• What is the EB-5 Visa Program?

    Overseen by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), EB-5 provides 10,000 foreign nationals annually the opportunity to obtain permanent residency (a green card) by investing in the U.S. economy and creating jobs. This investment is usually done through an approved Regional Center. EB-5 visa applicants, their spouse, and their unmarried children under 21 will obtain their green cards once all requirements have been successfully met and approved by USCIS.
  • What are some of the benefits of the EB-5 visa program?

    Through the USA EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, applicants can enjoy a host of exclusive benefits including:
    • No language skills required;
    • No minimum education required;
    • No business of management experience required;
    • Investment capital can come from a gift, inheritance, business ownership or any other lawful activities;
    • No obligation to live in the area of investment;
    • The opportunity to live, work and study anywhere in the U.S. and benefit from favorable admissions and reduced tuition costs at colleges and universities;
    • Inclusion of dependent children under the age of 21;
    • Permanent residents need not physically be present in the United States on a continuous basis; they can maintain business and professional relations in their country of origin.
    After five years, the investor and their family may obtain US citizenship, subject to meeting all immigration requirements, as required under law.
  • What are the benefits of the green card?

    • All legal permanent residents under the EB-5 Investor Program enjoy the same benefits as every other United States resident. • The U.S. is a safe harbor for your family as well as your personal and business investments. Any member of the family with a “green card” can enter the U.S. at any time and stay as long as he/she wishes respecting residency requirements. • Investors have constant and easy access to the United States for personal, trade and business purposes. • Permanent residents travel to the U.S. without the need of a visa. Investors may work, live, or own their own proprietary business anywhere in the United States. • The U.S. has internationally recognized colleges and universities for both basic education and graduate study. As a resident, the investor can benefit from lower tuition costs. • The cost of living in the U.S. is less than most large industrial nations. Consumer goods, services, and housing are significantly less expensive than comparable services and good in most other countries. • Students may work in the U.S. while they attend college and then continue to work afterwards, enabling the student to pay part of his education and to work while attending graduate and postgraduate studies. • The U.S. provides many financial, social and education entitlements such as public schools, health and medical attention, social security, and education. • The Investor has the ability to bring immediate family members to the U.S. right away and, after proper application, can obtain U.S. citizenship after 5 years. • The unrestricted permanent residency requires no renewal or re-application. Other U.S. non-immigrant visas, such as E-2 and H may never result in permanent residency, have time limits, and require additional filing with USCIS or the Department of State. Furthermore, U.S. immigration laws may change and prevent future approval when a renewal of visa is required.
  • What is a regional center?

    The EB-5 investment can either be done directly or through an EB-5 Regional Center. Regional centers receive designation from USCIS to administer EB-5 investments, and are responsible for adhering to the EB-5 program regulations. As a result, investment through regional centers suits those who want a more “hands-off” approach. More than 90 percent of all EB-5 applicants invest through a regional center. Regional center projects are located in a targeted employment area (TEA).
  • What is a “Targeted Employment Area” (TEA)?

    The required EB-5 investment amount is lowered from $1 million to $500,000 dollars if the EB-5 project is conducted in a TEA. In order to be designated as a TEA, the EB-5 project must be located in either a rural area or in a location that has high unemployment.
  • What are the job creation requirements?

    The USCIS requires that EB-5 investments result in the creation of 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. These jobs must be created and preserved for two years. These two years coincide with the investor’s two-year conditional green card. Another advantage of investing through a Regional Center is that “indirect” jobs count towards this requirement. Indirect jobs are those created in businesses that supply goods or services to the EB-5 project.
  • What are The Madison Group’s fees?

    The Madison Group charges a management fee of $50,000 per investment.
  • Are there any other fees involved?

    In addition to the investment amount and management fee, investors are also responsible for their attorney fees. In our experience, legal fees tend to be $10,000-$15,000 for an investor.
  • Must an investor have previous business experience or education?

    No.
  • Must an investor speak English?

    No, but it is strongly recommended that a non-English speaking investor should hire the services of a translator to ensure that the investor fully understands the investment terms and the offering materials are reviewed carefully before the investor makes a decision.
  • Must an investor be in good health?

    Yes. An investor must submit to and pass a health screening as part of the Consular review process before a conditional EB-5 visa is granted.
  • What is a ‘conditional’ green card?

    A conditional Green Card is a temporary Green Card valid for two years. One year and nine months after it is issued, a three-month window opens up during which an individual must file another application (I-829) with the USCIS to verify that all of the funds have been invested and employment created, in a regional center whether directly or indirectly. When the conditional resident status has been lifted, full resident status is granted and a permanent Green Card is issued.
  • What is the difference between ‘conditional’ and ‘unconditional’ green cards?

    A conditional green card is valid for a two-year period. An unconditional or permanent green card is valid for ten years. Other than this, the two cards offer the same rights and privileges.
  • Can an investor apply for an EB-5 visa if they have been rejected or terminated in the past by USCIS for an L-1, E-2, B, or other visa?

    Rejection in the past does not disqualify the applicant, unless the reasons related to immigration fraud or other major problems. It is most important that all criminal, medical, or U.S. immigration history problems be disclosed to the limited partnership and legal counsel in advance of application.
  • Who receives the permanent residency?

    The investor, spouse, and any unmarried children (even if adopted) under the age of 21 at the time of the I-526 filing, may receive a green card.
  • How long must an investor remain in the United States each year?

    The first requirement of any investor after they receive the visa at the United States overseas consular office is to enter into the United States within 180 days of visa issuance from the consulate. The investor must then establish residency in the United States. Evidence of intent to reside includes opening bank accounts, obtaining a driver’s license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, renting or buying a home. There are a few exceptions to the 180-day rule such as students studying abroad, medical circumstances or emergency business circumstances. The 180 days need not be consecutive. You may travel in and out of the country. Proper preparation for re-entry into the US is highly recommend prior to leaving. The 180-day rule is in effect until you get citizenship in 5 years. It is still in effect when you get conditional residency and a green card. The United States resident may work overseas if required based upon the nature of the business or profession. However, all permanent residents must remain in the US for more than 6 months each year, or they may be deemed to have abandoned their permanent residence status.
  • May an investor live overseas during the waiting period?

    The investor may work overseas. For those permanent residents living outside the U.S., it is recommended that the investor and family re-enter the U.S. no less than once every six months.
  • What is the difference between permanent residency and citizenship?

    Once you obtain a green card, and become a legal permanent resident, you have most of the rights and obligations of U.S. citizens, except that you cannot vote and you are not entitled to some public benefits. You are subject to the same tax filing requirements and entitled to the same tax rates and deductions as U.S. citizens. Your ‘green card’ is your most important travel and identification document. When your green card arrives, look at it carefully. You may need to extend it in 10 years. If you replace it before then because it is lost, stolen, or duplicated, you may file a form with the USCIS. “Abandonment of residency” rules are an important restriction to which legal permanent residents are subject. Abandonment can occur when you are outside of the United States for more than six months without informing the USCIS of your plans in advance. The law provides that you are free to travel abroad, provided that your trip is “temporary”. Generally, the USCIS views any absence from the United States for longer than six months as not temporary. Thus, it is advisable to obtain a “re-entry permit” before your departure. One of the most important rights legal permanent residents possess is the right to obtain U.S. citizenship after five years. There are two ways to become a U.S. citizen. One is by being born in the U.S. The other way is by naturalization. The first step in becoming a U.S. citizen through naturalization is to become a Legal Permanent Resident (LPR). Being a LPR for 5 years is one of the basic requirements for qualifying for naturalization. A second requirement is being physically present in the U.S. for 30 months during the 5 years prior to the naturalization application. Once becoming a U.S. citizen, an individual is entitled to benefits including the right to vote and hold public office.
  • Is an investor entitled to keep their citizenship from their country of origin?

    Maybe. The U.S. allows dual citizenship, but your original country of origin may not allow it. You will need to investigate this.
  • How long is a green card valid for?

    Conditional green cards are valid for two years. Unconditional green cards are valid for ten years. This does not mean that after ten years, an individual is no longer a legal permanent resident—only the card itself becomes invalid and must be renewed.
  • Are any countries excluded from eligibility for the EB-5 visa program?

    Residents of only a few countries are excluded (e.g., North Korea). In most cases, however, if the applicant is able to leave the excluded country and has the necessary capital to quality for the program, legal counsel will be able to help the applicant qualify for visa approval.
  • What issue has caused the most problem when applying for an EB-5 visa?

    The most common problem area has been insufficient documentation of the source of funds. Many people try to disclose the least possible information only to have the file returned with a request for further information. It is better to provide too much information rather than too little information. USCIS case examiners require a well-documented source of funds application. Professional assistance from a certified public accountant or tax attorney is recommended.
  • How long does it take for an investor and their family to receive their green cards?

    The processing time varies case by case. Our experience has been that it takes about 6-12 months to receive approval for an I-526 petition. Petitioners living in the United States should then expect to wait another six months for approval of their adjustment of status. Petitioners living abroad at the time of application should apply for an immigration visa through an American consulate, a process which also takes approximately six months. After approval of the immigrant visa through consular processing, the investors and their families receive conditional green cards within a few weeks of their arrival in the United States.
  • Does an investor need an immigration attorney to submit the applications?

    It is strongly recommended that an investor obtain legal services for their immigration petition submissions. In fact, The Madison Group will not accept an investor who does not work with a qualified immigration attorney. The narrative and documentation needed for the petition process is extensive, and the chosen attorney will assist with the petitions, consulate interview and visa processing. For help in choosing an immigration attorney, please contact us.
  • What is the I-526 petition?

    After thoroughly reviewing the investor’s file with their immigration attorney, if we are confident that the investor is an eligible candidate for an EB-5 visa, the investor will be instructed to wire the $500K investment amount into the Project’s escrow account. The immigration attorney will then prepare and file the I-526 Immigration Petition by Alien Entrepreneur on behalf of the investor. This form demonstrates that the investor has already invested the required amount of capital in a suitable EB-5 project. Furthermore, a key purpose of the I-526 petition is for applicants to prove that their capital investment comes from a lawful source of funds. Therefore, the EB-5 application must provide traceable evidence that the funds were legally obtained. The applicants must also present evidence that their investment will lead to the creation of fulltime jobs (35 hours per week or more) for at least 10 U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other authorized immigration workers. Evidence that proves that the EB-5 investor will be in a policymaking or managerial role at the EB-5 project must also be provided. This requirement can be satisfied by demonstration that an investor has voting rights in an EB-5 Regional Center project that is in the form of a limited partnership of limited liability company.
  • How long does it take for the I-526 petition to be approved?

    Investors are usually notified as to whether or not the petition has been approved by USCIS after period of 8-14 months.
  • If the I-526 petition is denied, is the investment refunded?

    Yes. The full amount will be returned to the account from which the funds originated.
  • What’s the next step, after I-526 approval?

    EB-5 visa applications can apply for U.S. residential status and receive a two-year conditional green card once the I-526 petition is complete. They do so by filing the form I-485 adjustment of status if they are already in the United States as a nonimmigrant (i.e. a student), or by filing the DS-230 application if they are abroad.
  • What is the I-485 application?

    This form adjusts the status of an immigrant investor already in the United States to become U.S. conditional permanent residents.
  • What is the DS-230 application?

    EB-5 visa applicants located outside the United States at the time of their I-526 approval have to file this form to obtain conditional permanent residency status. Part I of the DS-230 application collects standard biographical information and is completed and submitted by the application themselves. Applicants must also provide a list of all previous residences, job history from the past 10 years, and military service information. Part II of the application is completed in the presences of a Consular Officer at the U.S. consulate or embassy. The applicant may be required to bring documentation, such as marriage certificated, long form birth certificates and passports to their interview. Separate DS-230 applications must be filed for each family member accompanying the primary EB-5 investor.
  • What is the purpose of the Consulate application and interview?

    The purpose of the Consulate application is to ensure that the investor and family members undergo medical, police, security and immigration history checks before the conditional permanent resident visa are issued. At the interview, the Consulate Officer may address these issues and information printed on the I-526 petition, including the nature of the immigrant investment.
  • May members of the family have their Consulate interview in different countries?

    Family members may interview in different countries. The country of origin or where the family has current ties is the standard interview site. However, a student attending school in the U.S. would not have to return to the country of origin; status can be adjusted in the United States at the district office of the USCIS.
  • What is the I-829 petition?

    The I-829 petition is the final step of the EB-5 visa process for immigrant investors to become lawful permanent residents of the United States. The I-829 petition includes evidence that the immigrant investor successfully met all USCIS requirements of the EB-5 program. Once the I-829 is approved, the investor’s conditional residency restriction is removed. The Madison Group will file the I-829 on your behalf with your immigration attorney. We will provide all supporting evidence regarding the Limited Partnership, capital investment and newly created jobs to submit with the I-829 petition. Once the I-829 petition is filed with the USCIS, conditional permanent residency is extended for one year.
  • What does it mean to be an accredited investor?

    In the U.S., an individual is considered to be an accredited investor if he or she has a net worth in excess of $1 million (excluding the value of the primary residence), or has income exceeding $200,000 each year for the last two years, $300,000 with spouse if married, and has reasonable expectation to earn the same amount in the current year and beyond. For more information, please visit U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission webpage
  • What is a Limited Partnership?

    A Limited Partnership is a business organization with one or more General Partners, who manage the business and assume legal debts and obligations, and one or more Limited Partners, who are liable only to the extent of their investments. Limited Partners also enjoy rights to the Partnership's cash flow, but are not liable for company obligations.
  • How is the Limited Partnership interest protected?

    The USCIS requires that some financial risk be assumed by the investor in order to qualify for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Each investor must qualify for the minimum at risk capital and new job creation requirement. Every effort is made by the General Partner to minimize the amount of risk by ensuring that the investment is properly collateralized and that the Partnership remains in strong financial standing.
  • May several investors combine or “pool” their investment capital through one Limited Partnership?

    The regulations specifically allow for the pooling of funds by several investors to establish a Limited Partnership sufficient to qualify all participating investors. The only requirement is that each investor must individually meet the minimum at risk capital and new job creation requirements.
  • What are some of the benefits of the EB-5 visa program?

    Through the USA EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, applicants can enjoy a host of exclusive benefits including:
    • No language skills required;
    • No minimum education required;
    • No business of management experience required;
    • Investment capital can come from a gift, inheritance, business ownership or any other lawful activities;
    • No obligation to live in the area of investment;
    • The opportunity to live, work and study anywhere in the U.S. and benefit from favorable admissions and reduced tuition costs at colleges and universities;
    • Inclusion of dependent children under the age of 21;
    • Permanent residents need not physically be present in the United States on a continuous basis; they can maintain business and professional relations in their country of origin.
    After five years, the investor and their family may obtain US citizenship, subject to meeting all immigration requirements, as required under law.
  • What is meant by the requirement that the investor’s assets be “lawfully gained”?

    Under USCIS regulations, investors must demonstrate that investment assets were gained in a lawful manner, such as income from a legitimate business, salary, investments, sale of a property, inheritance, gift, loan, or other lawful means.
  • What forms of evidence may be used to prove that the capital investment was lawfully gained?

    Acceptable forms of evidence include tax returns (5 years), pay stubs of the funds coming from earnings from an employer, bank account statements, and securities statements (if the funds can from trading/bonds/stocks).
  • Can money gifted by a parent or other relative be used for an EB-5 investment?

    Yes, provided that any applicable gift taxes are paid. It must be demonstrated that the gift is an actual arms length transaction and is not a mere ruse that the gifted funds will be given back after permanent resident status is granted.