The organizational structure of the EB-5 program can be quite complex.
Let‟s take this time to clarify the various US governmental agencies associated with the program.
To begin with, there is the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service or USCIS, which is at the forefront of the EB-5 field. This agency is charged with the review and approval of all regional centers across the United States from its headquarters in Laguna Niguel, California.
It is also responsible for the review and determination of all petitions for conditional residency with the filing of a form called the I-526-Immigration Petition by Alien Entrepreneur.
This essential, yet seemingly simple form will be discussed in future chapters.
Upon receiving regional center designation, a regional center agrees to abide by the regulations governing the program, and verifies such compliance in their annual compliance report.
This annual report is submitted to and reviewed by the USCIS. Upon submitting the I-829 petition, requesting the lifting of conditional residency, the USCIS is also responsible for determining the legitimacy of the application.
As you can see, USCIS oversees the entire EB-5 process.
Therefore, it is imperative for you, as a sponsor or investor, to be well organized throughout the process right from the beginning. Please consider acquiring a large three ring binder with many transparency pages to contain all of your U.S. immigration documents and receipts.
You will receive many documents from your attorney and from the government; therefore it is essential that you maintain all records in a sensible and organized manner.
Keep a list of each and every document, receipt or instruction you receive as it is easy to get confused with the multitude of documents and legal complexities.
The other government agency that you, as an investor, will need to address is the U.S. State Department.
This agency will review the individual immigrant investor application and assess whether there is any basis for inadmissibility.
There are various reasons to support a rejection of the application which include but are not limited to: prior criminal record, fraud convictions, etc.
Thus, while an approval of the I-526 application is laudatory, it is not the final step until the State Department issues its sealed envelope of approval.
Following the State Department‟s approval, the investor and his or her family will physically enter the US and will be inspected at a port of entry.
This inspection is conducted by the Department of Homeland Security. An officer will review the approval notice and stamp, an approval called an I-551, to ensure and date the formal entry into the U.S.
Once the new resident has been admitted, he or she will undertake all normal internal applications with which a U.S. resident must comply. These include but are not limited to acquiring: a U.S. social security number from the Social Security Administration, a driver‟s license from the Department of Motor Vehicles of the State in which he or she will live with his or her family, and we also recommend a state identification document.