What are the possible ways I can participate in the EB-5 program?
I am a Chinese citizen who studies in the United States. I purchased a home here as a primary residence two years ago with funds from my parents. Currently, I am on OPT, which will start next month, so I do not have an SSN yet. What are the possible ways I have to participate in the EB-5 program? For example, can I take out loans against my own home for investment?
As an EB-5 investor, you will have to show the lawful source of the funds your parents used to purchase your house. If you obtain a loan on the the house, you will also have to show you have the financial means to repay the loan. The alternative is for the parents to gift you the funds for the required EB-5 investment.
You may use loaned funds as EB-5 investment if it is your personal asset (home purchased in your name) and your bank gives you unrestricted loan proceeds for use as EB-5 investment. You will also need to demonstrate the source of funds you parents used to gift you funds to purchase your home. Further, you will actually need to either invest loan proceeds to a direct EB-5 business or in a project within a USCIS approved regional center in the United States and either directly create 10 full-time jobs or use indirect job creation through a regional center project investment respectively to qualify for the EB-5 green card. Lastly, filing an I-526 petition will not provide you with any lawful immigration status in the United States and you will have to maintain OPT/F-1 status or another lawful immigration status in the United States while awaiting the immigrant visa backlog (if you are mainland Chinese national) to adjust status to a conditional permanent resident in the United States or otherwise will have to consular process abroad upon approval of I-526 petition and wait for an immigrant visa to become current.
John J Downey
You may take out a loan as long as you are personally responsible for repayment. You should also verify the sources of funds of the money your parents gifted to you.
You can take loans against your assets (property) if it is under your name and the loan is given as a line of credit without any restrictions for use. However, the loan needs to be in accordance with all proper U.S. landing practices and enough to invest. Also, please remember that Chinese visas are not current for the EB-5 category and since your OPT could end before you can adjust your status under the EB-5 program, you need a contingency plan for your time while waiting for the EB-5 visa to become available to you as well. The first step is to contact and hire an experienced immigration attorney to assist you. Good luck.
You will likely have to participate through the EB-5 regional center program. You can take a line of credit from your home, but you will have to demonstrate the lawful source of funds for the money used to purchase the home. In other words, your parents will have to provide documentation in that regard.
You can participate in the EB-5 program by making an investment decision to invest in one of the existing EB-5 regional centers. There are many EB-5 regional centers with real estate and other projects, some of them brand names. You can investigate on your own; in fact, depending upon your geographic location, you can talk to the EB-5 project developer about their project. You can find a lot of information about these projects online. The minimum investment is $500,000 plus you will have expenses in excess of $50,000. You will have to show a lawful source of funds for the minimum investment which, under certain conditions, could be funds based upon a loan or mortgage against your existing home. Once you make the investment decision, remember currently there is a significant backlog under the quota for Chinese nationals, meaning if you made an investment today, according to the Visa Bulletin published by the U.S. Department of State, visa numbers are only available for Chinese nationals who filed EB-5 petitions more than two years ago. In fact, the waiting period could be much longer unless Congress increases the overall number of visa numbers for the EB-5 program.
You will have to directly invest in a new commercial enterprise or go through a regional center investment project. Purchasing your home, borrowing on it, etc., would not qualify for the "investment" part of the EB-5 program.