EB-5 Q&A: What requirements are there for accounts which hold EB-5 investor funds?


There is no Immigration EB-5 requirement concerning banks.  However, many EB-5 programs establish an escrow account in a bank, or other entity, to hold the investor’s money while certain steps in the I-526 petition process are conducted.  The terms of the agreement are those mutually agreed to by the escrow agent and either the regional center or the individual direct investor.  Upon the occurrence of the event specified in the escrow agreement the escrow agent dispenses the money pursuant to the terms of the escrow agreement.  For example, an escrow agent may be directed, by the agreement, to dispense the funds to the regional center/project upon approval by the USCIS of the investor’s I-526 petition.   Such agreements may likely direct the escrow agent to return all, or some portion, of the investment to the investor if there is a final USCIS denial of the EB-5 investor’s I-526 petition.   Other escrow agreements may direct the escrow agent to dispense funds to the regional center before all I-526 petitions are approved.    If a project contemplates twenty I-526 petitions and the escrow agent were directed to dispense funds when 60% of those petitions were approved, 40% of the investors would incur the risk that his or her I-526 petition could be denied, but the investment may be successful.   A final USCIS denial means the investor would not be granted conditional U.S. permanent resident status and a return on the investment would constitute the primary benefit from the investment.