EB-5 Frequently Asked Questions

Our EB-5 Investments

Comparison with our Competitors

AMERICAN LIFE. American Life, Inc.’s EB-5 programs give our investors titled ownership in our EB-5 projects. The investor owns a percentage of the partnership that owns the project, including the real estate.

American Life’s Programs: Equity Ownership Model

  • Investor is an owner of the Limited Partnership, the titled owner is registered with United States Government – USCIS
  • Investor is equal to all limited partners; there is no seniority.
  • If project fails Investor may lose capital but real estate will have value when sold
  • Profit potential as Investor shares in the profit, if any, when the real estate is sold.
  • Investor receives quarterly distributions from profit upon project completion, generally 1-3 years after investing (depending on when the investment is made in the construction period).

COMPETITORS. Most other Regional Programs bundle EB-5 capital and lend it to a developer.

Competitor’s Programs: ‘Debt Models’

  • Investor is only a lender not an owner.
  • Investor is behind all other lenders and will be paid last, which increases the risk of non-payment.
  • If project fails Investor may lose 100% of investment.
  • No profit potential; only a return of capital.
  • Visa backlog at USCIS may extend repayment date to 10 years or longer. Investor receives 1% or less for many years before I-829 is issued.
  American Life – Equity Ownership Model Competitor — Debt Model
Investment Amount $500,000 $500,000
Subscription Fees Varies by Project Varies by Project
Ownership of EB-5 Project Yes. You own shares in a Limited Partnership that owns real estate No. Your money is loaned to a third party.
Annual Income Quarterly cash distributions from profits. Average annual yield for hotel and new Class A office, once stabilized is 5%. Annually 0.5% to 1.0% interest, less management fees. Owners may stop interest payments if cash is short.
Profit Potential Yes. EB-5 investors receive their capital, plus 70% of profit when project is sold. No. Return of original investment only.
Guarantee Return of Investment Not guaranteed by EB-5 project. The real estate has value when sold and all investors will share in the sales proceeds Limited guarantee. Possibility that other lenders will be paid before EB-5 investor. PPM says that investor may lose 100% of investment.

Where is my capital invested?

Your capital purchases a share in a Limited Partnership (LP) in which you become a Limited Partner (shareholder). Each LP acquires a building for refurbishment or land for development. The purchase price will be the same as that negotiated by American Life, which acts as the General Partner, managing the design, construction, letting and rent distribution.

A comprehensive prospectus is prepared for each Limited Partnership, detailing the investment costs, valuation and contractual arrangements. The LP raises sufficient capital from US citizens and immigrant investors, who invest on identical terms, to acquire and complete the project.

American Life cannot come back to you for additional funding. By investing into a Limited Partnership, your liabilities are limited to your capital.

Do I receive income from the investment?

Yes.

Stage 1. Cash. When you invest, your capital will go into an interest bearing deposit account or into US Treasury Bills. The interest, proportional to your investment, is paid monthly in arrears without any management charges or deductions. As your capital is used to build or refurbish the building, the income will reduce as the funds are used.

Stage 2. Rent. As tenants move into the building, all rents received are paid monthly in arrears, proportional to your investment, less a management charge as you would expect from any property management company.

What is a Limited Partnership?

A limited partnership combines corporate limited liability with partnership taxation. The limited partnership, formed by filing a charter with the state government, consists of a general partner and one or more limited partners. The charter details the rights and powers of the limited and general partners, percentages of ownership, and distribution of profits. The general partner manages the business. As in a corporation, the limited partners are passive investors liable only for the value of their investment. As in a general partnership, limited partnership income is taxed at the partner level, not at the entity level.

American Life, Inc. could use a limited partnership or limited liability company with equal effect. American Life uses a limited partnership because the USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Service) regulations specifically refer to limited partners, exempting them from the requirement to actively participate in the business. The regulations make no mention of limited liability companies.

Is my investment guaranteed?

No. The EB-5 legislation requires an “at risk” investment. This does not mean your investment must be risky, but must be without guarantees or redemption rights.

What are my risks?

There is no such thing as a totally risk free investment. Stocks and shares and even Government Securities rise and fall in value.

American Life invests in real estate without mortgage or bank finance. It is the absence of borrowing which eliminates much of the risk. While property values fall as well as rise, dropping in value during recessions, history has demonstrated that values rise again and soon reach new peaks.

When may I exit the investment?

In order to comply with USCIS regulations, your investment must remain in place until Removal of Conditions (I-829), approximately three and a half years after investment. Recently, the USCIS has decreed that, within two of our newer Regional Centers, EB-5 related investments must be held for no less than five years. Most Regional Centers lock-up your capital for five or even six years, no matter what.

Importantly, American Life allows you to exit your investment at any time, as there is no minimum period imposed by the company. Circumstances can change unexpectedly and, if they do and you wish to cancel your immigration plans, even after a week or so, you may sell your shares.

If the first step of the visa process (I-526) has not been completed we will sell to another immigrant investor and, if it has, to a US investor.

Is an American Life investment better than other Regional Centers?

We firmly believe it is and that is why so many Americans, with no immigration requirement and with so many other investment opportunities, place large sums of capital with us. They account for almost half our funds whereas no other Regional Center has non EB-5 investors.

As a property development and management company we are rare, in that, we avoid debt. Given your investment buys you a share of land and a building – a tiny piece of planet earth – without debt it cannot be taken away. That cannot be said for trading companies or loans.

Why should I invest before applying for my Green Card?

The regulations permit escrow arrangements but we have found that USCIS looks more favourably on petitions based on a completed investment. Our success record lends weight to that policy.

We offer our properties to US citizens as well as immigrant investors. If your investment capital sits in escrow pending the results of a visa application, the proposed development would have to be delayed. This would deter our American investors and the project may not be completed, or as far advanced, when you wish to sell your shares, affecting any capital appreciation.

If you agree that we offer a sound investment then we require you to commit your capital as any other investor. If for some reason you do not receive your green card (I-526), we contract to refund your capital.

What is the best way to transfer funds into US Dollars?

Irrespective of charges, the exchange rate at high street banks makes them an expensive option. We recommend using a specialist foreign currency exchange company. Moneycorp, HiFX and Currencies Direct are popular choices but there are others. Please see our useful links.

NB: Neither American Life nor Taroa Investment Company, which manages sales of American Life investments, accepts commissions from third parties.

Important tax considerations

The United States charges income tax on all US citizens and permanent residents based on worldwide income. Treaties and various exemptions eliminate some but not all of the risk of double taxation. Each state of the United States has its own tax system. All but four states raise revenue through state income tax. Investors should consider the tax effects of becoming a US resident before investing. As a general rule, if you are moving all of your assets to the US you will not have a problem with double taxation. If you will continue working or investing in your home country after moving to the US, a trip to your tax adviser is in order.

The EB-5 Immigration Process

Who are the ‘immediate family members’?

Your spouse and your unmarried children under the age of 21. Adopted children are eligible.

What documents must I gather to process my visa petition?

You must collect complete biographical information for each applicant, birth certificates and a marriage certificate if appropriate. The principal applicant must prove the source of the investment funds. To do so, the USCIS requires five years of tax returns, five years of bank records, proof of ownership in any businesses, financial statements for each business and business licenses. The idea is to present a track record of an honest course of dealing. If your capital came from a specific transaction, such as sale of a house, mortgage, inheritance or gift, you must prove the transaction occurred by providing an official document such as a closing statement, contract or deed. Other documents may be required and vary on a case-by-case basis. Your immigration attorney will assess and prepare your documentation to present to the USCIS as part of your EB-5 visa petition.

How do I submit my application for a green card?

The EB-5 visa is complex and it is essential for a satisfactory outcome that you use the services of an EB-5 experienced immigration attorney. For this reason, American Life has formed a Panel of Attorneys who are highly experienced with EB-5 petitions. You may appoint an attorney of your choosing; however, we do require that your attorney work with a member of our Panel and that your visa petition is signed by a Panel member. Contact details for the members of American Life’s Panel of Attorneys are available upon request.

NB: Neither American Life nor EB5 Investment Corp, which manages sales of American Life investments, receives commission or reward from Panel members or any third party.

What are the application procedures?

  • Step 1) I-526 Immigrant investor status. File form I-526 Petition for Alien Entrepreneur with the California Service Center. This petition requests the CIS to certify the applicant and the investment as eligible for EB-5 visa status.
  • Step 2) I-485 or Embassy interview. Upon approval of the I-526 petition, (a) if you are in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, you may apply for Adjustment of Status by sending form I-485 and supporting documents to the CIS regional processing center nearest your US residence; (b) if you live outside the US you must wait for notification from the Embassy in your home country to prepare documents for the visa interview.
  • Step 3) Conditional Green Card. Upon approval at Step 2, you receive a form evidencing the approval as well as a travel document. You will also receive the temporary green card in the mail. If you are outside the US you must enter the country within six months of the date of the Embassy approval. Your green card will be placed in your passport at the port of entry into the USA.
  • Step 4) I-829 Permanent Residency (Removal of Conditions). After holding your conditional green card for one year and nine months, your attorney will file for Removal of Conditions using Form I-829. This procedure enables the USCIS to verify that you have maintained your approved investment for the required two year period and that the project into which you invested has been started.

Where can I find a copy of the EB-5 law and regulations?

The steps above are described on the USCIS website (www.uscis.gov). The EB-5 requirements are under Permanent Workers, Fifth Preference. More details can be found at: Green Card through Investment (Step 1)Adjustment of Status (Steps 2&3) or Consular Processing (Steps 2&3), and Permanent Residence for Entrepreneurs (Step 4). These pages will open in separate windows.

How long does the process take?

Processing times vary and, at present, you should assume twelve months from the time your visa petition is filed with the USCIS until your Consular interview at the US Embassy. Though this time has been shorter, lately many have experienced the full 12 month wait. Since processing times vary, if planning for children’s education for example, it would be best to allow twelve months. A guide:

Processing of your I-526 petition at the California Processing Center 9 months
Processing at the National Visa Center, Washington DC and awaiting consulate interview 9 months
Processing of your I-526 petition at the California Processing Center 3 months
Total processing time to receive entry permit to collect green card 12 months
Assuming you emigrate four months after your Embassy interview 3 months
Application for I-829 (removal of conditions) after entering the US 21 months
Removal of conditions processing 6 months
Total time after emigrating 30 months
Total processing time from initial application to removal of conditions: 42 months

Five years after entering the USA with your green card you and your immediate family may apply for US citizenship. You may elect to have dual citizenship.

What are my rights and obligations as an EB-5 visa holder?

The USCIS has produced a clear and concise guide which explains the rights and responsibilities of Permanent Residents, that is, all EB-5 visa holders.

A Guide for New Immigrants ‘This guide contains basic information that will help you settle in the United States and find what you and your family need for everyday life.’ It includes:

  • getting a social security number and driver’s license
  • documents needed to enrol your child in school
  • how to get help in an emergency
  • overview of the federal government with a list of departments and agencies
  • maintaining permanent residency and requirements for citizenship
  • and a handy list of federal holidays

It demystifies the process and explains it all in American terms.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what questions to ask when integrating into a new country – whether you are trying to pay your taxes, register a car or find English classes for your spouse. This Guide can give you the confidence to ask the right questions and find the best answers.

American Life Inc.

How long has American Life been in business?

The company was formed in 1996 to manage property investments for immigrant investors applying for an EB-5 visa which confers Permanent Residency. It is the most established company in the market.

From 1998 to 2003, when the program was not operating, American Life continued, attracting investments from US citizens. Today, American Life attracts investments from both US and immigrant investors and the ratio is approximately 50/50.

If American Life runs out of money or goes bankrupt what happens to my investment?
Your investment is in a separate Limited Partnership which would not be financially vulnerable should American Life cease to exist. However, you and the other Limited Partners would require another company to manage the property. Taroa Investment Company would expect to address this on your behalf, and for itself, as an investor.

How much property does the company manage?

American Life manages 38 buildings, totalling in excess of 2,000,000 sq ft, rentable space, plus two additional undeveloped sites totalling 350,000 sq ft. The company’s properties are mostly in SODO, which is ‘south of downtown’ Seattle and near the Historic District. We have the largest property portfolio in the area after the Government and Port of Seattle.

We have recently been approved to manage, with specialist partners, Regional Centers in California, Georgia, and New York. Our Regional Center in Florida is awaiting approval.

Why should I choose American Life?

  • More immigrant investors choose American Life.
  • We are the longest established Regional Center management company, founded in 1996.
  • Our many EB-5 projects have sustained a 100% success rate for EB-5 visa applications and removal of conditions.
  • No other Regional Center attracts US citizens as investors.
  • Almost half of our investors are US citizens who have no need of a visa and who invest on the same terms and share the same investments as immigrant investors.
  • Investment properties are freehold with no debt.
  • Bank interest on cash is paid to investors, usually monthly.
  • Rental income, of approximately 4-5 per cent net of management charge, is paid monthly.
  • Some early EB-5 investors enjoy 8% income from their investment.
  • We have the best record of income and capital growth of any Regional Center.
  • Our investments are in locations of long time stability, even through the recent recession.
  • Seattle has been voted the No 1 city for commercial property investment in 2009.
  • We have a sales team in Seattle to sell your shares, upon your request.
  • American Life imposes no minimum investment period.

American Life with an EB-5 visa

What is it like to live in the USA with an EB-5 visa? What can I expect?

The United States is proud to be a country of immigrants. It has always welcomed immigrants and they, in turn, have shaped America into the diverse multi-cultured place it is today.  No one can tell you what your experience will be, but having said that – you may need some practical advice so you know what to expect before you enter.

The best – and official – source of information is Welcome to the United States: a Guide for New Immigrants.  This easy-to-read 124 page PDF explains your responsibilities and rights as a Permanent Resident on an EB-5 visa.

The Guide can give you a vital head-start, before you emigrate.  And once in the US, it’s designed to help you connect with your community – wherever that may be – and make everyday tasks in your newly adopted country much easier, showing you what to do or whom to ask.

Once in the USA – for immigration information, you will be able to follow the advice of your immigration attorney, and for information about your investment, you can contact American Life, but for the everyday tasks, the Guide for New Immigrants is invaluable.

The USCIS also maintains a website with further information: www.welcometousa.gov.