If you are investing in a regional center to obtain your EB-5 green card visa, you may wonder if you are allowed to expand the business into a neighboring area. Real estate near your business may provide the perfect solution, but are you allowed to use your investment funds to purchase the buildings and land?
USCIS recently provided information for EB-5 investors seeking to acquire real estate for their regional centers. In general, investors may use regional center funds for the purchase. However, there are a few regulations to consider:
- Employment rules. As the focus of the EB-5 program is to create jobs, it will not be enough for an investor to purchase real estate as his investment. Real estate is not generally recognized as a job-creating activity by itself, so if some EB-5 funds are used to purchase real estate, the impact on employment must be detailed in the EB-5 business plan.
- Funds allocation. Under the rules of the EB-5 program, the full amount of the investor’s money must be available to the business responsible for creating local employment. If the investor uses some of the EB-5 funds to purchase land, he must provide additional funds for developing and operating a business on the purchased land.
- Soft costs. Certain “soft costs” that are directly related to real estate transactions may be counted toward job creation, such as the construction and development of EB-5 business projects that are created on the designated land.
- Investment risk. The investor must realize that all funds, including those used to purchase real estate, must be unprotected in order to qualify for an EB-5 visa. If USCIS determines that the investor’s money is not truly at risk, or that the regional center is structured in a way that its investors’ funds are protected, the petition may be denied and the regional center designation terminated.
At Jatoi & de Kirby, APC, we know how difficult it is to make decisions that affect your investment and your family’s future. Our San Francisco EB-5 immigration attorneys can answer all of your legal questions before you put your funds at risk, helping you secure your EB-5 green card visa.
Call us today at (415) 221-2345 or click the link on this page for a FREE copy of our informational guide, Investor's Path to a Green Card: How Investing in America Can Put You and Your Family on the Path to Greater Wealth and U.S. Permanent Residency.