I have several successful businesses in my home country. I want to launch a branch in the U.S. and support my direct EB-5 investment application. I already have a detailed business plan and my business model has been proven successful. I am wondering how long it usually takes to set up an EB-5-compliant business and if I can make it before the November deadline when the minimum investment increases.
You can file an EB-5 petition with compliant documents before November 21. However, you need to retain the services of an experienced EB-5 attorney and a supporting team of professionals.
I know I'm a few weeks late, but even if you start now you have a chance.
You need to set up an LLC, get a tax ID number and find a location. If you are looking to only invest $500,000 you will need confirmation from the state that the location you pick is in a TEA. Doable, but you need to move quickly.
As long as your business plan, structure, ability to create/maintain requisite minimum job creation, etc., are sold, and also you as the investor is able to provide evidence of lawful source of source of funds, you can file. Also, if you are filing with under $1 million invested capital, you need to first obtain a targeted employment area designation.
It does not take all that long to set up an EB-5-compliant business, but you need to have 100% of the money committed to the enterprise at the time of filing, which means you usually need to have leased/bought your office/facility and have spent a fair amount of the money and committed the rest. You also need to ensure that the business is capable of creating 10 full-time, permanent jobs for U.S. workers within 2.5 of the approval of the petition. These do not include the investor and family members, or a combination of part-time positions. Each position must be 35 or more hours a week. It is still possible to get it done before Nov. 21, but you would need to start immediately.
You could do this if you retain immigration counsel and corporate counsel soon.
The time span can be relatively short. In a direct investment situation, like the one you are planning, getting the business up and running depends on your level of preparation some of which you have mentioned, such as putting together a business plan and having a proven business model ready to be deployed. However, bear in mind that your business plan should show how you intend to meet EB-5 requirements such as creation of at least 10 jobs, whether the investment will be at $500,000 or $1 million, depending of the location of the business (after Nov. 21, the investment amount will go up from $500,000 to $900,000 and $1 million to $1.8 million). Also, you need to prove that the investment fund is from legal source(s), etc. Advisably, consult an EB-5 attorney and other professionals who can help as soon as possible.
Honestly, this is a very hard question to answer without having full access to the details of what you are trying to accomplish. Practically speaking, it will be hard, but not impossible. You should engage an immigration attorney right away to advise you properly.
Setting up a business in the U.S. is quick. The question is how soon you can document your legal source of funds. Once your EB-5 attorney verifies that the source of funds is clear enough to support the EB-5 petition, you can start transferring the funds outside of your country. Considering the time limit, I would say that you should complete the fund transfer and business establishment at least three weeks before the November deadline so that your attorney will have enough time to comb through the documents and prepare for the petition. Because you have a business in your home country and you want to launch a branch in the U.S., did you consider the L-1 visa option? It has a premium processing so you can get a decision in 15 days. EB-5 currently is quite backed up in the processing times.
It would be very difficult to get EB-5 compliance in such a short time. If you doing a straight $1 million and 10 full-time employees, or regular direct case, then it is possible, but to do one based on indirect jobs or TEA, that is more complicated if self-funded. Make sure you have competent advisors regarding the source of funds which must be from you personally and be traceable.
Two months is usually sufficient but it depends on your situation. You should also explore the L-1/EB-1C option, given you have businesses in your home country.
For most people, two to three months is not unusual. It can be faster. It just depends on how efficient and experienced you are. Plus, if you're opening up another branch in the U.S., it is worthwhile to consider L-1 as well.
If you start now there is no reason you cannot meet the Nov. 21 effective date for the final regulations.
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