On September 13th 2013, Genesis Law Firm, PLLC received an EB-5 investment visa approval after just 7 months. Eighteen months is the average for EB-5 petitions according to government statistics, more than 2.5 times longer than Genesis Law Firm’s result. The Genesis attorney working on the matter attributed the reduced processing time to the firm’s due diligence in preparing and submitting materials. As the lawyer explained, “we scrutinized the EB-5 projects available and located one that was just right. And we did a good job of demonstrating the legitimacy of the investment funds. I believe those factors are the key to achieving speedy processing times.”
The EB-5 visa program, though somewhat controversial, presents a means for wealthy individuals to immigrate to the United States through investment. The investments must be at least $500,000 (US dollars) if placed in economically depressed regions of the States, or $1 million otherwise. Because there is no quota or waiting list, this visa program enables successful investors and their immediate family to obtain permanent resident status (green cards) more quickly than most other options.
Aside from the controversial aspect of “buying” one’s way into the US, the EB-5 program recently encountered several fraud scandals, such as the Convention Swindle in Chicago. There, a 29-year-old and his associates allegedly defrauded nearly 250 investors, mostly from China, of almost $250 million.
According to Genesis Law Firm, “choosing a legitimate, qualified investment project is one of the most important aspects of a successful EB-5 petition.”
More than 80% of EB-5 investors originally hail from China, as did the investor for whom Genesis Law Firm achieved its 7-month turnaround. There are proposals to set up an annual quota or waiting list in an attempt to create more balance in origin of EB-5 investors. Congress has also considering raising the minimum investment from $500,000 to $750,000, which could curtail the EB-5’s popularity.
As an immigration attorney cautioned: “It’s important for investors, especially Chinese investors, to apply soon if they want to take advantage of this program. Government regulations may make it significantly more difficult to obtain an EB-5 visa in the future. If you apply now, you should be fine, because your application will probably be grandfathered in. But don’t wait.”