As most Chinese people are aware, the Chinese government only allows individuals to wire a maximum of $50,000 outside of the country in any given year. Due to this restriction, Chinese EB-5 applicants have used two methods to transfer funds outside of the country: 1) the “Friends and Family” method; or 2) 3rd Party Money Exchangers, also referred to as the “Currency Swap” method.
With the Currency Swap method, an EB-5 applicant transfers RMB into the 3rd party money exchanger’s bank account in mainland China. This 3rd party money exchanger then wires the USD equivalent of these funds from his or her foreign account, usually in Hong Kong or Macau, to the EB-5 applicant’s USD account overseas. The investor then uses these dollars for his or her EB-5 investment in the U.S.
In the past, USCIS approved cases where a 3rd party money exchanger was used without a Request for Evidence (RFE). However, since March of this year, RFEs are being issued for all such cases, asking for documentation pertaining to the source of funds for the 3rd party. For this reason, we are recommending all our future clients to transfer funds using the Friends and Family method. If the Currency Swap method is the only option available to them, as is the case with most Vietnamese investors, they will be required to provide the following documents for the 3rd party exchanger:
- Employment Certificate (if applicable to individual)
- Audited Financial Statements i.e. Profit & Loss Statements and Balance Sheets (if 3rd party is business entity)
- Tax Returns (from Hong Kong or whichever place the money is being wired from)
- Bank Statements (showing the accumulation of funds from employment or business)
- Any other documents to show how the 3rd party acquired the $550,000 (or $1,000,000) in his/her bank account outside of mainland China (or Vietnam).
If you are an EB-5 applicant from mainland China or Vietnam, are using the services of a 3rd party money exchanger, and are wondering which documents need to be submitted to USCIS with your petition, please contact Jatoi & de Kirby, APC for an initial consultation or call 415-221-2345.