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How can I submit my Eb-5 investment after my application is approved so I don't sell my assets in vain?

I am a Norwegian investor. In short, I am looking to file an I-526 (Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor) to set up a real estate company providing affordable housing in a targeted employment area (TEA) in Miami, FL. This will be a similar operation to what I have successfully been running in Oslo for the past few years in cooperation with the social services branch of the Norwegian government. For this, a minimum investment of $900,000 is required. The origin of the funds will be partly from selling my company to an investor friend and also selling two properties I own in Oslo. As I understand the process of obtaining such a visa can take up to 2 years or more, what I am looking to learn is this: May I file the I-526 now and then when/if I am approved sell off these assets so that I have the $900,000 in hand and ready to invest before moving? Or I am required to sell the assets now and have $900,000 in cash visible in my account or escrow before I can even apply/be approved? If for some reason I am not approved, selling off these assets now would be an expensive mistake as they will have appreciated substantially over the next couple of years.

Answers

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Unfortunately, the requirement is that your funds must be at risk, which means you have to fully invest before filing the I-526. Some projects do have a provision of all or partial refund if the I-526 is not approved.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You need to sell the assets now and make the investment before you file the application. Also, the green card is not merely based on the investment, the critical aspect is to create 10 full-time jobs, unless applying through a regional center affiliated project in which case you can create 10 jobs indirectly using proven and acceptable formulae.

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    Kristal Ozmun

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You need to actually invest the capital, i.e., use it in the new business prior to filing.

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    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The Immigration Service likes to see the money invested before you file the EB-5 case. Having said that, it is possible to properly structure a different way to do it. Let''s say you form a company in the U.S. to do the business in the U.S. Your business plan could provide that you will give the company a note which is backed up with collateral (your property in Norway). The collateral needs to be worth fair market value more than the amount of the note. You will need an experienced immigration counsel to make sure this is done right! You don''t want to wait 2-3 years and then find out it was not done right.

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    Belma Demirovic Chinchoy

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The filing of an Eb5 petition is based on an investment, so yes, investment first, immigration petition second. And yes, a risk is required. If you plan carefully and work with an experienced immigration attorney, your petition should be approved.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An EB-5 case requires an at-risk investment and the USCIS requires that any petition be approvable when filed. Therefore, you cannot file your I-526 petition, wait for approval, and then make the investment. The only risk-mitigating option would be to use an escrow which automatically releases the funds to the investment upon approval of your I-526 petition, the processing of which could take three years (or longer). Therefore, you would be without the use of those funds during that time. You also would need to demonstrate, through a comprehensive business plan, that the new commercial enterprise will create 10 full-time positions for U.S. workers within two years and that you have taken concrete and meaningful steps to start the business prior to the time the I-526 petition is filed. This will be difficult to do if all of the funds are in escrow. You might consider making a partial investment to start the business and put the rest of the funds in escrow (with the automatic trigger release to the business upon I-526 approval) prior to filing your I-526 petition. You will need a strong, EB-5 compliant business plan that is both, credible and feasible, and based upon verifiable data.