frequently asked questions

Q

I understand that EB-5 has been the subject of litigation. Will this history affect my green card applications?

It should help our investors. In June 2006, the USCIS removed green card conditions from all pre-1998 American Life, Inc. investors. This sets a precedent for programs such as American Life, Inc., which invests the full invested amount of $500,000 in job producing projects in our regional centers.
The history is outlined as follows: American Life, Inc., formed its regional center in 1996 and raised capital from some 40 investors between 1996 and 1998. Several other companies competed for investment capital during this period, but some of these companies didn’t offer sound investments and were only in business to collect fees rather than to fund an ongoing business. Many of these other investment opportunities didn’t raise the full $500,000 in investment capital or hire the required number of employees. Because some of these companies did not comply with the regulations, INS, the legacy administrator of U.S. immigration services (now USCIS), rightly set out to stop this abuse of the program. In 1998, INS revised the rules retroactively to people who already had approved petitions; however INS also wrongly attempted to revoke all EB-5 visa petitions. This led to the litigation.
In 2002, in a case commonly known as Chang vs.United States the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the USCIS could not apply their new rules retroactively. In the same year, the U.S. Congress also passed a new law to protect the pre-1998 investors. In September 2005 and May 2006, the USCIS approved all American Life, Inc. pre-1998 removal-of-condition (I-829) petitions. As a result American Life, Inc. dropped its lawsuit against the U.S. Justice Department. American Life, Inc. was able to settle with the U.S. government because all of our investors invested $500,000 in job creating investments. It took eight years to work through the system and to prove the point that American Life, Inc. provides legitimate EB-5 investments. During the interim period, all of the investors were allowed to live in the U.S. as if they had permanent green cards. We believe that EB-5 immigration petitions based on sound investments for the full $500,000, as prescribed by the rules, with proper supporting documentation, will continue to be approved.

Q

After the I-526 petition approval, can members of the family have their consulate interview in different countries (for example, if children are attending school in the U.S. and the parents are not in the U.S., etc.)?

Family members can interview in different countries. The country of origin or where the family has current ties is the standard interview site. Often one member of the family is located in another country, such as a student attending school in the U.S. The student does not have to return to the country of origin and can adjust his or her status in the U.S. at the district office of the USCIS.

Q

Can I apply if I have been rejected by the USCIS for other type visa?

Rejection in the past does not disqualify an applicant for EB-5, unless the reasons are related to immigration fraud or other major problems. It is most important that the investor disclose all criminal, medical, or U.S. immigration history problems to American Life, Inc. and the immigration attorney in advance of your petition submission.

Q

If my I-526 petition is approved by the USCIS, what is the purpose of the consulate application and interview?

The purpose of this application process is to ensure that the investor and his or her family undergo medical, police, security, and immigration history checks before the conditional permanent resident visas are issued. At the interview, the consulate officer may address these issues and information printed on the I-526 petition, including asking the investor to summarize the nature of his or her immigrant investment. Your immigration attorney will help prepare you for the consulate interview.

Q

How long is the processing time for the I-526 petition and the conditional green card?

The length of processing time from submitting the I-526 petition to granting of the conditional green card is approximately 16 to 20 months depending on the individual. It is a two-step approval process. First, acting as a visa clearing house, the USCIS reviews and approves the investor’s EB-5 application. After the I-526 petition is approved, it is forwarded to the overseas U.S. consulate, where the investor needs to file a consulate application and then follow up with an interview before the immigrant visa is granted.
If the EB-5 investor is already in the U.S., an adjustment of status will be filed with the USCIS instead.

Q

Once I receive my conditional green card, when do I apply for my permanent green card?

The conditional green card will expire two years from the date issued. Investors may submit their I-829 petition as early as three months prior to the expiration date. American Life will supply all supporting evidence regarding the limited partnership, capital investment, and indirect employment. Once the I-829 petition is filed with the USCIS, your conditional permanent residency is extended for one more year while you wait for your official approval from USCIS.

Q

What type information and documents are required for EB-5 petition?

As an EB-5 investor, you must prepare complete biographical information for each applicant, and the principal applicant must provide proof of the source of the investment funds. To prove the source of investment funds, USCIS requires five years of tax returns, five years of bank records, proof of ownership of any businesses, financial statements for each business and business licenses. The goal is to present a track record of an honest course of dealing. If your capital came from a specific transaction, such as sale of a house, inheritance, or gift, you must prove that the transaction occurred by providing an official document, such as a closing statement, contract, or other official documents. This is not an exhaustive list. Other documents may be required and vary on a case-by-case basis.
Your immigration attorney will guide you through the entire process.

Q

What is the difference between “conditional” and “unconditional” green cards?

Under the USCIS regulations, an EB-5 investor who is approved for the EB-5 immigrant visa first receives a “conditional” green card, which is valid for two year period. If all investment and residency requirements are met, then USCIS will grant the “unconditional” or permanent green card, which has no expiration date.

Q

Do I need an immigration attorney? Is immigration processing part of the investment package?

We believe that it is important for you to have independent legal counsel representing your interests without conflict. American Life, Inc. is skilled in real estate investment; we believe it is better to focus on what we do best, providing the best returns on investment.
Mr. Liebman, CEO of American Life, Inc., practiced real estate and immigration law for over 20 years. As a result, American Life, Inc. works through a panel of qualified attorneys who specialize in EB-5. A list of attorneys will be made available to qualified investors who have registered by completing the contact form (CLICK HERE). You will need to make your own arrangements with an attorney. We will work with your attorney and make your immigration application process as easy as possible.

Q

Must I have previous business experience or education?

No, an EB-5 investor is not required to have any prior business experience or a minimum level of education. The only requirement regarding the investor is that he or she has the required net worth and capital to invest $500,000 and additional fees. He or she must be able to prove that the investment funds come from lawful sources, such as profits from sales of property, stocks or bonds, businesses, business transactions, gifts, and inheritances.

Q

What issues have been the most problematic in EB-5 cases?

We use the same investment model for each case and each project. USCIS has reviewed our investment model and has approved visa petitions based on our model. Furthermore USCIS changes its adjudication policies from time to time. Such changes often require further explanation of the project structure, which can delay visa approval, and occasionally result in visa denials. In the unlikely event of visa denial based on project structure American Life, Inc. will defend its investors’ interests in Court at its expense. The most common problems encountered for EB-5 visa have been related to insufficient documentation of the source of funds. Due to privacy and sometimes cultural reasons, many EB-5 investors 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. In this era of terror alerts and suspicions about money laundering, USCIS case examiners require well-documented sources of funds.

Q

Must I stay in the U.S. at all times?

No, but generally, green card holders need to live in the U.S. for more than six months out of a year. If he or she wishes to remain outside the U.S. for more than six months during a year, then he or she should obtain a reentry permit (USCIS form I-131), or potentially be deemed to have abandoned their green card.
Upon obtaining your EB-5 visa and entering the U.S. for the first time, an investor should first establish residency in the U.S. through such action as opening a bank account, renting/buying a home, getting a driver’s license/ID, obtaining a social security number, and paying state and federal taxes.

Q

How are the 10 required jobs created?

​First of all, the reason a lowered EB-5 investment amount of $500,000 is allowed by the USCIS as opposed to $1,000,000 is that the project has to be located in a Target Employment Area (TEA) – either a rural area or an area that experiences a high unemployment rate (150% of the national unemployment-average).
However, by investing in a regional center program, investors do not have to create 10 jobs directly (i.e., to hire 10 full-time US workers), because jobs can be created either directly and/or indirectly. Indirect jobs refer to jobs induced by our tenant’s businesses and construction expenditures and are calculated using statistically valid forecasting models. American Life, Inc. employs economists to calculate direct and indirect job creation for each of our development projects. We make sure each project well exceeds the 10 job requirements and executes our plans in delivering U.S. jobs. Acting as your general partner, American Life, Inc. manages the job creation requirement, so you don’t have to.
Our track record over the years in managing direct and indirect job creations best ensures your final I-829 approval by the USCIS.

Q

What are the real benefits of a U.S. green card?

​​Work – you are allowed to work for any company in the U.S. In some states you can only obtain professional licenses (engineering, real estate agents, etc.) if you have a U.S. green card or are a U.S. citizen.
Business – you can start your own business anywhere in the U.S.
Travel – you can travel anywhere within the U.S. and leave and enter the country without being denied at the port of entry.
Legal rights – all of your legal rights are protected under U.S. law, except the right to vote, which is available after you become a U.S. citizen.
Family members – you can sponsor a spouse and unmarried children (under age 21) through the same green card petition. Even in the unfortunate event that a primary green card holder passes away, the family green card will not be affected.
Education– EB-5 visa green card holders enjoy in-state or resident tuition at all public universities and colleges. Typically, this rate is two to four times less expensive than the rate foreign students have to pay.
Home – In most cases, it may be much easier to be approved for a home mortgage and/or to obtain lower interest rates.
Retirement – EB-5 visa green card holders enjoy the same Social Security benefits as a U.S. citizen if he or she worked for ten years in the U.S.
Citizenship – EB-5 visa green card holders are automatically eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship and have a U.S. passport in five years or keep your permanent green card forever if you choose not to become a U.S. citizen.

Q

Who should consider an EB-5 visa?

​EB-5 investors include people from all walks of life–professionals, business people, persons wanting to facilitate a child’s education, retirees, or those simply seeking a better life in the U.S. Once a green card is obtained, many investors may continue to work or operate businesses in their home countries. Others may choose to work in the U.S. or become involved in a business in the U.S. Simply put, the EB-5 visa gives you the flexibility to live anywhere and do what you want in the U.S. Below is a quick summary of various visa options:

If you do not wish to actively manage the day-to-day operation of your investment, then you should consider EB-5.
If you have a U.S. citizen parent or citizen child over 21 years of age, you should consider the family class visa categories.
If you have exceptional skills or are famous you may qualify for a green card based on your skills or fame.
If you want to actively manage your own business, consider the L-1, E-2, and international manager visa categories.

Q

Must I speak or read English?

No, you do not need to be proficient in English to apply for an EB-5 visa or to contact American Life, Inc. about an EB-5 investment. When you call us, if we don’t speak your language, we will provide a certified over-the-phone interpreter to translate our live phone conversation. We support over 150 languages and there is no cost to our clients for this service.
Please understand that investors must sign the English version of all agreements, government forms, and applications.

Q

How many visas are allocated each year for the EB-5 category?

The EB-5 investment program allocates 10,000 visas per year for aliens and family members whose qualifying investments result in the creation or preservation of at least ten (10) full-time jobs for U.S. workers. There can be no fewer than 3,000 reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 more are set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395. Since the program started in 1990, the EB-5 visa category has never seen a backlog.