New book—”Certain Security” by Brian Dickens—introduces U.S. investment visa programs to foreign markets…

 

Certain Security Cover

Brian Dickens—the Founder and CEO of FamilySecurityNow.com (FSN) and Inversión Consultant Services (ICS)—has written a book entitled, Certain Security, which is available in hardcover at Amazon.com®.

Certain Securitywhich currently targets English-speaking, non-U.S. citizens—introduces readers to U.S. investment visa programs administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including the much-publicized EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa Program.

Certain Security is positioned as a “consumer’s guide” to investment visa programs and the industry of service providers available to assist foreign investors with the investment visa process.  The book, which draws on Mr. Dickens’ extensive experience with investment visa programs, presents his “4 Proven Steps to Investment Visa Success”.

 

 


 

U.S. Congress Considers Investment Visa Program Improvements

The Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 as proposed my a group of 8 US Senators, includes provisions that will benefit the EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa Program.  Many of these changes promise to expand the availability of visas in an effort to increase foreign investment in the US and thereby stimulate job creation.  The proposal also includes the removal of the pilot status from the EB-5 regional center aspects of the program to finalize their permanence.

Changes proposed under the Act include:

  • Increased number of available EB-5 visas each year
  • Roll-over of unused visas from previous years
  • Elimination of country visa quotas
  • Exclusion of dependent visas from quota metrics, so that spouses and dependent children do not count against annual quotas
  • Permanence of the EB-5 regional center program

“Most of the suggestions we have heard raise legitimate points and suggestions on how to improve the bill,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the bipartisan group.

Low (and descending) crime rate…

 

Statistically, most suburban and rural communities in the U.S. remain virtually devoid of violent crime.

The following graph—extracted from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) violent crime report—illustrates the rapidly declining incidence of violent crime in the United States.  On a per-capita basis, this decline is even more encouraging.  More and more American communities are experiencing unprecedented security and freedom from violent criminals.


Violent Crime 2007-2011

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) report: Crime in the United States


The next graph—on property crimes—shows a similar, although less-dramatic decline.


Property Crime 2007-2011

U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) report: Crime in the United States 2011


While these reports clearly indicate that crime—and even violent crime—is being committed in the U.S., they underscore a very encouraging trend for potential immigrants.  Personal security—which has always been excellent in the United States—is getting even better.

BWD

 


Removal of conditions to U.S. residency…

When an investor’s I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur—the EB-5 visa application–is approved by USCIS, an appointment is made for the investor and his/her immediate family at one of the U.S. State Department’s U.S. Consulate offices.  If all goes well with the Consulate, then the investor’s entire family is immediately granted a conditional, permanent resident visa—often referred to as a “green card”.  The conditional visa carries all of the rights and privileges of <em>unconditional</em> permanent residency, with its “conditions” being that the investor must prove (after 2 years) that his/her investment monies remained at risk in the commercial enterprise where they were placed, and that 10 permanent, full-time employees (excluding the investor or family members) were hired as a result of the investment.

The necessary proof is submitted to USCIS in the form of the I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions—which must be submitted to USCIS not fewer than 90 days prior to the 2-year anniversary of receiving the conditional visa.

For EB-5 Immigrant Investment Regional Center (RC) investors, much of the supporting, evidentiary documentation will be provided by the RC—including its USCIS approval letter.  For direct EB-5 investors, the evidence must be derived from business financial and employment documents. 

BWD

 

Choosing the right investment…

Foreign investors have an important choice to make when it comes to selecting an EB-5 investment opportunity.  The 5 primary investment choices are:

      1. EB-5 Immigrant Investment Regional Center (RC)
      2. Direct investment in the relocation or expansion of their own existing foreign business;
      3. Direct investment in the creation of a new start-up business of their own concept;
      4. Direct investment in a new U.S. business; or
      5. Direct investment in an existing, “troubled” U.S. business

The following factors–in priority order–should be weighed in the decision about which of the above types of investment to make:

How many direct, permanent, full-time jobs will be created by the company or project?  

The ability of the investor and his/her family to remove the conditions from their visas, remain in the U.S., and naturalize as citizens (if desired) is completely dependent upon the satisfaction of the EB-5 program’s employment requirements.  While RCs have the pre-approved luxury of counting indirect and induced job creation to facilitate satisfying the requirements, those jobs are computed based on the number of direct jobs that the commercial enterprise is forecast to create.  Therefore, the key to arriving at a successful total jobs number is an abundance of direct jobs—without which, there are no jobs to which to apply the multipliers.

Direct EB-5 investment—in choices B-E above—requires that all qualifying jobs be direct employees of the commercial enterprise.  In the case of B and C, jobs held by the investor, a spouse, and any other family members will not count toward the required 10 full-time jobs per investor. Job creation gets much harder to achieve and to sustain in a direct investment if the project requires more than 10 investors.   If a project or a company does not have at least a 10 percent “cushion” of extra projected jobs, or if there is any doubt that the jobs will be created, the investor should stay well away from the project or company.

What is the likelihood the investor will get his/her money back?   Investors will likely be concerned about the perceived safety of their invested principal—as all investors are—and they will want to evaluate the efficacy of the business.  However this evaluation should be of secondary importance to job creation simply because if the jobs aren’t created, then the time and money of the investor will have been wasted anyway.

How much managerial control is the investor comfortable either having, or not having?  

Control is a double-edged sword.  Generally speaking, the more managerial control that an investor has, the greater the risk they must absorb.  If an investor is comfortable with risk—perhaps because they are extremely familiar with the invested industry—then direct investment will likely be attractive, because the investor will have significant input into deciding how his/her investment is deployed.

If on the other hand, the investor is completely unfamiliar with the industry and must rely on the managers of the project or company as industry experts, then that investor may be attracted to a regional center investment–where he/she might have very little managerial influence, but where the risk will be shared with more knowledgeable domestic partners and many other EB-5 investors.

How confident will the investor be about starting and operating a business in a new place with new rules and seasoned competitors?  EB-5 investors contemplating  relocating or launching a business of their own in the U.S. should consider carefully how difficult it may be to enter a new market with perhaps limited language skills, no local partner or supply-chain relationships, and limited understanding of business in a new country.  Seasoned entrepreneurs with international experience may face these challenges with confidence, while others may prefer to invest in RCs or existing U.S. enterprises.

How attractive is the potential return on the investment (ROI)?   Investors may be surprised to see this criterion prioritized fifth.  EB-5 investors should remember that the attraction of creating these investment opportunities from the U.S. perspective is that the commercial enterprise can leverage the permanent resident visa and preferred return of principal to enhance the value of the opportunity in the investors’ eyes, and decrease what it costs the company to attract and deploy invested capital.  Therefore, investors should consider the value of permanent residency in the U.S. and in some cases, the premium value of preferred distributions when evaluation EB-5 opportunities. There will be few opportunities with large projected ROIs.  However, as the EB-5 landscape has become more competitive, RCs, projects, and companies have had to offer higher returns to differentiate their offerings.

BWD

 

The investor approval process…

 

The EB-5 Immigrant Investment Visa Program investor approval process can be broken down into 4 segments: 1) Investor Preparation, 2) I-526 Petition, and 3) The U.S. Consulate Interview—which have been discussed on independent pages and posts; and 4) U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) Investor Processing, which we shall cover in this post.

The USCIS Process

RECEipt Acknowledgement

Once any petition is submitted to USCIS, the agency typically reviews the content of the filing and then sends the applicant—or his/her representative attorney–the agency’s initial response—a receipt acknowledgement—within one or two weeks of receiving the documents.  If USCIS determines that the petition is somehow incomplete—or if the processing fee is missing or incorrect—they will return the petition materials to the applicant with a description of the discrepancy and a request that it be corrected.  If the petition and its supporting documents appear to be in-order, the initial response will be an acknowledgement of such and state that the petition has been assigned for adjudication.  To make the petition receipt process as seamless as possible, care should be taken to prepare the petition and all of its evidentiary documents in as orderly and navigable format as possible.  A detailed cover letter should be included that acts as an executive summary and table of contents to the complete petition—which should be impeccably organized.  Valuable time can be wasted if USCIS returns a petition that was actually complete but disorganized and difficult to navigate.

REQUEsts For Evidence

The next correspondence that the investor will receive will be one of 3 types: an approval, a denial, or (most frequently) a Request for Evidence (RFE). RFE’s are the vehicle by which USCIS requests additional information that was not included in the petition, or for clarification of some item within the petition.

Adjudication of a visa petition can take anywhere from 2-weeks (very rarely) to more than a year. The biggest determinant of the approval timeline is the content of the petition and the evidence relative to the petitioner and his/her family. However a nearly equally important factor is the speed and accuracy of the petitioner’s response to any Request for Evidence (RFE) received from USCIS. Each RFE provides the petitioner with up to 45 days to respond, however if that much time is consumed with each RFE, this can dramatically lengthen the overall adjudication process. Therefore it is in the best interests of the investor and the investment project for RFEs to be responded to as quickly and accurately as possible. Once all RFEs have been responded to, USCIS will issue its final approval or denial.

Denial and Appeals

Under certain circumstances, a denial is the end of the immigrant investment road for a particular investor/family. If for example it is determined that fraudulent materials were submitted, or that a petitioner engaged in activities that were subversive to the U.S. government—then a denial should be viewed as final and irrevocable. Occasionally however, a petitioner will be denied for failing to respond to an RFE on time or because USCIS misinterpreted some material in the petition documents, or because they determined that the investor did not have sufficient financial capacity to live in the United States after making the investment. In these cases, and after the discrepancy has been corrected, investors should re-prepare their I-526 petitions and re-submit them to USCIS as a new application. While there is an appeals process within USCIS, its Administrative Appeals Office has a dismal record of overturning adjudicators’ decisions (to the tune of 0% as of this writing).  Investors and others with substantial financial resources have actually had better luck getting USCIS decisions overturned though filing suits in U.S. Federal Court. To save considerable money—and even more time—it is better to simply improve the application and reapply.

Approval!

I-526 petition is a great milestone—not only for the investor but for the investment project.  While it is no time for a victory dance—because so much is left to do to satisfy EB-5 requirements—it is certainly an important first step.  Upon approval, USCIS will notify the petitioner with an official I-797 Approval Notice. Attorney/representatives will also be notified.  Simultaneously, USCIS will notify the U.S. State Department so that a consular interview can also be scheduled.

BWD

 

Inversión Consultant Services confirms visit to México in July…

 

Inversión Consultant Services (ICS) has confirmed an upcoming visit to México City on July 23rd and 24th, 2012.  ICS staff will offer education pertaining to U.S. investment visa programs.  Additionally, investors who have immigrated to the U.S. through these programs will be available to answer questions about that process.  ICS will present companies and U.S. investment opportunities that are eligible to receive immigrant investments.

Interested investors should contact ICS at info@icsinusa.com to schedule a meeting during ICS’ visit.

 


Lower cost of living…

Many goods—including automobiles, clothing, electronics, tools and appliances—cost less in the U.S. than in other countries.

Let’s look at our nearest neighbor, México, as an example.  It is an often repeated myth—on both sides of the border—that everything costs less in México than it does in the United States.  Automobiles (both new and used), clothing, prime real-estate, power tools and machinery, electronics, and many other elements of existence—particularly for wealthy residents or businesses—are significantly less-expensive in the United States.

While some basic items of subsistence such as food and medicine remain less expensive in parts of México, the sheer variety and availability of these items throughout the U.S. tends to compensate for their slightly higher cost.

In other cases, easier access to high-quality products or services in the U.S.(such as education for residents, technology products, cellular and internet service, etc.) provide a higher value to residents there than similarly priced products and services in México.

These pricing scenarios play out similarly in comparisons between the U.S. and many other countries.

BWD

 


Secure Communities…

 

Crime exists everywhere and the United States is no exception.  U.S. crime rates tend to fluctuate with its economy, and while violent criminals do target the wealthy in the U.S., the incidence of such crime is still extremely rare.  Such violence is most frequent in crowded urban areas and tends to remain isolated to those areas.  Importantly however, many, many communities throughout the U.S. enjoy a virtual absence of violent crime.  Corruption and criminal complicity among police officers and politicians is also rare—particularly outside of the largest cities.  Even in the largest urban areas in the U.S., peace officers and their leadership generally honor their promise to protect and to serve.

In most, smaller cities, and suburban and rural areas, families live tranquil and worry-free lives.  Neighbors watch out for each other.  Children play and move about safely.  People conduct business, shop, and entertain themselves without concern over a violent attack on themselves or their children.

The perfect scenario would be for Inversión Consultant Services to be able to bring the kind of security to your home that we enjoy (and take for granted) in the U.S.—because the best situation will always be that everyone in the world feels safe and secure in their own homes and communities.  Absent that opportunity however, ICS is committed to affording qualified foreign citizens the chance to have a new and more-secure life in the United States.

BWD