Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Ellis Island Capital?
Where are you located?
Our global corporate address is:
Suite 6 Mill Mall P.O. Box 3085 Wickhams Cay1 Road Town Tortola British Virgin Islands.
We have personnel on 4 different continents around the world and office locations throughout America. Come visit!
Will you be visiting my city?
We strongly recommend you come visit us in America. This will be the location of your investment, and we know once you see the types of projects we work with, you’ll be really excited.
When do I (the investor) get my money back?
You should expect to receive your money back 4 – 5 years after you have invested it. The precise timing will be determined by the particular project you choose to invest in.
What part of the US Government runs and authorizes the program?
The program is authorized by the US Congress and is run by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service. The US Department of State is also involved in adjudicating applications.
What is the History of the Program?
The Immigrant Investor Program, more commonly known as EB-5, was created by the United States Congress’ Immigration Act of 1990 (IMMACT90). This act significantly restructured the U.S. immigration system.
Congress established the EB-5 program to stimulate the U.S. economy by giving foreign investors the opportunity to permanently live and work in the United States after they have invested in an American commercial enterprise.
Who typically applies for the EB-5 Program?
That is a tricky question! We have had clients from every corner of the world, with every professional background imaginable.
Most commonly, applicants are people looking to build a better future for themselves, or grow their business into the largest economy in the world. That said, we’ve also worked with professional athletes, students, retirees, and many many more types of people!
What is the Approval Rate for this category?
The approval rate for this category is extremely high, particularly when compared to other categories of visa.
The precise number is based on a range of factors, but as long as you don’t lie to us, e.g. you got arrested in the US and don’t let us know, you should have zero concerns about not getting approved.
Is the the EB5 program going to change? I’ve heard the new amount will be 800,000 USD or 1,350,000 USD
The EB5 program is complex. We carefully track legislative updates and relevant news on behalf of our clients. The program has been renewed almost 20 times. Like all government processes, it is an ongoing discussion.
There are strong indications that the investment amount is going to increase soon, but of course, this is not guaranteed.
How long does filing an application take?
The first filing that is made to the US government is called an “I-526” – which you can see here. We’ve seen the I-526 filed as quickly as 1 week from contacting us or take as long as 6 months. It depends largely on how energetic the investor is, as well as how difficult it is to verify the investor’s source and path of funds. Get started early! We can help.
When can I move to the US?
It depends on how quickly we can file your application, and if new laws are passed by the US government to process application backlogs.
Historically, applications have been approved in as quickly as six months. Right now, you should expect around 18 months until you can move to the US, but that will vary somewhat based on a range of factors.
If you are from China, unfortunately, we have bad news – wait times are around 14 years due to overwhelming demand.
What are all the costs associated with the process, and who are they paid to?
Most of the costs associated with this process vary widely – and will vary based on a few key decisions EIC will advise you on. You should budget around 13% in costs, paid mostly to the U.S. project you will invest in and a U.S. law firm that will process your case.
What Happens to my Investment if my Visa is Denied?
Ellis Island Capital has never had a denial.
If you were to be denied an EB-5 Visa, your investment plus project administration fees are returned to you.
What are the most common sources of the investment?
- Salary earned through employment
- Gifts of money from family members, friends, employers
- Profits made from sale of a house, real estate or other assets
- Loan (as long as the loan has collateral and the investor has the obligation to pay it back)
How safe is the investment?
The investment is placed in a US Government Approved Project.
The exact project your investment will go into depends on your time frame and your desires. Just like a normal investment, you will need to work with Ellis Island Capital to choose one that is the right fit for you.
The projects that Ellis Island Capital work with are extremely safe, but of course, you shouldn’t just take our word for it, do your homework!
How Long Must the Investment be in Place?
The investment stays in place for 4 – 5 years after you submit your application and fund the investment. The specific timeline will vary slightly based on the location of the investment.
Is the Investment due at One Time or in Multiple Payments?
The payment is due at one time (up front) after your documents and source of funds are prepared. You cannot begin this process with the US Government without having the full amount in place.
What is the Minimum Investment Amount?
The minimum as set by the U.S. government is $500,000.
I want to start my own business, would this qualify?
It depends but starting your own business and qualifying for U.S. Permanent Residency is much more difficult to achieve. There are a range of difficult requirements and increased costs associated with using your own business. Contact us if you’d like to learn more details.
I will be gifted the amount, is this allowed?
Yes, receiving a gift of the investment is acceptable. The source of funds documentation will still need to be completed so the US government knows where the funds derived from before the gift.
What are Some Types of Projects?
If you want to learn about what is currently being offered, contact us!
Who is included in the Application?
Investor (often referred to as the primary applicant), Spouse and all unmarried children under the age of 21
What if I have dependent Parents/Children over the Age of 21?
If you have dependent parents or children over the age of 21, they will not be included in your application.
There are a few options:
1) Your parents and children do not join you in America
2) You file a separate application and investment for your parents or your older-than-21 children. (More on gifting funds in the Investment section)
3) Once your investment is returned in 5 years, you gift this to your parents or children who will file an application and investment.
How do I determine if I am eligible?
A great thing about the EB-5 Visa is there are very low requirements outside of the lawfully source $500,000 investment amount. Being on a person-of-interest list and some crimes committed in America will disqualify you from being approved.
Most rejections come from incorrect documentation of either your source of funds, personal background or I-526 application. This is why it is important to work with an experienced advisor who has the experience to avoid these mistakes.
Will this affect my Current US Visa? (example: H1b, B1/B2 F1 etc)
No this will NOT affect any current US visa application. You can have multiple active applications concurrently. It is common for F1 or H1b holders to transition to EB-5 to enjoy the benefits of Permanent Residency
What Documents are Required?
There are many documents required by the US government to process your application. These include Source of funds documents, project subscription documents, and personal background documents.
Without complete documents, your application will be rejected.
The exact documents needed depend on a case-by-case assessment, but we’ll work with you to make sure your application package is complete.
How quickly can I receive my American Permanent Residency?
When our team started, it was taking as short as 6 months. This is still possible but we are seeing an average time of 18 months from submission of an application to the USCIS for our most recent clients. There are ways to bridge this with a temporary visa (to get you there faster via other categories or structures) but this is a good estimate of the process time.
Do I have to stay in America to keep my Green Card?
If you are not planning on living permanently in America, there are a few options that the EIC team can help you with to keep your Green Card.
A common solution is to apply for a reentry permit once you’re application is approved and before you next leave America. This will allow you to leave America for a maximum of two years while maintaining your permanent residency status. There are other options available, so let your goals known to us, and we can offer a few potential solutions.
How do I apply for American Citizenship and an America Passport?
If you wish, you can apply to become a full-fledged American Citizen. With this comes many privileges, rights, and responsibilities.
To get a U.S. Passport you must be a U.S. citizen. To become a citizen, you need to begin the “naturalization” path to citizenship. As well as other criteria, you will need to live in America for 2.5 years out of any 5 year period.
What if I have more questions?
If you still have more questions about the Immigration side of the program here are some links you might find helpful:
And as always, contact us with your questions via phone, email or whatsapp.
The U.S. Security and Exchange Commission – the SEC enforces the securities laws to protect the more than 60 million American households that have turned to the securities markets to invest in their futures—whether it’s starting a family, sending kids to college, saving for retirement or attaining other financial goals.
A broker-dealer is a person or company that is regulated by the SEC and is in the business of buying and selling securities—stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and certain other investment products—on behalf of its customers
Green Card – Permanent Residency in America
FINRA – Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. is a private corporation that acts as a self-regulatory organization
Source of Funds – Documentation the proves the investment amount derives from legitimate sources
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is a component of the United States Department of Homeland Security.
USCIS is the government agency that oversees lawful immigration the United States. They consist of 19,000 government employees and contractors working at more than 200 offices across the world.
USCIS is responsible for the processing of your application once your documents are prepared and investment is in place.
Private Placement Memorandum (PPM)
Private placement memorandums are documents drawn up between those seeking capital, for instance, EB-5 Regional Centers, and investors. PPMs outline the requirements and potential financial risks that investors face in making an investment in a particular business. The PPM then protects the business that received the investment if something goes wrong during the course of the investment.
Targeted Employment Area (TEA)
Targeted Employment Area means an area which, at the time of investment, is a rural area or an area that has experienced unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average rate. TEAs are subject to lessened EB-5 investment amount requirements. EB-5 investors who invest in a business that is located in a TEA may qualify to invest US $500,000 instead of the usual US $1 million.
I-526 means an Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. It is used for an entrepreneur or person wishing to use the EB-5 program to immigrate to the United States. This is the first formal application that will be registered on your behalf with the US Government.
I-829 means a Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions. It is used for an entrepreneur or person using the EB-5 program who is a conditional permanent resident to remove the conditions on their green card.
I-485 is an application for Adjustment of Status. If an immigrant investor is present in the United States when his or her I-526 Petition is approved, he or she must use this form to adjust status to that of a conditional permanent resident.