The EB-5 Regional Center Program allows groups of foreign national investors to invest personal funds into
a U.S. corporation, which in turn will transfer these funds as equity or as a loan to projects that will create
a required amount of jobs. As a result, the foreign national investor will receive conditional permanent
residency (a conditional green card).
This article specifically addresses the practice of representing
foreign national investors in the filing of the I-526 petitions for
EB-5 Regional Center projects. The most important aspect of
this article addresses the practitioner’s dealings with the brokers,
or intermediaries, who source the investors for a particular EB-5
Regional Center project.
The first step will involve the preparation and filing of the
I-526 petition. The second step is the preparation and filing
of each individual family member’s applications for conditional
permanent residency with the U.S. Consulate or USCIS. The
third step involves the preparation and filing of petitions to
remove the conditions to permanent residency.
First Dealings with Foreign Brokers
Most EB-5 Regional Center projects receive the foreign national investor’s funds through foreign brokers. Currently, the
majority of foreign brokers are in China, as the Chinese make
up most of the foreign investors for the EB-5 Regional Center
In most instances, the foreign broker, according to the agreement with the law firm, will pay the attorney’s fees and costs
for the foreign national investors. Usually, they will pay for
the first two steps. The reason for paying for these steps is that
the law firm will prepare not only the I-526 petition but also
concurrently prepare for the conditional permanent residency
application process under the second step.
There are many circumstances which may exist that have
brought the law firm in contact with the foreign broker. For
instance, law firms and attorneys attend seminars in China as
well as the United States. Alternatively, the law firm’s representation of EB-5 Regional Centers has led to introductions to
The foreign brokers, according to the agreement with the law
firm, state they are the agents for the foreign national investors,
and they have been given authorization by the foreign national
investor clients to correspond and review all confidential information and documentation between the law firm and the
foreign national investor.
Agreements between EB-5 Regional Center
Projects and Brokers
An agreement may be reached between the EB-5 Regional
Center and a broker to source foreign national investors for
their EB-5 project. In certain circumstances, the EB-5 Regional
Center project will enter into an exclusive agreement with the
foreign broker to source all of the foreign national investors that
are needed for the entire EB-5 project.
The Agreement between the Foreign National
Investor and the Law Firm
The law firm will also enter into an agreement with the
foreign national investors who have been sourced by the foreign
In other circumstances, the EB-5 Regional Center project
will enter into an agreement with a foreign broker to source
only some of the required foreign national investors to finance
The agreement between the EB-5 Regional Center project
and the foreign broker will usually state the terms related to
finder’s fees and further financial and time obligations.
The Specifics of Agreements between a Law Firm,
Brokers and Investors
The foreign broker will also enter into an agreement with the
law firm regarding the sourcing of foreign national investors to
the law firm. Under these circumstances, the law firm will be
representing the foreign national investors in the preparation
and filing of the I-526 petitions, and one-hundred percent of
their obligations will be to the foreign national investors.
The foreign brokers, in an agreement with the law firm, will
set out terms stating that each of the foreign national investors will pay a certain U.S. dollar amount for the three steps of
representation and costs.
This agreement may appear in one of two different formats.
In one format, the amount of attorney’s fees and costs is specifically stated in the agreement. In the other format, the attorney’s
fees are not stated, but there is reference to the fact that the law
firm will be representing the foreign national investor in regard
to the preparations of the three steps, and the attorney’s fees will
be paid by a third party (the foreign broker).
Each EB-5 practitioner will have to use due diligence in
acquiring, from their state bar association, the rules, regulations
or codes in respect to the authorization and parameters for the
third party paying the attorney’s fees and costs for the foreign
Refund of Attorney’s Fees
In most cases, according to the agreement between the law
firm and the foreign national investor, the law firm will not
refund attorney’s fees if there is a denial of the I-526 or the application for conditional permanent residency. The law firm will
have spent a substantial amount of time, advice and expertise in
the preparation and filing of the petitions and applications with
USCIS or the U.S. Consulate.
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w w w. E B 5 I n v e s to r s . c o m