Tailored immigration advice for foreign investors
Foster, LLP’s Investor Visa Group is dedicated to advising clients on how investment offers the opportunity to immigrate to the United States – whether for themselves, their family or key employees. The group’s attorneys are highly skilled business immigration advisors experienced at achieving immigration objectives through investment transactions. The Investor Visa Group’s services are organized around four major practice areas.
1. Non-Immigrant Investor Visas
2. EB-5 Immigrant Visas Filed Through Your Own Company
3. EB-5 Immigrant Visas Filed Through a Regional Center
4. Development of Regional Centers
5. Useful EB-5 Resources
6. Beware of Fraud!
The Investor Visa Group is highly experienced at planning and executing temporary non-immigrant visas to provide clients with proper work visa status in the United States – acting successfully before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Consulates abroad.
The Investor Visa Group clients frequently select flexible non-immigrant visas such as the L visa for the opening of a new office in the United States, or E treaty trader or treaty investor visas, to permit clients to establish a new investment enterprise in the United States. Our attorneys are accomplished at resolving the challenges posed in planning and documenting these sophisticated visas. Our clients especially value our creative problem solving approach, and our ability to complete cases on a timely basis.
Foster, LLP has been a leader in immigrant investor visa petitions since the introduction of the EB-5 green card category in 1990. Under this petition, foreign investors contributing $500,000 to $1,000,000 to a new enterprise that they own and manage, and who directly create 10 new full-time jobs for local workers, are granted green card (i.e., permanent resident) status in the United States for 2 years. A second petition is then required within 2 years to obtain green card status without conditions.
Attorneys of the Investor Visa Group use their expertise to counsel clients on the three most significant issues relating to individual immigrant investor visas: the source of the funds invested in the company; the investor’s ownership and actual management of the new company, and the creation of at least 10 new full-time jobs for local workers. Our keen understanding of immigrant investor petitions enable us to often find novel solutions to the complex questions of finance, corporate structures and investment planning that are essential to immigrant investor cases.
The Investor Visa Group at Foster, LLP has been highly successful at advising individual clients on the burgeoning number of EB-5 investor green card petitions filed through Regional Centers.
Regional Centers are businesses authorized by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) to support foreign investors in their green card petitions, and to develop and manage such investments in a specific location in the U.S. Generally, Regional Centers require investments of $500,000. There are over 50 USCIS-approved Regional Centers.
Regional Centers offer foreign investors several benefits, including enabling the pooling investments; using indirect job creation in the community to establish that 10 jobs were created, and having investments managed by the Regional Center – while still maintaining investor oversight.
Attorneys of the Investor Visa Group are sought by clients to act as detailed guides to the complex process of understanding the immigration steps involved in a Regional Center petition, and in understanding what risks and benefits each Regional Center offers investors from an immigration point of view. Investor team attorneys also analyze a client’s potential assets to determine the most effective source of funds. When the initial investment has been completed, Foster will prepare and file all necessary immigrant visa petitions before USCIS or a U.S. Consulate abroad.
The Investor Visa Group at Foster has also successfully advised private entrepreneurs and local governments on how to create a USCIS-approved Regional Center. Regional Centers not only offer foreign investors a chance to immigrate, they also serve as springboards for attracting foreign investors to a community and creating local jobs. Our attorneys have been at the forefront of developing and structuring Regional Centers to comply with USCIS requirements, and successfully applying to USCIS for approval.
Misdirected state funds relating to an EB-5 development project in South Dakota drove one state official to suicide.
An Illinois man and two of his companies will disgorge $11.5 million in proceeds and pay a total of $3.9 million in civil penalties under a March 17 federal consent judgment settling a Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit brought last year (SEC v. A Chicago Convention Ctr., LLC, N.D. Ill., No. 1:13-cv-00982, consent judgment 3/17/14).
The Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) intervened in a scheme where the defendent defrauded investors over more than $145 million they believed would be going into a project that would satisfy EB-5 program requirements.
The Houston Chronicle reports on alleged fraud by the McAllen, Texas-based USA Now Regional Center.
From a Forbes article on modern con artists:
EB-5 Investment-for-Visa Schemes. The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as EB-5, is an immigration program linked to job-creation that is growing in popularity, but investors must beware of promoters who falsely claim that an investment in their venture is safer or guaranteed due to an influx of foreign cash. The EB-5 immigration category is a 20-year-old program that grants a U.S. visa to foreign nationals who invest a minimum of $500,000 into a new commercial enterprise. All investments with an EB-5 component are subject to traditional securities laws, and investors need to be alert to the foreign-funding feature. Unscrupulous promoters may seek to prop up the plausibility of their scheme by highlighting a connection with a federal jobs program. Similarly, investors may be intrigued by the prospect of big funding from investors in China or other foreign countries with traditional or growing economic power.