Why Work With Us

Objective Analysis of a Project and its Sponsors

There are close to 700 Regional Centers currently registered with USCIS. Not all of them have projects, quite a few have never successfully completed a full EB-5 project lifecycle, and many lack proficiency in the EB-5 process and regulations. In fact, the USCIS website categorically states:

“USCIS approval of an EB-5 regional center application does not in any way:

Constitute USCIS endorsement of the activities of that regional center;

Guarantee compliance with U.S. securities laws; or

Minimize or eliminate risk to the investor.

Potential investors are encouraged to seek professional advice when making any investment decisions.“

USCIS does not do financial due diligence on EB-5 projects, determine project viability, or screen project principals for creditworthiness or experience. USCIS’s only mandate is to ensure that the required investment has been invested in the EB-5 project and at least 10 jobs per investor have been (or have the potential to be) created.

Similarly, while immigration lawyers can advise on the legal criteria of the petition and program, they are not trained to give advice on the financial aspects of an EB-5 project.

Pursuing EB-5 requires risk and involves a substantial investment. Working with an EB-5 advisor to complete an objective, independent analysis of not only the project, but the professionals involved in every step of the process is imperative to protecting your investment of both money and time and giving you the most viable route to a green card.

I Have Been Through the EB-5 Investment Process

I am an investor in the EB-5 Visa program having completed the EB-5 process for myself and my family. I have also helped my brother successfully receive a conditional green card for himself and his family. There is no secret other than fanatical due diligence in selecting the right project (out of many available) and preparing an extremely well-documented source of funds (SOF) statement to avoid a request for evidence (RFE) from USCIS. In addition to my direct experience in EB-5, I have 15 years of experience in the finance sector, which informs my understanding of EB-5 projects as well as their risks and salient features.
EB-5 program policies change often, which can affect your strategy and investment. I stay updated with the latest USCIS policies related to TEA rules, redeployment of investor funds, and return of investment guidelines and work closely with EB-5 industry professionals to understand and interpret the effect of these policy changes on EB-5 projects.

The attorneys I have worked with have filed hundreds of EB-5 petitions for all types of investors and they have gone above and beyond their scope of work to ensure that the investors’ I-526 petitions are well prepared. An I-526 petition can be anywhere from 500 pages to 1000+ pages. So, it’s critical that your attorney is experienced and prepares the I-526 package diligently.

EB-5 Project Selection

Investor Evaluation

I discuss your current situation with you and your family and give you all the relevant answers about the EB-5 program as it relates to your goals and personal circumstances. I evaluate your source of funds and give you the appropriate recommendations for preparing your source of funds documentation for your investment. I give advice on gaps in documentation and alternatives to satisfy the stringent USCIS requirements, so that you can avoid time delays in your petition adjudication.

Project Evaluation & Due Diligence

Running a sensitivity analysis to determine project viability in both current and future market conditions

Ensuring a project includes adequate capital from developers and project sponsors to ensure securitization of EB-5 investor capital

Verifying that the project will create the jobs required as per USCIS regulations

Verifying that the funds be invested within the appropriate timeline to count towards the investor’s EB-5 filing

Running background checks on project principals to validate their credentials

Meeting and visiting project sites to check for progress of project construction

Confirming the position of investors in the project’s capital stack

Completing a risk analysis on the return of investment

Immigration Attorney Pairing

I will introduce you to a shortlist of the industry’s leading EB-5 immigration attorneys, who will provide a free one-hour consultation on your specific situation. Although I have considerable experience in the EB-5 world, it’s best for an immigration attorney to give you legal advice on all matters related to immigration law.

The attorneys I have worked with have filed hundreds of EB-5 petitions for all types of investors and they have gone above and beyond their scope of work to ensure that the investors’ I-526 petitions are well prepared. An I-526 petition can be anywhere from 500 pages to 1000+ pages. So, it’s critical that your attorney is experienced and prepares the I-526 package diligently.

Tax Planning

I always tell my clients to start their tax planning immediately after filing the I-526 petition. When you become a conditional green card holder, you receive the full benefits of a green card, which means you are also subject to the same tax liabilities of a U.S. permanent resident. As such, you are required to declare your income (regardless of the country in which it is earned) from the day you become a conditional green card holder. Typically, this would be the day you arrive in the U.S. after a successful interview at the U.S. consulate in your country of residence.

EB-5 Project Evaluation & Selection

As an EB-5 Investor & Advisor, I have evaluated many EB-5 projects over the last five years. I have met & spoken with many developers, Regional Centers, and other project stakeholders to understand their business models. I have built a methodology to evaluate Projects for their success rate.

Based on my experience, I focus on the following aspects of a project when conducting due diligence:

 Project Planning – Documentation and Viability

Whether its a hotel, condo, or logistics warehouse, an EB-5 project is a new business venture and it is essential that the appropriate planning is in place to protect its viability. This starts with ensuring that project construction is on time and on budget. There are a number of reasons for delays and cost overruns, including delays in acquiring permits from local municipalities, insufficient capital provisions, too little developer equity, or overly aggressive construction schedules. For any construction project, cost overruns and delays can impact the project’s profitability, but for EB-5 projects, they can also have a negative impact on an investor’s eligibility for the EB-5 program.

I analyze all project documentation, including construction timelines, the status of permitting and entitlements, budgets, and other issues that can impact the successful progression of the project before providing my seal of approval.

On Site Assessments

Many of the projects that investors can choose from will already be under construction. Unlike other advisors, I will personally visit the construction sites of my vetted projects to evaluate the current progress of development.

 Market Positioning

The operational success of any project is directly tied to market supply and demand. Often, developers or sponsors will commission an independent market study or project appraisal to validate market demand and the project’s associated projections. In conjunction, I conduct a market assessment of projects to understand the demand/supply gap, industry trends, and competitive positioning of the project. I also evaluate the business model to understand the market sector, competition, and any regulatory challenges. This allows me to identify any potential issues or risks related to the project performing as projected.

Pro Forma Analysis

For Regional Center projects, job creation is directly related to the project’s development costs and operating income. If either are overstated in the original I-526 application, it could create an issue at the I-829 phase if not enough jobs were created for all participating investors. In my project evaluation, I assess cost estimates and revenue projects to ensure that they align with industry benchmarks and market conditions.

I also provide an analysis of the pro forma from an investor return standpoint. Typically, EB-5 projects repay their EB-5 investors either by refinancing the project after the completion of construction and/or from the project’s operating cash flow. It is critical that the income projections are reasonable and have enough cushion to still repay investors if there is a reduction in cash flow. I run a sensitivity analysis to check for stresses in the cash flow and the effect on the repayment timeline.

 Job Creation

Job creation should be verified by an outside economist. As a general rule of thumb, it is best that job creation is projected to be at least 10-15% higher than what is actually required to ensure job creation is still sufficient in the event the Project spends less or operates with lower revenue than originally projected.

 Regional Center Track Record

The Regional Center not only chooses projects to sponsor, but is also tasked with tracking the progress of projects, including timelines, expenditures, and job creation and reporting that information to USCIS as well as to project stakeholders, including EB-5 investors. Working with a Regional Center that has a track record of sponsoring successful projects can significantly reduce the risks for EB-5 investors.

 Financial Position of the Sponsor and Related Financial Instruments

Every EB-5 project will include funding from a variety of sources in addition to the EB-5 capital. In fact, it’s ideal that an EB-5 project’s capital stack is well-supported by other sources of funds and does not rely solely on EB-5 capital. Other sources of funds include developer equity, a senior loan, a bridge loan, and sometimes bonds, tax incentives, or other financial instruments.

I analyze the balance and positioning of the capital stack to ensure:

The project sponsor has sufficient equity in the the capital stach and whether any alternative funding sources are available if needed

The project sponsor has accounted for loan interest during the construction stage

The valuation of the completed project is - at a minimum - enough to repay the senior loan as well as EB-5 investors’ capital.

It is also important to understand the senior loan terms and their effect on EB-5 investors’ rights and repayment. In the event of default, it is essential to understand the position of the EB-5 investors in the capital stack, relative to other creditors and equity holders. Ideally, EB-5 investors will be provided with adequate collateral in the loan documentation.

 Other Key Features

Some other considerations that I take into account when assessing projects include:

The developer should have “skin in the game” so if there is a high proportion of developer equity, relative to the total capital stack, that is a good sign.

Prefer projects that are at least 50% complete, as this means that collateral value has been created.

If the project is fully financed (with bridge lending), that's another good sign. In these cases, EB-5 funds repay bridge lending and in the event the EB-5 offering is not fully subscribed, the project can still be completed.

Does the project have Exemplar approval? If it does, this indicates that USCIS has verified and approved the project documents to be compliant with USCIS EB-5 regulations.

Third party oversight: the Regional Center should be unrelated to the developer, so that it can provide third party oversight for EB-5 investors. Sometimes, the Job Creating Enterprise (JCE)/Developer is affiliated with the Regional Center via common ownership, while the Regional Center also serves as the General Partner or Manager of the New Commercial Enterprise (NCE) into which EB-5 investors invest. This can create a conflict of interest in the event the project fails, because the Regional Center and GP of the NCE should be fiduciary to EB-5 investors and act on behalf of the investors to enforce their rights, not on behalf of the JCE to recoup losses.

Value Added Service

Continuous Support Throughout Your EB-5 Process

Once you have made your EB-5 investment and filed your EB-5 petition, our relationship doesn’t end there. In fact, it is just the beginning. There are various steps in a successful EB-5 investment, from confirmation of your I-526 approval, to receiving your conditional green card, followed by your permanent green card, and somewhere in between getting your investment back.

I provide consulting and guidance every step of the way, including:

Project Performance Monitoring

I continuously monitor construction and job creation progress across all my clients’ EB-5 projects. I travel to projects on a regular basis and verify progress and interview project team members on-site. I track delays and conduct ongoing due diligence to identify changes in key areas that might affect the project completion and your investment safety.

 EB-5 Industry Rules and Regulations

I am very involved with EB-5 industry stakeholders, which allows me to stay abreast of the latest happenings in the EB-5 Industry, be it rule changes, processing updates, or other updates. I also track individual investor approvals at the project level so you remain informed of the latest processing times.

 Process Assistance In the Event of a Problematic Case

There is no way to eliminate all risk in the immigration process. Even the most conservative plans can go awry, which is why I maintain relationships with lawyers with demonstrated track records of getting problematic cases back on track.

Far more often than not, all goes as expected with an EB-5 case. But, EB-5 project placement memoranda mention risks for a reason: trusted private parties can fail to live up to expectations and USCIS is subject to political pressures and the changing winds of the agency’s management. Although it is historically rare, even the best planned cases can go off track due to no fault of the investor or immigration counsel. In those times, I don’t give up on my clients facing adversity.

I maintain relationships with attorneys who have built their careers representing clients who have faced investment and immigration adversities. Whether it be an issuer who breaches the terms of the deal, a pending case facing unreasonable governmental delays, or an unforeseen denial due to an unannounced change in adjudications policy, I will be here for you to facilitate your immigration process through triage and additional referrals to qualified counsel. Although these are very unlikely events, I do not give up on my clients simply because a third party has not met expectations. I am not content until your immigration and investment goals are met.

 Expedite Requests

Your individual circumstances can change at any point during the EB-5 process. I will study and analyze your situation to see if there is any room for an expedite request. For example, this year, I have helped doctors and frontline workers battling the Covid-19 pandemic with expedite requests.

 Visa Interview Preparation

Having gone through EB-5 consular processing myself, I know how daunting the interview can be. I will conduct mock interview sessions with you and your family so that you are all well prepared for your interviews at the U.S. Consulate.

In complement to your attorney’s guidance, I will help you rehearse the important points to relay about your investment, provide direction on your body language and how to dress for the interview, and help you think through your answers to the visa officer.

 Pre and post-Immigration Tax/Estate Planning

Many foreign EB-5 investors are unaware of the complex U.S. tax laws applicable to them once they receive their conditional green card. Once the conditional green card has been issued, the investor must declare worldwide income to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and may be subject to taxation on income generated outside the United States.

I always tell my clients to start their tax planning right after filing the I-526 petition. Typically, this would be the day you arrive in the U.S. after a successful interview at the U.S. consulate in your country of residence.

Any income generated from salaries, dividends, rent, or capital gains must be declared and filed as part of a conditional green card holder’s tax return for the calendar year. In addition, any shares that are held in businesses must be declared and any foreign bank accounts must be disclosed. There are some exemptions, but careful understanding of the rules is paramount. Failure to disclose or file will result in interest charges and/or penalties.

It is also important to understand the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between the United States and the individual’s home country. DTAA allows an individual to avoid double taxation in his/her home country and the United States on the same income.

I have relationships with Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and tax attorneys in the United States. Once you have completed your EB-5 investment, I will introduce you to a tax expert who can advise you on U.S. tax laws and expertly guide you through the tax planning process to ensure you are prepared.

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