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How can I run an EB-5 business on behalf of my relative who is an EB-5 investor?

I have a relative who wants to purchase a gas station in the U.S. and use it to apply for an EB-5 visa. The total investment is around $2.5 million. He was born in Yemen and now lives in Egypt. I am a U.S. citizen. Can I run this business on his behalf before he is eligible to live and work in the country, or do we have to wait until his visa is ready to start the business?

Answers

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The business can operate before he gets here. He will have to create 10 full-time jobs, though (and you do not count as a family member). I don't recall ever seeing a gas station with that many full-time employees. (Maybe a Wawa?).

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can help run it. He does not have to wait until his visa is ready. Caution if you are purchasing an existing business since separate rules apply.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can operate the EB-5 invested business until the EB-5 investor is approved for permanent residence and authorized to work in the U.S.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Since this appears like a direct investment, it is advisable that all efforts should be on putting a good plan together that shows that this idea can be put to a good business that will meet EB-5 requirements. The planned petition will be subjected to whatever immigration rules and regulations that are applicable to Yemeni nationals regardless his current residency in Egypt. Also, it is not advisable that you should be operating the business prior to the approval of an underlying EB-5 petition. At this stage putting together an approvable EB-5 immigration package should be your priority. Consult an EB-5 attorney for further guidance and planning for a successful outcome.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, you can run your cousin's business. All businesses require employees. You can certainly do so before your cousin can work in the country; in fact, same would be necessary as a practical matter.

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    Phuong Le

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can run it now and, in fact, front the money to help purchase it if need be. Keep in mind that later on, though, your relative may work for the gas station, but he/she won't count toward the 10-job minimum.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No, that should be fine.

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    Sally Amirghahari

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, you can as one of the 10 full time employees, which is one of the requirements under the EB-5 program. Also, as you may know, the investment amount and some of the regulations for the EB-5 program will be changing effective Nov. 21, 2019. So I encourage you and your relative to file the EB-5 petition prior to that date so his petition won't be impacted with the new regulations. It would be best if you and your relative to schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney to review the requirements and process in detail.

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    Stephen Berman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    I don't see why you could not do that. Remember citizens of Yemen are subject to a travel ban.

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    Marko Issever

    EB-5 Broker Dealer
    Answered on

    There are a few concerns you need to be aware of here. The first and foremost issue is that your relative is born, and I assume a citizen of, Yemen. Yemen is one of the countries subject to the travel ban. If he obtained Egyptian citizenship and applies using his Egyptian passport, he could be exempt from the presidential proclamation because Egypt is not subject to it. That said, the presidential proclamation should not stop him from applying for any visa. At the visa interview, the consular officer would determine if he is eligible for a waiver or exception to the proclamation. For example, if he had a visa to the U.S. when the proclamation went into effect, he would have been excepted from the proclamation. There are many other exceptions and grounds for waivers. Aside from this issue, he will need to consider the challenge of buying an existing business while making it qualify for EB-5. That is certainly doable but it would be much easier if he were to form a newly created enterprise. If the gas station is not a troubled business, then his only option would be to restructure and reorganize the business such that it creates 10 new full-time positions. This becomes difficult while making sure that he is making money. As a U.S. citizen, there is no issue with you being one of the managers of the company and running the business on his behalf until he is eligible to live and work in the U.S. You are correct that he cannot work in the gas station until he obtains his conditional green card or at least an employment authorization document (EAD), but he must submit evidence that he is or will be engaged in the management, either through day-to-day managerial control or through policy formulation. As you can see, there are many moving parts in this case. It would be best if you both worked with a qualified immigration attorney to guide you through the process. Best of luck!

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    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You are certainly allowed to run the business owned by your relative before he arrived. If it is a gas station and convenience store, and is an existing station, he will have to hire 10 more employees than work there now (unless the station has suffered losses in the last year or two, and if so, he can count the existing employees as having "saved" their jobs). Can the station afford to hire 10 more full-time employees?

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    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can run the business. In fact, the business must be operational well before the I-526 can be approved and an EB-5 visa issued.

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    Hassan Elkhalil

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A condition to file for the EB-5 application is to have the investment at-risk. Some of the money is already invested. You can work for your relative, operate the business, and you will be counted as an employee toward the EB-5 requirements at the later stage.

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    Daniel A Zeft

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Purchasing an existing business will not likely be a viable vehicle for an EB-5 case.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An EB-5 business structure must be properly set up with you as a manager or other corporate officer authorized to run the business, depending on the entity type. Your relative must be in at least a policy formulation role to qualify for EB-5 visa. An EB-5-compliant business plan with five-year financial projections and a hiring timetable must also be prepared. An EB-5 business must realistically create at least 10 full-time positions (35 hours/week). Your relative must also show EB-5 capital originates from lawful source of funds and is fully traceable. Please hire an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney who will assist your relative to competently prepare the case.

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