EB5 Investors Magazine Volume 7, Issue 1 - Page 36

EB5 INVESTORS M AGAZINE 34 C hinese I nvestor A voids EB-5 V isa R etrogression U sing C ross -C hargeability In less than two years, EB-5 investors Michael Guo and his Malaysian wife got conditional green cards. He is happy that his meticulous due-diligence process paid off, giving his family greater educational and career opportunities in America. By Fang Tian, EB5 Investors Magazine Staff M ichael Guo, a Chinese native who applied for EB-5 a f ter t he v i sa ret rog ression started, is one of few mainland China- born investors who managed to go through the EB-5 process without any delays. Because he is married to a Malaysian, Guo was able to bypass the Chinese EB-5 visa back log and receive his green card 22 months after submitting his application. However, career prospects for a foreigner in the U.S. didn’t look as promising as Guo expected. In order to stay and work in the U.S. after graduation, he had to find a company that could not only offer him a job, but was willing to sponsor him for a work visa. Th a n k s t o h i s w i fe, Ga o c ou ld appl y for E B-5 usi ng cross-chargeabi l it y, a feature i n t he U.S. immigration system that allows a petitioner to use a spouse’s country of birth that has visa number availability. Unlike China, Malaysia has no EB-5 back log. Guo was able to dodge the waiting-line bullet of visa retrogression. “My pa rent s lea r ned about EB-5 t hroug h t hei r friends who immigrated to the U.S. that way,” Guo said. “Although we were not sure how many years we had to wait, we knew we had to do it.” The couple met in graduate school in the United States, fell in love and got married. “Everything happened naturally,” said Gao. THE START OF THE EB-5 JOURNEY Guo’s EB-5 journey started before he met his soulmate. He was mentally prepared for the backlog when he started the EB-5 process but he didn’t let it deter him. “I knew there was going to be a wait,” he said, “but I still decided to give it a try.” Guo came to the U.S. in 2012 as an international student with a desire for a high-quality education. He was admitted to the University of California, Los Angeles, as a graduate student studying architecture. Although challenging, he found the classes very fulfilling. Guo and his parents felt t he urgenc y to pursue other options. L i k e e v e r y i n v e s t o r w h o s e t s a i l o n a n E B-5 adventure, Guo and his parents felt overwhelmed by the EB-5 process and the many choices along the way. “There are tons of projects out there,” he said. “It is hard to nail down the right one.” Fortunately, Guo’s parents had friends who had already completed the process successfully. Thanks to recommendations from acquaintances, they were able to narrow dow n their candidate pool to five real estate projects. That’s where Guo’s professional back g round ca me i nto play. A s a n arch itect ure major trained in both China and the U.S., Guo knew which projects stood a better chance of success. “You have to understand what the game plan is,” Guo sa id. “Some proje c t s a re hote l s. Some a re resident ia l bui ldi ngs. Some are i n frast r ucture. Every type has its own pros and cons.”