Frequent Questions

Immigration Topics

What is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS)?

USCIS, a division of the Department of Homeland Security, is a government agency responsible for the implementation and administration of immigration and naturalization laws.

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 can refer you to qualified attorneys who specialize in EB-5 or you may also use your own attorney. In any event, we will work with your legal representative to make your immigration application process as easy as possible.

What type of 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. 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.

How long does it take from the time I submit an I-526 petition to the issuance of a 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. AmericanLife 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.

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 $900,000 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?

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.

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.

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 $900,000 is allowed by the USCIS as opposed to $1,800,000 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. You can also 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, 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.

Investment Topics

Is my investment guaranteed?

No. The law requires an “at risk” investment without guarantees or redemption rights.

What are my risks?

As in any investment there is a risk of total loss. By U.S. regulations, all funds must be put at risk. 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.

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.

Some investment companies accepting EB-5 investors place funds in a trust or escrow account pending Visa approval. Why doesn’t AmericanLife 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.

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.

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.

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.

Can several investors combine or “pool” their investment capital through one limited partnership?

Yes. The 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 must qualify for the minimum at risk capital requirement and new job creation requirement.

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).

How do I invest?

A prospective investor can first register by filling out the contact form 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.

Should I consult my own financial advisor before investing?

Yes. We urge prospective foreign investors to consult their own financial advisors for advice on investing through this program.

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.

What exit strategies will AmericanLife use to provide investor liquidity?

AmericanLife structures EB-5 investments to divest the investor and return the original principal balance after 5 years to the investor. The exact strategy used to exit each project investment will be determined on a project-by-project basis in order to provide the maximum financial and immigration benefit to our EB-5 investors.

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