The Oklahoma State Regional Center
Visa EB‑5 and the Regional Center
Hello, Mr. Hudgins and thank you for finding some time to answer our questions today.
EB-5 Investor Visa provides the fastest way to US permanent residence. Do you know of any analogous programs in other countries or is this Pilot program unique to United States?
Canada has eliminated its program and the Australian program currently requires a higher investment level than the U.S. EB-5 program. We believe an investment in a project sponsored by the Oklahoma State a Regional Center is the best way for an immigrant investor to obtain permanent residency status in the United States.
In general, what would an entrepreneur need to show in order to be eligible to participate in the EB-5 program?
The most important thing for an immigrant investor to be able to show is how he or she obtained the $500,000 that will be invested in the project sponsored by the regional center. The investor can show these funds were obtained from savings, the sale of a business, land or a residence, the sale of investments or a gift from a family member.
That does not sound too complicated. Besides, Regional Centers such as the Oklahoma State Regional Center, do not leave the investors behind and assist them throughout the process, correct?
That is correct. At the Oklahoma State Regional Center we will assist the investor through the entire process. It is our goal to ensure the investor gets his or her permanent residency status and gets their original investment paid back along with interest.
It looks like the Regional Center program takes care of the day to day worries about the new EB-5 enterprise overseas as far as job creation and the investment is concerned.
Yes, our Regional Center works directly with the developer and the economist to ensure the job requirements are met. We also work directly with Lawson Law, a law firm based in Tulsa, Oklahoma that has Russian speaking immigration attorneys, to ensure all filing requirements are met through the USCIS.
What projects do you currently have available for the EB-5 investors to enroll in?
Currently though Oklahoma State Regional Center we have the Hampton Inn Project which is a hotel in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma that is being developed by The Ross Group and which will be managed and operated by Promise Hotels. This hotel project is in an excellent location as it is directly across the street from the BOK Center which is the premier event center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We also have the H2O apartment project, a high rise residential apartment complex in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma which is being developed by Glenn Ferguson. The H2O apartment project is also in an excellent location in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
The EB-5 program via the Regional Center, a foreign investor must invest funds of at least $0.5 m and prove that at least ten jobs have been directly or indirectly created.
Are there any advantages for the EB-5 investors to choose your Regional Center?
We believe there are several advantages for investors to choose our regional center. These advantages include: (1) we do a tremendous amount of due diligence on projects to ensure the projects represent very safe investments as our primary goals as a regional center are to ensure each investor get his or her permanent residency status and gets all of their investment returned; (2) we provide a very personalized experience for each investor as we work with them throughout the entire process and (3) we believe there are regional centers in the market place presenting projects to investors that have a very high risk profile. All of the projects sponsored through the Oklahoma State a Regional Center have an extremely low risk profile.
Could you please tell us what the current time for receiving a Green Card is?
The current processing time to receive an investors green card is 14 months. This time period will start running once an investor has invested his or her funds with the regional center and the Form I-526 is filed with the USCIS. We are hopeful this processing time comes down, but currently the processing time is 14 months.
Let’s talk in a bit more detail about the EB-5 Pilot Program itself. Are there limits to the investment? What about the lower end of the investment?
The investment for an immigrant investor can either be $500,000 or $1,000,000. It is beneficial for investors if they can achieve their goal of permanent U.S. Residency while only investing $500,000 as opposed to the $1,000,000 investment level.
All of the current projects sponsored by the Oklahoma State a Regional Center are located within Target Employment Areas which allows them to qualify for the lower $500,000 investment level.
Please tell us about the mechanism of obtaining a green card. How soon can an EB-5 investor become a US Citizen?
Once an immigrant investor invests his or her funds with the regional center the immigration attorney will prepare and file his or her I-526 with the USCIS. The I-526 processing time is currently 14 months. Once the I-526 is approved the investor receives his or her temporary green card. This green card allows the investor to enter the United States and is good for two years. Prior to the expiration of the two year period we will work with the investor to ensure the I-829 is timely filed with the USCIS. The I-829 is filed to remove the condition on the green card and make it a permanent green card. Once an investor has his or her permanent green card then he or she can start the process of becoming a U.S. Citizen within 5 years; however, there is no requirement for an investor to become a U.S. Citizen – they can just keep their permanent green card.
What does one need to do prior to the expiration of the temporary Green Card?
Prior to the expiration of the two year temporary green card we will work with each investor to ensure their Form I-829 is filed with the USCIS. The Form I-829 serves to remove the condition on the investor’s green card and make it a permanent green card.
What happens to the status of the EB-5 visa holder once the I-829 is approved?
Upon approval of an investor’s I-829 by the USCIS all conditions on the investor’s green card are removed and their green card becomes permanent. At this point the investor can start the process toward U.S. Citizenship or simply keep their permanent green card status.
How soon after the conditions are removed, can the EB-5 investor apply for US Citizenship?
An investor can become a U.S. Citizen 5 years after their green card becomes permanent.
Does every family member need to Petition for EB-5 visa?
Yes each family member must apply for a green card. However, only one investment is required for an investor his or her spouse and all children 21 years of age and under.
On average, how long does the EB-5 program take from enrollment of the investor in the project to receiving Permanent Residency? What determines these time frames?
On average the entire process takes approximately four years from the time an investor makes an investment until he or she receives their permanent green card. The time frames are driven both by the processing time at the USCIS and the requirements of the EB-5 program. We hope to see processing times at the USCIS decrease in the future which may decrease the overall time required to obtain an investor’s permanent green card.
Are there limitations as to the source of the investment funds? Is sponsorship required for EB-5 petitions?
An investor must be able to show he or she obtained the funds necessary to make the investment in a lawful manner. The source of funds may come from savings, their job, the sale of a residence, business or investment or a gift. It is not necessary to have a sponsor in order to participate in the EB-5 program.
Are there any qualifications for the investor personally?
The main qualifications for investors personally are that they must not have criminal records or communicable diseases. There are several other personal qualifications which apply to only a small number of potential investors. We work with an investor’s immigration attorney to ensure they meet all of these qualifications prior to them making the investment.
A Regional Center works within its geographical area. Does this mean that the investor must reside in the same territory as the investment project?
This is a very good question. An investor can make his or her investment in a project sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regional Center and he or she may reside and travel anywhere in the United States. We feel as the risk profile of the projects sponsored by the Oklahoma State a Regional Center is very low and it is a wise decision for investors to invest in projects sponsored by our regional center in order to help them obtain their permanent green cards regardless of where in the United States they wish to live.
Can an EB-5 investor use US residency benefits?
Yes, for example, an EB-5 visa holder can pay resident tuition for the US colleges and universities for their children which is a significant savings over tuition for other foreign students..
Summing up, tell me what benefits the investor receives by investing in Oklahoma State Regional Center?
We believe the major benefits of investing in a project sponsored through the Oklahoma State a regional Center include the low risk profile of the projects which helps to ensure the investor obtains his or her permanent green card and their invested capital is paid back. Additionally, we personalize the relationship for each investor and work closely with them throughout the entire process.
Thank you for your time, Mr. Hudgins and for addressing our questions regarding the EB-5 program. We wish much success to the Oklahoma Regional Center!
Address: PO Box 690960| Tulsa OK 74137