We specialize in real estate development and EB-5 investments

FAQS

  • FAQ - Immigration Topics
  • FAQ - Investment Topics

FAQ - IMMIGRATION TOPICS

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. However, processing times often vary and can be longer or shorter. 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.

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.

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.

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.

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. will refer you to qualified attorneys who specialize in EB-5. You may also use your own attorney. 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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Any and all information provided above, are for information purpose only. We recommend that you seek qualified professionals for legal advice and representation.

Related Info

Official USCIS Web Link Review EB-5 immigrant investor visa eligibility

List of Regional Centers Approved U.S. regional centers

FAQ - INVESTMENT TOPICS

Is EB-5 a truly passive investment?

The EB-5 regulations require involvement in management or policy making. The regulations deem a limited partner in a limited partnership that conforms to the Uniform Limited Partnership Act as sufficiently engaged in the EB-5 enterprise. However, the Uniform Limited Partnership, adopted by most states of the United States, prohibits the limited partner from actively participating in management. We resolve this contradiction by granting the limited partners the right, as a group, to oust the general partner for cause and to suggest or recommend issues of overall policy. Furthermore, our limited partnership structure complies with the Uniform Limited Partnership Act.

Some investment companies accepting EB-5 investors place funds in a trust or escrow account pending Visa approval. Why doesn't American Life do the same?

Our primary business is real estate development. Much of our capital comes from investors who do not seek an immigration benefit. Non-EB-5 investors invest on financial considerations only, without preconditions. Therefore, our policy requires that our EB-5 investors commit their investment just as regular investors.

Escrow or trust agreements present immigration difficulties. Although USCIS regulations permit escrow arrangements, we find that USCIS looks more favorably on petitions based on a completed investment rather than a pending one. Finally, escrow makes it difficult to match capital availability to project requirements. Waiting for visa approval can substantially delay a project, which in turn delays job creation. Ultimately, your permanent visa approval depends on job creations. American Life, Inc. keeps credit lines, and sufficient cash reserves to repay investors in event of visa denial.

American Life, Inc. investors have filed over 2,000 ‘526 petitions’. Given the large number of immigrant investors some denials are inevitable. Although visa denials are very infrequent, denials most commonly involve source of funds issues. In the unlikely event of visa denial based on project structure American Life, Inc. will defend its investors’ interests in Court at its expense. Investors should understand that while statistically virtually all regional center 526 petitions are eventually approved, a positive result cannot be guaranteed.

How do I check the credit of American Life, Inc.?

A credit report of American Life, Inc., is available through Dun & Bradstreet, Inc.(D&B), a public company that provides credit information of 160 million companies world-wide. American Life, Inc.'s D&B D-U-N-S number is 07-121-3206.

Do I get my investment back if I do not get my green card?

Yes. After exhausting legal remedies, if for any reason beyond your control, you do not receive your conditional U.S. green card (I-526 approval), our contract with you requires that we refund your investment funds.

What are my financial risks?

There are specific risk factors for each limited partnership, which are included in the offering materials for the limited partnership. Risk factors differ among projects, but general risks include economic conditions, owning of real estate investments, law changes, and other risks related to a private investment offering. For a full list of risks related to particular investment, please refer to the offering material.

Can investors “pool” investment capital through one limited partnership?

Yes. EB-5 regulations specifically allow for pooling of funds by several investors to establish a limited partnership sufficient to qualify all participating investors. The only requirement is that each investor individually qualify for the minimum at-risk capital requirement and new job creation requirement.

How does the partnership distribute income?

Each partnership distributes profits to its investors quarterly. The distributions are based on available cash flow and generally set at the beginning of each year. Investors receive a profit and loss statement with each month’s distribution.

At the end of the year, the partnership issues a summary report along with Internal Revenue Service form K-1. Form K-1 details your yearly income and expenses. Your accountant will require form K-1 to prepare your U.S. annual tax return.

How is the investment structured?

Each limited partnership generally owns one property. Your investment purchases an interest in the limited partnership, and you become a limited partner. Your percentage share of the limited partnership depends on the percentage your investment bares to the value of the project. The prospectus (in the offering materials) for each project describes the valuation methodology.

The limited partnership is managed by American Life, Inc., the general partner of the limited partnership. The general partner develops/renovates the property, leases the property, and manages the property. The limited partners receive their share of the income from the properties. All investors of equity projects receive 70% of the profits. In fact, many of American Life, Inc.‘s investors invest for profit only without an immigration benefit.

How is my limited partner interest protected?

The Certificate of Limited Partnership must be recorded with the state of Washington as a public record. The certificate refers to a Schedule A of the limited partnership agreement, which lists the names and percentage interests of the limited partners. The deed, or right of ownership for the investment property, is held in the name of the limited partnership. The deed is also of public record. This means the property cannot be sold, mortgaged, or altered without complying with the terms of the limited partnership agreement.

What is a limited partnership?

A limited partnership is a business organization formed with one or more general partners with one or more limited partners. In the partnership, the general partners are responsible for managing the business and assuming legal debts and obligations, while limited partners are liable only to the extent of their investments. Like shareholders in a corporation, limited partners enjoy return on their investments (similar to a dividend), but the nature and extent of the liability is only limited to the initial amount invested.

What is the minimum investment amount?

The minimum investment amount for our real estate investment projects is generally $500,000, plus syndication fees. Syndication fees may vary between projects; please review our prospectus for the exact amount.

Do I need to be an “accredited” investor?

First of all, accredited investor is a term defined by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that describes investors permitted to invest in certain types of higher risk investments, limited partnerships, hedge funds and angel investor networks. An individual is considered to be an accredited investor if he or she has a net worth of at least 1 million U.S. dollars (excluding one’s primary residence) or has made at least 200,000 U.S. dollars each year for the last two years ($300,000 with spouse if married) and has the expectation to make the same amount in the current year.

You must be an accredited investor in order to review and invest in American Life, Inc.‘s investment offerings. The $500,000 that will be used for the investment can be counted towards the requirement of $1,000,000 in total assets.

To become a qualified investor and review American Life, Inc.'s offering material, you are required to register by completing the contact form (CLICK HERE).

How do I invest?

A prospective investor can first register by filling out the contact form (CLICK HERE) to receive offering materials (investment prospectus).

In terms of investing, once you sign the official English version of the subscription agreement (in the prospectus) and we counter-sign the same document, you are admitted as a limited partner. The next step for the foreign investor is to follow our wiring instructions and send the investment funds. Typically within 1 to 2 days of your wire transfer, our office will send you a confirmation of receipt of the funds. If you are an EB-5 investor, a copy of the remittance confirmation will also be provided to your immigration attorney, so he or she can submit your I-526 petition.

At any stage of your decision-making process, please feel free to contact us via phone, send us an email or set an appointment online to speak to one of our managers.

Any and all information provided above, is for information purposes only. We recommend that you seek qualified professionals for legal advice and representation.

Related Info

Official USCIS Web Link Review EB-5 immigrant investor visa eligibility

List of Regional Centers Approved U.S. regional centers