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How can I expand my online business to a brick-and-mortar store and qualify for EB-5?

I am considering expanding my existing online clothing brand by opening a brick-and-mortar store in Los Angeles. If I invest $1 million in the purchase of the retail space and product stock, can I apply for EB-5? I will be able to create 10 jobs for my store and warehouse. My concern is that, since I have been operating the online store under the same brand name for several years, and the brick-and-mortar store will sell similar products as its online counterpart, this investment might not be deemed as significantly different from the existing one, thus not qualifying me for an EB-5 direct investment. Please advise.

Answers

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should discuss the most viable corporate structure for the new store with an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney. It may be a good idea to set it up as a separate new commercial enterprise, which will create the minimum 10 full-time positions. A five-year, comprehensive EB-5-compliant plan will be necessary to accompany your I-526 petition. A new commercial enterprise may qualify for a $500,000 EB-5 investment threshold if it principally does business in TEA.

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    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you are in Los Angeles County, you might be able to apply for an EB-5 green card with only a $500,000 investment (if you apply before Congress raises the minimum investment to over $1 million, which they will probably do before too long). The brick-and-mortar store and warehouse should qualify as a "new commercial enterprise."

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should still be able to show this is a new commercial enterprise and that you have created new jobs. It may be better to set up a new corporate entity and to invest the requisite amount in the new entity. You may want to keep the old business separate, if possible.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You should be able to invest in expanding your business to process for EB-5, as long as you meet the other requirements (including creating the requisite 10 full-time jobs, lawful source of funds, etc.).

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you invest $1 million to expand your online business resulting in the creation of 10 jobs, such an investment could qualify as a direct EB-5 investment. You can use the funds to expand an existing business.

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    Mark AM Catam, Esq

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This could be a viable EB-5 business, depending on how it is structured.

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    Marko Issever

    EB-5 Broker Dealer
    Answered on

    I think your chances are actually very good to be able to do this. First of all, you plan to expand the business from online to brick-and-mortar. That is very significant. You are willing to invest $1 million, which means that you don't need TEA classification. You are committed to hire at least 10 new people aside from yourself, which is the requirement. You need a strong EB-5-complaint business plan. Work with competent attorneys. I think this is actually very realistic.

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    Vaughan de Kirby

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    My thought is to form a new business entity that will encompass your brick-and-mortar store. Your first step is to get help drafting a USCIS-compliant business plan. I would recommend you consult with a qualified investment immigration attorney, as they will be in a good position to properly advise you.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It could work. I would need more details.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    I'd imagine that going from online to brick and mortar could be enough. The classic example of "not enough" is a hotel changing brands, updating the paint and carpeting, and calling it a day. This seems like enough but I'd be interested in looking into it further.

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