Questions about the EB-5 Visa Green Card
Latest EB5 Questions
From our experience we are aware that there are a number of questions which potential EB5 applicants should be asking but rarely do – we can cover these points with you.
Does it matter where the various regional centers are located?
As you can live or work anywhere you want to in the USA through the EB-5 visa you may feel or indeed be told that the location of the various regional centres is not relevant. However, the location of a number of regional centre programs could in particular circumstances have a significant impact, for example after two years and again when you are able to exit the program and receive your money back.
We have discovered by visiting regional centers a much clearer idea of the pros and cons of their location.
Unfortunately some EB-5 visa applicants either rely on the brochures or if they visit only go to one or two centers where they take the handout and listen to the sales message – they rarely spend the time necessary to look all around the surrounding areas, which we know from our time on the ground can identify issues that are of critical importance.
Should I believe the advertising?
In certain instances we have concerns regarding aspects of particular regional centers when analysing the overall picture. Information from the regional centres can vary from a few sheets of paper to a massive amount of glossy documentation which can be very daunting and confusing. One difficulty can be that attorneys may obviously focus on the legal aspects of the visa performance whereas in the case of the EB5 visa the complete picture is important.
How helpful are some self help web sites which provide the benefit of people’s experience?
We are frequently asked to contribute to leading magazines, guides and newspaper articles as expert advisers guest columnists and writers of feature articles.
We have seen a number of instances where a potential EB5 visa applicant has written in after obtaining information from a web or blog site. Although sometimes the information can be helpful we recently researched a large immigration blog site which included totally misleading and incorrect information. We received the following reply from the site which we wonder if those taking advice were aware of.
"…………… does not screen communications in advance and is not responsible for screening or monitoring material posted by Users. Nor do we guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of such User content. Visitors to this site are reminded that the details contained within comments are uncorroborated and as such should not be read as fact but as the opinion of the person who posted the comment, and hence …………….will not be held liable."
We also discovered a leading contributor to this website has posted over 42,000 messages on all manner of topics from marriage break ups to the state of living in the UK – this would not be immediately evident to those seeking informed and accurate information on the EB5 visa!
Does it matter if particular centers focus on marketing in particular countries?
There are a number of important but rarely considered Implications relating to why certain regional centres focus on applicants from particular countries, you should be aware of these when considering the various regional centres.
What are some of the implications resulting from regional centers requiring you to use a particular Attorney?
Some regional centres leave you free to choose your own EB-5 visa attorney; a few require you to use their own approved attorney. There are specific points regarding the implications of this that are not obvious which we have highlighted on a number of occasions.
We have spoken to representatives of certain particular regional centers and are confused by the information they have given us.
It is to be expected that regional centres are going to stress their particular strengths and a few knock their competitors. However, it can be almost impossible to obtain an independent balanced perspective of the advantages and disadvantages of the various programs when speaking with these regional center representatives. Attorneys specialising in the EB5 visa cover the legal aspects but often don’t go into a detailed comparison of the various programs.
Which key issues of the application process are people not told about that may cause problems with their plans?
The timing of the EB5 visa process can for some applicants be of critical importance and again from our long experience of working with EB5 visa applicants key implications are not pointed out until it is to late.
We found out about the EB5 visa through newspaper advertising or promotion at an exhibition.
It really is important to obtain an impartial overview of all the EB5 visa options before making a life changing decision on a particular program.
We have considered the E2 visa?
A number of immigrants have experienced problems with these visas which do not provide permanent resident status and in a number of cases can, and indeed will, require you to return to your country of origin. As a US Government official said regarding a recent TV program exposing questionable immigration practices:
This extract is from a post on the ITV site in connection with a Trevor McDonald program and may be of interest.
STATEMENT FROM US EMBASSY:
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to your concerns about the processing of E-2 Investor Non-Immigrant visas at U.S. Embassy London. It would be useful to give a sense of perspective on these cases. In 2006, U.S. Embassy London processed 2707 E-2 Investor Non-Immigrant visa applications. Of these, 2363 were approved and 341 refused indicating an approval rate of 87.39 per cent. We review every case to determine the eligibility of the applicant under U.S. immigration law. When an applicant fails to meet the legal requirements for the issuance of a visa we are obliged to refuse it.
A Non-Immigrant E visa is not a good option for someone who intends to reside permanently in the United States.
The treaty investor visa program was designed to enhance commercial interaction between the US and other countries. It is not intended as a means of self-employment or immigration. Should an E-2 visa holder retire or sell his or her investment, the visa status lapses and he or she must leave the US. The more secure option for those who wish to reside indefinitely in the US is a permanent resident visa of "green card". These visas are based on a relationship to a US citizen or permanent resident, or on specialized employment skills.
Many British citizens purchase homes in Florida or other sunny locales in the US and legally spend up to 90 days per visit without a visa or up to 180 days with a B1/B2 visitor visa. In fact, many British "snow birds" have been buying vacation homes to temporarily stay in Florida from October through April every year for the last decade.
However, there is no US retirement visa, even for applicants who are financially independent. Those who seek to reside in the US permanently must pursue an appropriate immigrant visa. Prospective investors should be cautious about claims from agents or salespeople that an investment will assure their qualification for an E-2 visa, particularly if the other party has a vested interest in the sale. Only a consular officer may approve a visa. Prospective investors should review the information on the Embassy website and consider seeking advice from a US immigration law professional prior to making a financial commitment to any investment for the purpose of obtaining a visa.
END OF STATEMENT FROM US EMBASSY:
Latest EB5 Questions
Having made a number of repeat visits to various regional centers we are very aware how important it is to look beyond the marketing information to the reality of how the programs actually work and their track record.
The pros and cons of the regional centers can vary enormously depending upon your priorities - most potential EB5 visa applicants do not have the time to visit all regional centers, and thus tend to rely on marketing material
Just a few of the Questions we consider are:-
- Why we felt it was critical when visiting EB-5 regional centers to look beyond the actual meeting with the staff and what we subsequently discovered.
- Why EB-5 visa applicants need be aware of the implications of an RFE (Request for Further Information) and what can lie behind this
- Why you need to look beyond the marketing claims regarding the regional center location
- What are the implications of various nationalities seeming prefer certain regional centers
- What are the ratio of successful applications to those that fail?
- What are the ratio of applications whose conditions are successfully removed after two years?
- Which regional centers are close to returning client funds?
We do not charge a fee for our services as the EB5 regional centers pay us a consultancy fee as independent consultants.
If you would like to be sent information on your EB5 visa options, a report from a leading EB-5 visa Immigration practice, or would like a briefing on the EB5 visa program click here or telephone ++1.561.771.1330.