People around the world wishing to become Americans ask, "What's the best way to get a United States Green Card?"
Francis Fungsang knows. Immigration lawyer and partner at Margaret W. Wong & Associates in charge of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Practice Group, and the Corporate Law Practice Group, Fungsang recently announced his client, a resident of China, completed the first step of the EB-5 Investor program. Fungsang wants those worldwide with an American Dream to know that with the right planning, it's a relatively easy process.
"With approval of the I-526," said Fungsang, "we can now file your I-485 or DS-260, and after two years, your I-829, after which you get your permanent green card. By filing the I-526, our client is asserting to the United States government that he has invested $500,000 of his own funds into a U.S. business, with a plan to put Americans to work in that business."
The process starts when a person decides they'd like to establish permanent residency in the United States – and perhaps even become a U.S. citizen in the future. That person contacts an immigration lawyer, plans his or her U.S. investment, and gathers the necessary EB-5 immigrant investor paperwork.
The law firm verifies that the individual has sufficient funds, that those funds were obtained lawfully, and then explains the various investment options that qualify for the EB5 program. "There is risk in any investment," Fungsang says, "and if you lose your investment before you complete the process, then you also lose your eligibility for the green card. Selecting an appropriate investment is essential."
Hotel construction is about as safe as you can get. Such a large project is usually organized or assisted by a Regional Center, which is a business or entity approved by the U.S. government to participate in the EB-5 program. To fund the project, the Regional Center aggregates monies from multiple investors, manages the investment project, and provides updates to the government. The Regional Center also tracks the number of U.S. workers hired as the result of the investment – the program requires the creation of at least 10 jobs per immigrant investor. Or, the individual can invest directly in a private business without going through a Regional Center.
"Only when we are certain that we can establish the availability and legal origin of the funds," Fungsang said, "can we implement the investment. And then, only when the investment is verified in place with a Regional Center or private business, can we request from the government the client's conditional green card."
"I'm really excited to be working with Margaret W. Wong & Associates," said the client. "I wanted a firm that has both immigration expertise and banking know-how. Margaret W. Wong & Associates has both. They've got this rock-solid immigration law reputation, and an impressive EB-5 track record. Working with Francis has been a real pleasure. I knew I had the right team when they took such pains to make sure the money was ‘legal and available' with multiple overseas conference calls. I felt so much better."
"Unlike other visa programs, EB-5 only has 10,000 slots each year," Francis said. "Investors can also bring their spouses and children to the U.S. The program is strictly regulated, so if everything is done properly, then the immigrant investor should receive his or her conditional green card."
"Notice I said ‘conditional' green card. That's not the end of the process," Fungsang cautioned. "There's a two-year conditional residency period in which the investment funds are implemented and the U.S. workers are hired. Meticulous records have to be kept. At the end of the two-year period, we can file the I-829 petition to remove those conditions for the ‘permanent' green card."
"There are many EB-5 solution providers out there, especially with the popularity of the program among immigrants seeking the American Dream," Francis concluded. "If your provider has considerable experience in both immigration and finance, your American Dream should be well on its way."