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The EB-5 visa program allows foreign nationals to become legal U.S. residents, or green card holders, by investing at least $500,000 in a U.S. business that will employ at least 10 workers. Ms. Henin-Clark has represented thousands of EB-5 clients from every continent, and she often has been asked to correct mistakes clients made earlier in their attempts to use this program. One obstacle we often see is how to move investment funds from clients’ home countries – particularly in Asia – where there are limits on exporting money.
For example, Chinese nationals cannot transfer more than $50,000 annually out of the country, and India banking laws limit such transfers to $250,000.
We advise on how to effect such transfers legally. Loans and gifts of money also must be structured properly, and the U.S. government requires extensive documentation on the source of funds. We counsel clients on how to do these transactions in compliance with both the laws of their native countries and the U.S.
Another problem we encounter is the viability of regional centers, the third-party intermediaries that connect foreign investors using the EB-5 program with businesses in the U.S. We have seen regional centers that skirt the rules and thereby jeopardize the immigration goals of clients. We help clients by doing due diligence on regional centers, reviewing business plans and other background information, and ensuring that their investment is compliant with the rules of the program. We also represent U.S. businesses that want to become qualified EB-5 regional centers and advise them on finding these capital sources.
There currently is a backlog of EB-5 applications, and Congress will have to extend the program past its current scheduled expiration in December 2018. We will continue to follow developments and counsel clients on alternatives.
Examples of our EB-5 clients include: