How To Choose The Right EB-5 Attorney

WRITTEN BY

EB-5 Insider Team

A group of professionals with years of experience helping people immigrate to the US

Note: This article is for informational purposes only. We are not providing legal advice or selling securities. The articles and content on this site are of a general informational nature only and should not be relied upon for individual circumstances.

The EB-5 Visa Program offers a way for foreign investors to obtain a green card and permanent residency in the United States. However, the process of obtaining an EB-5 visa can be complex and time-consuming. Working with an experienced EB-5 immigration attorney can greatly increase the chances of a successful application and make the process much smoother.

EB-5 immigration attorneys are experts in the EB-5 process and can help investors navigate the various requirements and deadlines. They can also guide the best investment opportunities and ensure all necessary documents and information are correctly submitted.

Whether you are looking for a Direct EB-5 Investment or going through the Regional Center, an EB-5 attorney is key to making the process go smoothly and understanding all of the risks along the way.

In addition to guiding investors through the EB-5 process, EB-5 immigration attorneys can also help investors understand the risks associated with the program. This includes the risk of losing the investment if the project is not successful and the risk of the EB-5 program being terminated by the government. Working with an attorney can help investors make an informed decision and minimize these risks.

Not all attorneys are experienced in EB-5 law. It is important to work with an attorney who has a proven track record in this area and can provide references from satisfied clients.

Do you even need an attorney?

While it is not necessary to hire an immigration attorney to assist with your EB-5 petition, most investors do.

Technically speaking, you do not need to hire an immigration attorney at all. Some investors even choose to handle their cases on their own.

So why do most investors hire an attorney? Is it worth it?

For the same reason, you would hire someone to cut your lawn or fix your car, or even for the same reason, you have insurance or hire an attorney for anything. If it was as easy as changing a lightbulb, you would see many investors doing it on their own.

The reality is, that it is a lot of work, it’s a niche field of work, and it is a rapidly changing focus of law as well.

The program is very different from what it was one year ago, two years ago, 5 years ago, or even 10 years ago.

A few examples of this: the program was reauthorized under the Reform and Integrity Act and introduced a handful of changes to the program including new project types with different benefits like priority processing and visa set-asides. It also included a huge key benefit for those already in the US: concurrent filing, a benefit that was available for every other visa category except for EB-5. This allows you to file for work and travel authorization and received many of the benefits of an EB-5, all while your case is still being adjudicated.

Direct EB-5 – A seasoned attorney is key

For a Direct EB-5 investment, an immigration attorney will examine your business and structure all of the documentation from an immigration perspective to ensure you meet the requirements at the end of the process. A lot of work goes into this, and so the fees, while ranging depending on the scope and work involved, are higher than for a Regional Center project.

Regional Center Investment – Attorney who understands the process

Even in a Regional Center (RC) investment, an attorney with extensive experience in EB-5 is crucial to the process, and one who can assist you with a Request for Evidence (RFE), and ensure your source of funds (SOF) is done correctly.

Choosing an Attorney

  1. Experience: Look for an attorney with extensive experience, specifically in EB-5 visa applications, and a strong track record of successful cases.
  2. Credentials & Qualifications: Ensure they are licensed to practice immigration law and what organizations they are a member of, such as the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) or Invest in the USA (IIUSA).
  3. Reputation: How active are they in the space, and what do their reviews or testimonials say about them and their work?
  4. Consultation: Schedule an initial consultation with them to ask them initial questions. Many offer free consultations.
  5. Communication: Ensure they are good at communicating, not only while trying to get your business but also asking others how they are during the process after filing your initial petition. You will work with them for years, so communication and accessibility are crucial.
  6. Transparency: They should be transparent about their fees, what is included (which most items should be, including RFEs), the process, what they need for SOF, and the likelihood of your case being approved/rejected before you file your petition.
  7. Support team: Inquire about what their office looks like and the number of staff they have. A well-supported attorney will be more accessible and efficient. Furthermore, if the funds from your investment are coming from another country, ensure they have someone who can handle these efficiently. If there’s a language requirement, make sure they can support you through it or have someone you can communicate with on their team.
  8. Updates: Make sure they will provide you with regular updates on your case and will be (reasonably) easily available should you have any questions or concerns during the process.
  9. Fees & Value: While it is important that you understand their fee structure and that it is open, it is also important to understand the value they will be providing to you. It is a lot of work and the quality part is crucial. The last thing you want is to put your entire family’s immigration at risk over a few thousand dollars. Therefore, assess their work’s quality and value when weighing their fees versus another law firm. The more experience they have and the larger their team is in terms of headcount and capabilities, the more likely they will be slightly higher.
  10. References: Ask them for references from past or current investors whom you can talk to and learn more about their success and approach.
  11. Success Rate: How many cases have they filed, and what is their success rate?
  12. Project Vetting: Make sure they can properly asses the immigration risk of various projects. Remember, they are not here to help you understand what project is a good investment but what projects will most likely be approved for immigration.
  13. Disciplinary Records: Check their state bar and see if any complaints or disciplinary actions have been filed against them
  14. Ethics: Ensure they are ethical in their approach. If they guarantee any outcomes, run the other way. The language here has degrees of certainty and never absolutes.
  15. Personal Compatibility: We’ve said this before: You will be working with this person for many years, so make sure you like them, feel comfortable and confident in their ability, and trust in them and their work.

Summary & Takeaways

Overall, working with an EB-5 immigration attorney can greatly increase the chances of a successful EB-5 investment and make the process much smoother. It is an important consideration for any foreign investor seeking a green card through the EB-5 program. Choosing the right immigration attorney will help you by relieving the stress

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