What Is EB-5 Program and How Can An Investor Apply?

Image USCIS administers the EB-5 program, created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under a pilot program enacted in 1992, and regularly reauthorized since then, investors may also qualify for EB-5 visas by investing through regional centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth. Metin Caglar of Caglar Law Firm, P.C. answered TURKOFAMERICA's questions.

What is EB-5 program and how can an investor apply?
EB- 5 is a program created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Investors who meet with certain capital investment amount and job creation requirements may apply under this program and if all requirements have been successfully met and approved by the USCIS, EB-5 applicant, his spouse, and their children under 21 may obtain their permanent residency green card.

Is there any minimum amount to apply and what is the required job creation requirement?
The minimum investment required to qualify for EB-5 status is $1,000,000. However, the limit is reduced to $500,000 if the investment is made in a commercial entity that is located in a targeted employment area (TEA). The EB-5 project must either be in a rural area or in an area that has high unemployment in order to qualify for TEA designation. High unemployment areas are geographic locations with an unemployment rate that is at least 150 percent of the national unemployment rate at the time of the EB-5 investment.

The Capital investment to the commercial entity can be in the form of cash, inventory, and equipment, secured indebtedness, tangible property, or cash equivalents and is valuated based on U.S. dollar fair-market value.

The USCIS requires that EB-5 investments must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the investor’s admission to the United States.
Investors can also invest in regional centers to qualify for EB-5 program. Regional Centers are organizations designated by the USCIS to sponsor capital investment projects for investment by EB-5 investors. The minimum investment through an EB-5 regional center is $500,000.The biggest advantage of the regional centers is that investors do not need to create at least 10 full-time jobs in the investment.

Usually how long does green card take and can you guarantee to your client to have green card?
Generally speaking, obtaining green card through EB-5 Program takes between 12- 16 months.  It is a four step process. Investor must first find a suitable business project to invest in. Second, after choosing a project to invest in, the applicants must make the required capital investment amount in the project that they have chosen. Then, an immigration attorney provides proof of this investment by filing an I-526 petition with USCIS. If this petition is approved, process moves to third step.

In the third step, investor receives his green card by filing the Form I-485 to adjust his status to permanent resident if the investor already has lawful status in the United States. If the investor is not in the US, then he must file for  EB-5 immigrant visa by submitting appropriate forms and documents to the National Visa Center and must process through the U.S. consulate or embassy in his home country. Upon entry into the United States with an EB-5 immigrant visa, the investor and his family members will be granted green card permanent residency.
At the beginning, investor and his family members are being granted two-year conditional green card.
The final step in the EB-5 visa process is for investor to become unconditional permanent resident by removing their two year conditional status. I-829 petition is being submitted to USCIS 90 days prior to the anniversary of the date that the investor first received their conditional residency.

USCIS publishes annual statistics on the approval and denial rate of I-526 and I-829 petitions. Historically, the approval rate for I-526 petitions is in the 85-90 % range, and I-829 approvals are in the 90-95% range. According to the latest statistics released, the I-526 approval rate has reached all-time high 94%.

How long have you been practicing in law?
I have more than 10 years of experience in this field. I have assisted many domestic and international individuals, corporations, nonprofits and entrepreneurs for their various legal matters.

Would you share a little bit your background with us?
I successfully completed all my schools from the beginning to the end.  After I graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Law with honors, I worked for a while as a lawyer in Turkey but this settlement never appealed to me. I believed I should achieve something more difficult and be tested and challenged in international arena. As part of my character, in life, I always compete with myself and not with others. This is about self-improvement, about being better than what I was yesterday. In my law school years, I was planning to move to the US, study law, pass the bar exam and become a lawyer here. This of course will not be easy but was not impossible for me.

I had left all my status, career, family and friends in Turkey. Here, I started life from scratch with a few clothes in my little bag. I really struggled with life in my early America years. Those years were the worst of my life but I never gave up and lost my hope. I trusted my willpower and believed the power of persistence and started rebuilding my life. I always told myself that my existence is bound to prove myself in the community. So, I studied and worked hard, became a lawyer and established my own law firm.
From now on, my goal is to help the Turkish and American community with their legal problems and move forward…

Could you also share what kind of services you serve to your clients?
We are pretty much a full service law firm. From business-investor visas to family and employment based green cards, asylum applications, working visas, removal and deportation cases, from entity creations to business transfers, permits, licenses, contract reviews, residential and commercial real estate leases, purchases, mortgage-loan matters, trademark-patent issues and commercial litigations.

What is your professional philosophy and what we should expect form your firm?
I believe that an attorney should be client oriented who truly listens and understand their needs, responds promptly and finds practical solutions to their complex legal problems. At Caglar law firm P.C, we provide personalized services and individual attention by working closely with clients to develop appropriate legal strategies and affordable solutions. We also communicate every step of the way and inform clients periodically about the status of their cases.

Metin Caglar, Esq.
Caglar Law Firm, P.C.
1177 Avenue of the Americas 5th fl. Suite 5101
New York, NY 10036
www. Caglarlaw.com

Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07