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EB-5 Eligibility for Investors from Dubai and the Middle East

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 program) of the United States provides foreign investors and their qualifying dependents the opportunity to obtain U.S. permanent resident status with an investment of $900,000 in the United States. An investor from the Middle East and more specifically from Dubai must consider the below factors prior to the submission of their EB-5 application (I-526 petition) with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. 

A proper I-526 petition should be accompanied by a source of funds analysis outlining in detail the source and path of funds of the investors used to remit the EB-5 investment.

Tax Returns

The source of funds analysis of an investor from Dubai may be different than an investor from a country in which income tax is mandatory for individuals. The United Arab Emirates has a 0% income tax and therefore individuals residing in the UAE will not have tax returns as proof of their income. It is pertinent that when prospective investors are in the process of document collation for the purpose of their source of funds declaration, their EB-5 specialist or advisor is cognizant of the lack of personal income taxes in the UAE and that foreign investors residing in Dubai will not have certain documentary proof such as tax returns. The submitted documents will have to be adjusted accordingly for the submission of the application as per the documents available in the Middle East.

An EB-5 specialist or advisor experienced in the region with sufficient knowledge of the business environment of the UAE must be proficient in the documents required for collation for UAE-based investors.

Company Ownership Documents

Foriegn nationals can start businesses in Dubai either on Dubai mainland or in one of the 40 free zones available in the country. The free zones were facilitated by the UAE government as a means to increase economic growth in the country by attracting global investors. Unlike companies registered onshore with the Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, business owners with establishments in free zones can have 100% ownership. Companies established on Dubai mainland must have 51% local Emirati ownership as per UAE laws. Therefore, a foreign investor seeking to establish a company may only legally own 49% of a company registered with DED.

An experienced EB-5 advisor must be knowledgeable regarding the different company structures available in the UAE and accordingly prescribe the correct set of documents for the purpose of drafting a proper source of funds declaration.

Translation of Documents

Official documents in the Middle East are often in Arabic and must be translated prior to submission to USCIS. An EB-5 investor must appoint a professional translation agency to translate any documents received in Arabic to avoid making critical mistakes on the application.

It is critical for a prospective EB-5 investor to choose their EB-5 advisor wisely as the right advisor will ensure that the application is accompanied by the appropriate submissions depending on the source of funds of the EB-5 investor. Dubai-based EB-5 investors would immensely benefit from working with an EB-5 advisor who is both based in the UAE and is fluent in the laws and customs of the country.

Our team of U.S. licensed lawyers have years of experience in helping individuals and families apply for U.S. residency via the EB-5 program. We are based in Dubai and have the appropriate knowledge required to assist EB-5 investors residing in the Middle East. If you are ready to start your migration journey with The American Legal Center of Dubai, contact us for more information.

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