To gain permanent residency in the United States under the EB-5 immigrant investor category, you must first submit Form I-526 and have it approved by the USCIS. Whether you are establishing a new commercial enterprise, purchasing an existing business, or investing in a regional center, a well-crafted business plan will greatly increase your odds of success.

In some ways, the EB-5 business plan is similar to an L-1 employer business plan. Nevertheless, since the EB-5 business plan is more focused on certain aspects of the investment and its economic consequences, if you are seeking to “graduate” from L-1 status to EB-5 status, it is not a good idea to simply submit a copy of (or imitate) the business plan that was submitted by your employer to qualify you for L-1 status.

Following is a very abbreviated guide to preparing an EB-5 business plan.

Basic Outline

Following is a general description of some of the basic requirements for an EB-5 business plan. Some of these requirements can be relaxed if you are investing through a regional center.

Description of the Business

The USCIS requires your business plan to include a description of your business and its products, as well as a statement of objectives. You should emphasize that all of your company’s investment capital will be placed at risk., and you should state that your company has a plan for meeting the USCIS job creation requirement.

Company Strategy

Outline your company’s long-term advertising, marketing, and financial strategies in sufficient detail to render them persuasive to the USCIS. Even though there is nothing illegal about shutting your company down the day you receive your unconditional green card, creating plans beyond this date can only help your application, since the success of your company will create jobs in the long run.

Description of Your Own Experience

The USCIS will want to know how likely it is that your company will succeed in a competitive marketplace. As such, any relevant experience that you possess will improve your chances if you describe it in your business plan. Go into some detail, especially if you have managed a business before.

Proof That All of Your Invested Capital Will be At Risk

A statement that your capital will be placed at risk is not enough. If you have already committed your capital, provide documentation such as nonredeemable shares in the company. If not, you will need to convince the USCIS that these assets will be committed as soon as your I-526 is approved. There can be no “back door” escape for your capital — it must be unconditionally committed once your I-526 is approved.

Proof That Your Investment is Likely to Meet the Job Creation Requirement

If you are starting your own company or buying an existing company (rather than investing in a regional center), you will need to provide a detailed plan for how your company will meet the job creation requirement and why these employees are needed. Your plan may need to include a detailed hiring schedule. If you are investing in a regional center, the center can help you with this part.

Market Analysis

You will need to show the USCIS that you have thoroughly investigated the market for your company’s products, that you understand its market position, and that you have researched your competitors. You will need to provide budgetary information — necessary expenses such as raw materials, licenses, etc. You will also need to prove that your company should be able to afford its necessary expenses.

Legal Documents

If your company will need permits, licenses and other legal necessities to operate, you will need to secure these before you submit Form I-526, and you will need to submit them together with your business plan.

Talk to Your Immigration Attorney

The foregoing description is far from complete; consult with your immigration attorney for a more thorough treatment of the applicable requirements. In particular, your business plan will need to comply with the requirements stipulated in the case precedent Matter of Ho.

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