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How can I use part of an E-2 business to apply for EB-5?

I own 50 percent of an E-2 business. My partner and I each invested $500,000 and we have created 22 jobs so far. I want to use my part of the E-2 business to apply for EB-5. But my partner is happy with his E-2 status now. If I apply for EB-5 with my part of the business, will his E-2 status be impacted? Or do I have to buy him out in order to make the business eligible for EB-5?

Answers

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    Hassan Elkhalil

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Certainly transitioning from E-2 to EB-5 is possible. However, as you are aware, each visa has its own requirements. In your case, that depends on many factors, like: the legal structure of your partnership; the location of your business; you having to submit supporting documentation to show that your 50 percent of the business is generating at least the 10 U.S. or legal resident employees; and sources of the funds. Although you can use the initial E-2 investment funds toward the EB-5, you have to document the sources of the funds, as the EB-5 requirements are more stringent than the E-2 visa requirements. In short, there is more specific information required to answer your question.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can convert your share into an EB-5 green card without impacting your partner's eligibility, provided he can show he has ownership and control. Whereas you do not have to show ownership and control in order to obtain an EB-5 green card. It is difficult but doable.

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    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you apply for EB-5, your partner's status will not be affected just because you applied. However, if you become a green card holder, then you have to make sure that the business is still owned at least 50 percent by persons from your home country who are not permanent residents of the U.S. Please confer with a good immigration lawyer before leaping!

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    While the immigration status of each owner appears diametrically opposite, there is nothing unusual that would suggest both owners cannot co-exist. Thus, if you apply for EB-5, your partner's status would not be negatively impacted. Also, it does not matter if you buy your partner out or not, the business could still be eligible for an EB-5 investment. Advisably, consult an attorney (with both corporate and immigration) in reorganizing this business and make sure a good business plan that addresses EB-5 requirements is put in place before proceeding further.

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is possible to make an E-2 investment qualify for EB-5. You need to determine if the enterprise is principally doing business in the targeted employment area, so that the $500,000 investment is sufficient. Otherwise, the investment must be $1 million under current law. Your investment must have also created at least 10 full-time positions (at least 35 hours a week). As long as your partner maintains a 50 percent interest and independently continues to qualify for E-2 for his E-2 extensions, then this should not impact his case. Consult an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney for further details.

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    Marko Issever

    EB-5 Broker Dealer
    Answered on

    As long as your partner maintains his 50 percent ownership in the enterprise, he should be fine keeping his E-2 status. You, on the other hand, have to worry about a number of things. First and foremost, work with your attorney on the source of funds. The scrutiny on the source of funds for EB-5 is significantly higher and more onerous than that of E-2. So, if you will use the $500,000 you initially invested in the enterprise, before taking this too far make sure that the funds you used then are acceptable from an EB-5 perspective. Second, make sure that the area your enterprise is operating could be classified as TEA. Otherwise, your obligation jumps to $ 1 million.

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    Phuong Le

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Depending on when you created the new full-time positions and the timing of the investment, it may be possible to convert the E-2 into an EB-5 petition. It wouldn't be necessary to buy out your partner at this point since EB-5 projects can use non-EB-5 funds and do not have to share job creation with non-EB-5 investors. Happy to speak further during a consultation.

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    Belma Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Based on the facts provided, nothing prevents you from pursuing and EB-5 petition based on your initial investment. As long as your partner remains a 50 percent owner, the company will continue to have his country's nationality for E-2 purposes, so he should be fine. An attorney experienced in directs can guide you through the process.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Depending on how the business was established, it is not easily converted from E-2, which is a non-immigrant visa to EB-5, which is immigrant visa without putting some more money as investment. Please consult with an experienced EB-5 lawyer.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you have a 50 percent interest in an E-2 business and you and your partner both independently qualified, you may still be able to use your existing $500,000 investment based upon the 22 jobs created to qualify as a direct EB-5 investment. You will have to establish that the enterprise is located in a targeted employment area (TEA) so that you are only required to invest $500,000 rather than $1 million. Should you qualify, there is no reason why arguably your partner will not be able to maintain his E-2 status based upon his 50 percent interest in the enterprise. If you were to buy him out, that would make your EB-5 investor case a much stronger one, but it is not absolutely necessary.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No need to buy out your business partner in order to qualify for the EB-5. You should make sure that the business is located in a targeted employment area (TEA) in order to qualify for the $500,000 minimum investment requirement. If not, you will need to have invested $1 million in order to qualify for the EB-5. Your partner's E-2 status will not be affected by your EB-5 processing.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Since there is no requirement to own 100 percent of the EB-5 business, nor is there a requirement for any other owner to be a U.S. permanent resident or citizen, I do not see why you cannot proceed. From the E-2 side, his investment and ownership percentage shouln't change. You are individually responsible for the 10 jobs, however, so you will need to figure out which of the 22 jobs are a result of your investment.

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