irrevocably committed or deployed to the job creating entity. If you’re in a TEA and $500,000 is the qualifying amount, you can invest more if necessary. If you meet the minimum investment level allowed at the time of filing, it is extremely unlikely Congress or USCIS would require you retroactively to invest more.

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    Phuong Le

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    All very good questions and it’s clear you’re carefully planning your next steps. It’s also clear that you’d prefer to be somewhat flexible with your capital investment as you hash out your plans. Long story short, you’d need to at least identify the franchise business and location (because you need TEA and a business plan). The rest of your questions primarily involve the timing of your capital investment; the short answer is, it’s possible to fund in stages/installments to show qualifying commitment of capital if it’s structured and explained correctly. However, the reality is that’s only possible if the U.S. business you’re working with will allow you to do that. If it’s a franchise, check with them. If it’s your own, it’s obviously easier. There are multiple moving parts here that have to be woven together and though not easy, it’s doable.