To qualify for an EB-5 visa, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) requires the investor to show that the investment capital came from a lawful source. In general, funds obtained by any lawful means are acceptable, including salary. To prove salary as the lawful source of the investment funds, substantial supporting documents will need to be included with the EB-5 application submitted to the USCIS. The following documents, if available, should be included with your application to prove that salary is the lawful source of the investment funds:
• Income tax returns for the past five years. If available, the investor should submit his or her individual tax returns for the past five years. In situations where a company pays taxes on behalf of the employee, records from the company showing that such filings or withholdings have been made should be included with the EB-5 application. The evidence of income tax returns is not intended to prove that the investor has actually paid taxes. Rather, the tax returns are meant to prove that the investment capital was derived from a lawful source. If the investor has not filed tax returns at any time during the previous five years, an explanation for not filing the tax returns may be necessary. An inability to provide tax returns may be offset by providing the other mentioned documents in this section. USCIS will look at the submitted documents as a whole when determining the lawful source of the investment capital.
• Investor’s capital source statement. The investor should include a statement detailing the companies he or she has worked for, the time frames of employment and the amount of income accumulated over the course of employment. Including a capital source statement will help demonstrate to USCIS the source of the invested salary.
• Spouse’s capital source statement. If the investor is married, an income statement for his or her spouse should also be included with the application to demonstrate the source of funds for the investment.
• Income certificate from employer. A letter from the investor’s employer describing the business, the investor’s position during employment, and income earned over the course of employment should be included with the EB-5 application to demonstrate that the investment funds came from the investor’s salary.
• Employment contract. The employment contract between the investor and employer describing the rights and responsibilities of both parties should be included with the application to demonstrate that the funds were derived from employment with the company. If the employment contract is not available, then it is important to supplement the application with several of the other documents listed herein.
• Bank statements. Bank statements of the investor should be included with the application to show salary deposits into the investor’s account over a period of time. USCIS will look to the bank statements to demonstrate that the salary accumulation resulted in sufficient savings to cover the total investment amount. In cases where the investor’s salary was paid in cash, evidence of regular cash deposit into the bank account over time will suffice. While bank statements are a very powerful piece of evidence to prove the lawful salary accumulation, the inability to provide them may be balanced by including the other mentioned documents in this section. As noted, USCIS will look at the submitted documents as a whole when determining the lawful source of the investment capital.
• Evidence of property ownership. If the investor owns property that was purchased with his or her accumulated salary and this property is being used now to generate the source of funds for the investment, then evidence of the property ownership should be included with the EB-5 application. Documents evidencing property ownership include the property ownership certificate, the purchase agreement, a bank statement reflecting the withdrawal of funds for the purchase of the property, and an appraisal statement explaining the value of the property. The USCIS may ask how this property was purchased and how the investor was able to afford the purchase.
• Evidence of other assets. Evidence of any other assets owned by the investor such as CD’s, bonds, or stocks should be included with the application if the applicant used his or her salary to invest in any such instruments and the instruments are now being used as part of the EB-5 investment capital. CD, bond, and stock certificates are adequate forms of documentary evidence demonstrating ownership. If an instrument has matured and the money has been withdrawn, a bank statement evidencing the deposit of the withdrawn money into the investor’s bank account should also be included with the EB-5 application.
Please note that these are general suggestions and by themselves do not guarantee approval of an EB-5 submission. At the Law Offices of Vaughan de Kirby, we can help you through the entire EB-5 process – and help you make the best decision for you and your family. Call us today to schedule a free meeting at 415-221-2345.