Frequently Asked Questions About Immigration
Working In Cooperation with
American Life Ventures LLC - Regional Center
Approved by USCIS 6-25-2008
If I invest how many green cards do I receive?
Each investor qualifies to receive green cards for the investor's immediate family, meaning your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21. Adopted children are eligible.
What are the steps to receiving a green card?
Step 1) I-526 Immigrant investor status. Once you select our investment and invest your funds then we help you File form I-526 Petition for Alien Entrepreneur with the California Service Center. This petition requests the CIS to certify the applicant and the investment as eligible for EB-5 visa status.
Where can I find the US Law about EB-5?
Step 2) I-485 or Embassy interview. Upon approval of the I-526 petition, (a) if you are in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, you may apply for Adjustment of Status by sending form I-485 and supporting documents to the CIS regional processing center nearest your US residence; (b) if you live outside the US you must wait for notification from the Embassy in your home country to prepare documents for the visa interview.
Step 3) Conditional Green Card. Upon approval at Step 2, you receive a form evidencing the approval as well as a travel document. You will also receive the temporary green card in the mail. If you are outside the US you must enter the country within six months of the date of the Embassy approval. Your green card will be placed in your passport at the port of entry into the USA.
Step 4) I-829 Permanent Residency (Removal of Conditions). After holding your conditional green card for one year and nine months, your attorney will file for Removal of Conditions using Form I-829. This procedure enables the USCIS to verify that you have maintained your approved investment for the required two year period and that the project into which you invested has been started.
The steps above are described on the USCIS website (www.uscis.gov). The EB-5 requirements are under Permanent Workers, Fifth Preference. More details can be found at: Green Card through Investment (Step 1), Adjustment of Status (Steps 2&3) or Consular Processing (Steps 2&3), and Permanent Residence for Entrepreneurs (Step 4).
How long does the process take?
Processing times vary and, at present, you should assume twelve months from the time your visa petition is filed with the USCIS until your Consular interview at the US Embassy. Though this time has been shorter, lately many have experienced the full 12 month wait. Since processing times vary, if planning for children's education for example, it would be best to allow twelve months. A guide:
What is the difference between obtaining a Green Card and being a US Citizen?
Five years after entering the USA with your green card you and your immediate family may apply for US citizenship. You may elect to have dual citizenship.
- Processing of your I-526 petition at the California Processing Center - 9 months
- Processing at the National Visa Center, Washington DC and
awaiting consulate interview - 3 months
- Total processing time to receive entry permit to collect green card - 12 months
- Assuming you emigrate four months after your Embassy interview - 3 months
- Application for I-829 (removal of conditions) after entering the US -
- Removal of conditions processing - 6 months
- Total time after emigrating - 30 months
- Total processing time from initial application to removal of conditions - 42 months
Having a green card allows you to live in the US, but you are not allowed to vote for the candidates running for US government office. That right is only for US Citizens.
Is there a difference between a Temporary Green card v.s. the Permanent Green Card?
Yes, EB-5 requires a two step process. Once you become a partner in the Limited Liability Company and invest your money in that company, they the investor, with our help and the help of an immigration attorney, will make application for a temporary green card (I-526 application). That temporary card is good for two years and allows you and your family to live in the US during that time.
How can I be assured that my temporary green card will be issued?
During that two year period McCormick International will complete the real estate project and create the jobs. Then prior to the two years expiring on the temporary green card, we will provide you the proof that the jobs were created, so you and the immigration attorney can initiate changing the temporary green cards to permanent green cards.
After 5 years you may apply for US Citizenship and enjoy all rights that all other US Citizens enjoy.
McCormick International has been in the real estate business for 25 years. For this EB-5 investment opportunity, our project is pre-approved under the American Life Regional Center named American Life Ventures LLC. American Life has successfully processed over 1000 green cards with 100% approvals on dozens of projects since 1996. They have processed more Regional Centers and more EB5 projects than any other company anywhere.
If I have a business in China and need to spend a lot of time in China during my temporary green card period, can I do that?
Although American Life is not the developer of this project, McCormick International is the developer, American Life is working in cooperation with McCormick International, and endorses this project to be marketed and submitted to USCIS under the American Life Regional Center name.
The temporary green card issuance is a function of two things: the project and the investor qualifications. The investor qualification is a function of the investor being able to prove that the funds investor were obtained legally and that the funds were legally transferred to the project. That is up to the investor to provide proof during the application process.
The second part is the part we can control, having to do with making sure our project produced the jobs required to provide our investor's with green cards. Prior to going to market looking for investors, McCormick International works with their EB-5 attorney to evaluate the specific project and to determine the amount of green cards that can be achieved for each project.
Yes, but you will need to apply for An Application for Travel Document (Form I-131) which is for people in a variety of circumstances to support reentry to the U.S. after temporary international travel for people who are:
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.)?
- Lawful Permanent Residents who are applying for a Reentry Permit because they will be outside the U.S. for one year or more.
- Individuals who need permission to travel while their Form I-485 is pending
Asylees and Refugees who are seeking to travel.
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.
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 McCormick International and the immigration attorney in advance of your petition submission.
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.
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. McCormick Real Estate 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.
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.
What is the difference between "conditional" and "unconditional" green cards?
Your immigration attorney will guide you through the entire process, and we can connect you with an immigration attorney or you may find one on your own.
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.
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. We have an immigration attorney to work with.
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.
What issues have been the most problematic in EB-5 cases?
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 McCormick International will defend its investors' interests. 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.
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.
How are the 10 required jobs created?
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.
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).
What are the real benefits of a U.S. green card?
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. McCormick International 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 execute our plans in delivering U.S. jobs. Acting as your general partner, McCormick International. Will manage the job creation requirement, so you don't have to.
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.
Who should consider an EB-5 visa?
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.
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:
Must I speak or read English?
- 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.
No, you do not need to be proficient in English to apply for an EB-5 visa or to contact McCormick International about an EB-5 investment. We have knowledgeable members of our team living in China who are happy to speak with you about the investment and answer questions you may have.
How many visas are allocated each year for the EB-5 category?
Please understand that investors must sign the English version of all agreements, government forms, and applications.
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. But, recently the amount of issues green cards is approaching the maximum limit allowed by the US. So investors are encouraged to do their research and initiate the process as soon as they are comfortable with the investment.
Copyright © McCormick International, All Rights Reserved.