How Can I Prove Lawful Source of Funds For An EB-5 Investor Visa?
The EB-5, or Employment Based Fifth Preference, is an immigrant visa category that was created by Congress in the year 1990 and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
The purpose of being the EB-5 is to help stimulate the United States economy through significant capital investment from foreign investors. It enables explicitly a person living outside of the United States to invest a minimum of $500,000 into a new commercial enterprise in the United States, and one which will create a minimum of ten full-time jobs for workers who are also American citizens.
There are two kinds of EB-5 Investments: regional center investment and direct investment. A foreign resident can file a Form I-526 petition, along with proper documentation, to begin the process to receive the EB-5.
One of the most critical requirements when filing that I-526 petition is to prove ‘lawful source of funds;’ and with proper documentation. In other words, you have to prove that the source of the funds you are using is lawful for your I-526 petition to be accepted. Once your petition has been approved, you will no longer have to prove the lawful source of funds afterward.
How Can You Prove ‘Lawful Source of Funds’?
How can you prove that the funds you are using to invest in a new commercial enterprise are lawful? You have to prove that the funds you are using were acquiring or obtained via lawful means, and not through criminal activity.
To prove to the United States government that the funds you are using were obtained lawfully, there are four separate categories of documentation that you can show:
- Foreign Business Registration Records
- Corporate or Personal Tax Returns From Within The Last Five Years
- Certified Copies of Administrative Proceedings From The Last Fifteen Years
- Any Other Verifiable Evidence Identifying Additional Capital Sources
While obtaining the above kind of documentation may sound easy, the truth is that the USCIS is going to require a significant level of documentation to prove that the funds are lawful.
For example, in addition to the documentation that falls directly into the above categories, you are also going to need to additionally verify administrative fees, taxes paid on the capital, and any other documentation you have related to the above.
Also, the specific documentation that you provide will need to be based on how you obtained the income (more on this in the next section). For instance, if you earned your money from investments, you need to provide documentation verifying every dollar earned from those investments. If you obtained the cash via a loan from a bank or other financial institution, you would need to show every document you have in regards to that loan.
Where Can Your ‘Lawful Source of Funds’ Come From?
There are a variety of sources of funding that the USCIS will consider ‘lawful.’ These include, but are not limited to:
- Employment Earnings
- Self-Employed Income
- Investment Earnings
- Loans From Friends or Family
- Loans From Financial Institutions
- Home Equity Loan
- Retirement Funds
- Real Estate Transaction Proceeds
Again, all money that you use for the EB-5 Investment will need to be correctly verified with proper documentation. So, for example, if your cash is obtained via loans, you will need documentation such as financial statements, loan contracts, bank statements, and appraisal of value.
If you received your money from gifts, you would need to display gift tax certificates, gift letters, and bank statements that show the deposit of the funds into your account(s).
What Type of Documentation Do You Need For Different Lawful Income Sources?
Here is a list of familiar lawful income sources that the USCIS will accept, and the specific documentation that you will need to provide for each one at the bare minimum:
- Employment Contracts
- Bank Statements Showing Deposits
- Tax Forms
REAL ESTATE PURCHASES
- Purchase Agreement Document
- Bank Statements Showing Payment For Your Property
- Property Ownership Certificate
- Proof of Property Tax and Deed Tax Paid
- Bank Statements Showing The Loan Receipt
- Appraisal Reports (if applicable)
- Loan Agreement From Bank (showing collateral)
Not only does the income or money that you use for an EB-5 investment need to be lawful and not obtained through criminal activity, but you will need to repeatedly and thoroughly prove it with the proper documentation. We go into greater detail on the lawful source of funds here.
That’s also not to mention that you can expect to answer several questions regarding your lawful source of income in the EB-5 Interview as well, and the interviewer will ask you specific questions from the documentation you provide to ensure that you are highly familiar with what you submitted.
If you’re not sure if your source of funds will be approved or would like to get started on your EB-5 investor visa process, you can get started here. We have 100% approval rate on I-526 petitions.