How much money do I need to have in escrow to file and secure I-526 approval? I know I have to be in the process of investing, but what does this actually mean. I am afraid to commit my funds before I know if my I-526 will be approved. What else do I need for an I-526?
USCIS does not provide a monetary figure that should be in escrow. USCIS looks for an investor to have reached the point of no return, meaning that it is more likely than not that the investor will proceed with the EB-5 investment. Under a regional center scenario, the release of the funds may be contingent on I-526 approval. Please contact an experienced EB-5 attorney to assist you.
You need to have the entire requisite amount (either $500,000 if the commercial enterprise you are investing is located in a TEA, or $1miilion) invested and at risk before you can file the I-526 Petition; however, your invested funds may be held in escrow conditioned on the petition being approved. This is an accepted practice for USCIS and those developments/projects working with EB-5 funding.
If you are investing into a regional center project, most regional centers will require you to wire the full investment amount into their designated escrow account before you can file your I-526 petition. If you are investing into a direct EB-5 project, you may invest by installments. Actually, you should review the terms of the escrow agreement. You will find under what kind of circumstance your funds will be released from the escrow account. You can negotiate with the project owner and ask them not to release your funds before your I-526 is approved.
If it is going to be in an escrow, you should put the entire amount. To show that the petitioner has invested or is actively in the process of investing the required amount of capital, the petition must be accompanied by evidence that the petitioner has placed the required amount of capital at risk for the purpose of generating a return on the capital placed at risk. Evidence of mere intent to invest, or of prospective investment arrangements entailing no present commitment, will not suffice to show that the petition is actively in the process of investing. The alien must show actual commitment of the required amount of capital. 8 C.F.R. ? 204.6(j)(2). If you intend to use some funds in escrow plus a promissory note to fund further, nearly all of the money due under a promissory note must be payable within two year without provision for any extension, according to the USCIS EB-5 adjudication memo issued on May 30, 2013.
Generally, investors place the entire investment amount into escrow with release conditioned on filing or approval of the I-526. If you are concerned, insist on the release being conditioned on I-526 approval. You can also negotiate for refunds in the event of a denial. Of course, these items can be handled by your U.S. Immigration attorney, who will know how to make these provisions compliant with EB-5 rules and policies.
The entire required amount of EB-5 funds (e.g., $5000,000.00) will need to be deposited in the escrow account at the time of filing the I-526 petition. Based upon the business plan and offering documents, if investing in an EB-5 Regional Center project, you are in the process of investing by leaving the funds in escrow until the I-526 petition is approved. Therefore, upon approval of the I-526 petition for an EB-5 regional center project, the funds will be transferred from the escrow account to the new commercial enterprise and then committed to the project.
All of the funds must be committed and the 10 employees hired. I think you are confusing the EB-5 requirements with those of the nonimmigrant E-2, treaty investor category, which requires only that the investor must be actively in the process of making the substantial investment.
You should deposit the full amount of capital in escrow. Escrow is a safety measure that will allow for release of the funds to the investment project ONLY upon I-526 approval. If your I-526 is denied, then the funds are returned to you. You should consult with an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney, such as myself, to advise you on this matter.