Frequently Asked Questions

How do I seek status as an immigrant investor?
In order to seek status as an immigrant investor, you must file form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. The Form I-526 must be filed with supporting documentation which clearly demonstrates that the individual’s investment meets all requirements, such as:
• establishing a new commercial enterprise,
• investing the requisite capital amount,
• Providing the investment comes from a lawful source of funds,
• creating the requisite number of jobs,
• Demonstrating that the investor is actively participating in the business; and, where applicable,
• creating employment within a targeted employment area.

How do I obtain a status as a conditional resident?
Once the form I-526 is approved, immigrant investors may obtain status as a conditional resident by:
• Filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, if residing within the United States.

How do I become a Permanent Resident Based on Investment?
In order to become a lawful permanent resident, eligible investors must file Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. Form I-829 must be filed within 90 days before the second anniversary of an Alien Investor’s admission to the United States as a conditional resident.

When can the amount of investment capital be less than $1 million?
If the immigrant investor invests in a geographically-defined “targeted employment area” the investment capital required is only $500,000. A targeted employment area is defined as neither a rural area (any area not within either a metropolitan statistical area or not within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000) or an area with unemployent of at least 150 percent of the national average rate.

Does a loan count as the investment of capital?
Yes, but a contribution of capital in exchange for a note, bond, convertible debt, obligation, or any other debt arrangement between the alien entrepreneur and the new commercial enterprise does not constitute a contribution of capital.

Does “capital” include more than cash?
Yes. Capital means cash, equipment, inventory, other tangible property, cash equivalents, and indebtedness secured by assets owned by the foreign national, provided that he or she is personally and primarily liable. All capital is valued at fair market value in US dollars.

Can the foreign investor petition for permanent residence with the intent to invest the required capital?
No. An actual investment of capital is required, not simply the intent to do so. The investor is required to show (1) bank statements showing a transfer of capital to the enterprise, (2) evidence of the purchase of assets or property transferred from abroad to be used in the enterprise, (3) evidence of money transferred or committed to be transferred to the new commercial enterprise in exchange for shares of stock, (4) evidence of any loan or mortgage agreement, promissory note, security agreement, or other evidence of borrowing secured by assets of the investor.

What does it mean for the investment to be “at risk”?
For the investment to be “at risk” the immigrant investor must be personally and primarily liable for any loss or gain on the investment made in the enterprise. And, according to In re Soffici, 22 I&N Dec. 158 (BIA 1998), the capital cannot be contributed by a corporation owned or controlled by the investor.

May the immigrant investor use an escrow agreement to protect his or her investment in case of denial of the petition?
Yes. An immigrant investor may put the funds under an escrow agreement that will transfer the funds to the enterprise upon the approval of the immigrant petition as long as the escrow agreement provides that upon approval of the petition the funds will be immediately and irrevocably committed to the new commercial enterprise.