My wife, nine year old daughter, and I are looking at a move to Florida and trying to determine our best route. We currently have liquid assets of approximately $240,000 and assets in our current house of $750,000. Allowing for the fact that we would like to emigrate in 2016, would we be able to file for EB-5 on the basis of only having the lower amount to-hand? Or would we be able to look at E-2 with a view to EB-5 when we have released the assets in our house?
Currently, the minimum investment amount for an EB-5 visa through an approved regional center is $500,000. If you do not have the entire amount in your possession and control based on a lawful source of funds, you will not qualify for EB-5 immediately. Because I-526 petitions are currently taking approximately 15 months to get processed by USCIS (excluding the preparation time to file your EB-5 case), it is not realistic for you to be able to immigrate in 2016. An E-2 visa may be an option for you to come to the United States relatively quickly on a nonimmigrant visa if you possess the nationality of a treaty country to qualify for the E-2 visa and all other requirements have been met. You may later qualify for EB-5 to apply for permanent residence in the United States. Please contact an experienced immigration attorney.
The minimum capital requirement for an EB-5 project in a targeted employment area is $500,000, which is significantly higher than an E-2. In your instance, purchasing a business then starting with an E-2 might be a better option. However, E-2 is a nonimmigrant visa. You can always expand your business and invest more capital later on to make the project qualify as an EB-5.
For EB-5, you need to authenticate all $500,000 at the time of investment. If you are unable to do so, an E-2 or L-1 may be a good alternative. Please consult an immigration attorney to assist you on these very important matters.
For an E-visa, you need nationality from a treaty country and it takes a few months. EB-5 takes about 18 months before you get benefits. You probably need the E-visa first.
The amount of requisite EB-5 investment is $1 million, except if the business/project is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA); then the amount is $500,000. With the $240,000 available for immediate investment, you will not qualify for EB-5 filing. Also, since the current processing time for I-526 is 15+ months, there is virtually no way for you to immigrate using EB-5 within 2016. It is not clear why you must come into the United States in 2016, but E-2 is a non-immigrant visa, which will only allow you two years, and which must be extended every two years. Further, E-2 also will not allow your kids to remain beyond their 21st year even if you are able to continue receiving the E-2 extension. Thus, if your purpose is to become a permanent resident and provide your children with unfettered status to study and work anywhere in United States, then you may consider liquidating more of your assets to do the EB-5 case and come into the United States in 2017 instead.
You can convert the E-2 into an EB-5 at a later time. But this scenario is generally when you are creating your own business. You can apply for the E-2 initially to enter the country and build the business up so that it qualifies under the EB-5 category later.
It sounds to me like you should speak with an investment adviser. All investments have risk, including EB-5 Investments. You may want to consider whether an investment of the majority of your assets in an EB-5 investment is a path you want to take. If you are a national of a treaty country, you can qualify for an E-2 visa based on an investment into a business that you will develop and direct, but there is not a specific minimum investment amount, and many E-2 investments are well under $500,000.
The E-2 looks like the best route. If you wish to immigrate this year, an EB-5 application would not be adjudicated in that time frame. The amount you have as assets might also prove to be troublesome as you may not qualify as an "accredited investor."
$500,000 cash is the minimum amount required for EB-5 funds and it has to be at risk, meaning the funds should be wired into the new business or in a third party escrow account. It may be a good option for you to start E-2 if you are eligible for E-2 as a citizen of a treaty country with the United States. You can eventually convert to EB-5 investment if you keep a good trail of your paperwork.
You could certainly start with an E-2 visa and then apply for an EB-5 once you have the required investment amount and you are able to create 10 full-time jobs. You can also take out a loan that is secured by your property and apply for the EB-5 visa right away if you wish.
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