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EB-5 Question of the Week: When can I obtain my investment funds back?

The EB-5 program requires that your funds be invested in the United States for a certain lock-in period. You can generally set your expectation of receiving your funds back after at least five years of the initial time of your investment.

Created by the U.S. Congress in 1990, the EB-5 program allows foreign investors to receive U.S. residency and Green Cards in exchange for an investment of $800,000 in a government pre-approved project. The program was created with the goal of stimulating the U.S. economy through the injection of foreign capital and boosting creation of jobs for the U.S. labor market. The key requirements of the program are that (1) the investor’s funds must originate from a lawful source, (2) the investment must be “at risk,” and (3) a minimum of ten full-time jobs must be created for U.S. persons with the investment. 

At the initial stage, an investor must submit Form I-526E along with all supporting information and documentation to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). After I-526E approval, an investor applies to receive their conditional U.S. Green Cards either through adjustment of status (if inside the U.S.) or through consular processing (if abroad). 

The conditional Green Card is valid for a period of two years. The purpose of the two year waiting period is to ensure that your investment has remained in the U.S. economy for long enough so that the economy has had the chance to benefit from it. 90 days prior to the expiry of your conditional Green Card, your attorney of record will file your I-829 petition with USCIS to remove the conditions. USCIS is looking to ensure that the (1) the investment capital of $800,000 has remained in the new commercial enterprise and has not been withdrawn, (2) the project is real, (3) the project is or will be completed in accordance with the initially submitted plans or within a reasonable time period, and (4) the project created the necessary ten full-time jobs for U.S. persons. Upon the approval of your I-829 petition, you will receive your permanent Green Card.

After receipt of the unconditional Green Card and upon the completion of the investment cycle, which is approximately five to six years, you will receive your investment returned pursuant to the executed Limited Partnership Agreement. The I-829 petition approval must be communicated to the regional center, at which point the regional center will begin the exit process. If you obtain your funds prior to the removal of conditions in the I-829 phase, you are at risk of losing your Green Card.

It is essential for foreign investors to pay close attention to the Private Placement Memorandum (PPM) and other project documents setting out the terms of their investment with a regional center. The repayment timeline varies for each project depending on the terms provided in the PPM. For some projects, investors are eligible to receive their funds back upon filing their I-829 petitions. For other projects, investors may receive their funds back upon I-829 approval. Lastly, there are projects that only allow the return of funds once the majority of investors have filed or obtained I-829 approval. Given the different clauses, it is crucial for investors to be mindful of the terms of their investment.

With over a decade of experience in the EB-5 industry, our team of U.S. licensed lawyers and professionals can guide you throughout the EB-5 process. If you have any questions relating to your prospective EB-5 investment in the United States and the U.S. golden visa, contact our team today for a free initial consultation.

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