美国移民局USCIS变更贷款做资金来源的审案政策

正像前天的文章提到的一样,今年USCIS(移民局)举办了2次利益相关者会议,会议中谈论的一些问题答复,惹起不少新的争议或者困惑,前天我们谈过了项目发行费是否需要提供资金来源证明的问题,今天来看下一个新的争议热点。

eb5移民

就贷款作为资金来源的政策,在4月22日的USCIS利益相关者会议上,USCIS又抛出了新的观点,今天EB5Sir找来的是GT律所的Jennifer Hermansky律师就此撰写的文章,由业内朋友Dora义务翻译,特此感谢。

美国移民局更改以贷款资金作为投资资金来源的政策

在过去的两个USCIS(移民局)举办的EB-5的利益相关者会议中,EB-5利益相关者,包括Greenberg Traurig律师事务所,质疑USCIS允许投资者以贷款做为投资款合法来源的政策。多年来,USCIS同意,投资者用亲戚的房产抵押获得的贷款做为投资款,只要亲戚将不动产使用权赠与投资者,作为贷款抵押就可以。

然而,USCIS最近在对I-526申请的审批过程中改变了政策,许多利益相关者反映:投资者的I-526申请正在被拒绝,如果他使用并不完全属于自己的不动产进行抵押贷款。

在2015年4月22日的利益相关者电话会议后,USCIS发布了EB-5投资移民项目办公室(IPO)副主任对这个问题发言的书面总结。

现在,USCIS称使用贷款作为投资者投资款必须满足如下条件:

(1)投资者个人对此债务负有首要责任

(2)投资者实际拥有的抵押品的价值必须满足或超过贷款的价值。

在实践中,很多利益相关者反映,正在收到补件要求回函(RFEs)、拒绝意向通知书(NOIDs)和申请被拒信,这些文件指出,投资者个人没有完全拥有整个财产,不能作为贷款的抵押品。换句话说,USCIS似乎表明,投资者如果要使用贷款作为资金来源的话,贷款必须是由投资者的财产抵押的,投资者必须完全拥有财产,即不能与第三方如父母、兄弟姐妹、孩子共同拥有此财产。USCIS似乎还在继续批准投资者与其配偶共同拥有房地产的情况。

不幸的是,这种政策的变化,不仅改变了超过十年的允许以其他个人的资产作为担保的贷款的判决,而且,它也不符合法律、法规、或者所有允许使用类似场景的移民先例判决。

移民法案(The Immigration and Nationality Act),并没有要求投资到企业的现金必须是由投资资产进行担保的。在上面描述的场景中,投资者投资的是现金,因为投资者和新商业企业之间并没有债务安排。联邦法规只要求投资到新商业企业的本票需要用投资者的资产进行担保。

就需要遵循的判决先例而言,尤其是Matter of Izummi,同样不要求投资者用其资产来担保,投入到新商业企业的现金,同时,将“负债”定义为“付款承诺”,例如投资者和新商业企业之间的本票。

此外,EB-5政策备忘录(EB5Sir注:指2013/5/30的EB-5审案政策备忘录)只要求本票由投资者的资产进行担保。只要,投资者能证明是用合法资产进行担保获得贷款,无论是来自于投资者自己的资产或来自于赠与,投资者都只需要证明资金是依法获的就可以了。

然而,USCIS并不同意这样的解释。所以,从实际操作层面,当前递交I-526申请时最好不要采用,不完全属于投资者的资产进行担保的贷款做为投资资金来源,直到,这个问题在政策层面,或通过与USCIS的诉讼得以解决。

此外,USCIS警告说,用做投资资金来源的贷款协议通常包含一项条款,以申明:贷款不能用于投资或购买证券。IPO(投资移民办公室)副主任表示,包含限制使用范围条款的贷款协议将会被纳入考虑,在确定投资者(申请者)是否已经,通过优势证据(EB5Sir注:EB-5合法资金来源的证明规则),证明资金的合法来源。

副主任进一步表示,申请者从合法来源获取的贷款(比如知名的银行),可能被认为是合法来源,否则,投资款从非法渠道得到的则被认定为非法(贷款申请欺诈)。因此,如果贷款包含任何资金使用的限制条款,那么投资者最好与银行提前协商去除这些可能限制贷款资金用途的限制。此外,当贷款发放给投资者时,投资者最好要收到贷款银行的信函,来确认银行知道投资者会将贷款用于EB-5用途。

要应对这一政策变化,最重要的是,仔审查投资者的资金来源文件策略。如果一个投资者选择采用贷款做为EB-5投资的资金来源,重要的是要仔细检查抵押品及其所有权。同样重要的是,要有银行的许可,同意使用贷款作为EB-5投资的资金来源。

原文作者:GT律所Jennifer Hermansky律师,原文网站:www.eb5insights.com。

USCIS Changes Policy on the Use of Loan Proceeds as a Source of Funds
By Jennifer Hermansky on May 12th, 2015 Posted in EB-5 Investment, USCIS, USCIS Public Engagement

During the past two USCIS Stakeholder’s Meetings on EB-5 issues, EB-5 stakeholders, including Greenberg Traurig, have questioned USCIS on its policy of allowing loans to be a source of an investor’s lawful capital. For many years, USCIS has allowed investors to secure a loan by a relative’s property, so long as that relative gifted the use of the real property as collateral for the loan.

USCIS, however, has recently changed its policy through the course of adjudicating I-526 Petitions and many stakeholders have reported that I-526 Petitions are being denied when the investor does not wholly own the real property used to collateralize a loan. Following its April 22, 2015, stakeholders call, USCIS issued a written summary of the Immigrant Investor Program Office’s (IPO) Deputy Chief’s remarks on the issue. USCIS now is stating that proceeds from a loan may qualify as capital of the investor provided that: (1) the investor is personally and primarily liable for the loan and (2) the value of the collateralized asset actually owned by the investor must meet or exceed the value of the loan. In practice, many stakeholders are reporting Requests for Evidence (RFEs), Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs) and denials of petitions stating that where the investor does not personally own the entire property, it cannot be used as the collateral for a loan. In other words, USCIS seems to be stating that the investor may only use loan proceeds as a source of funds if the loan is collateralized by the investor’s property and the investor solely owns the property, i.e. not jointly with a third party such as a parent, sibling or child. USCIS seems to be continuing to approve cases where investor owns the property with his or her spouse.

Unfortunately, not only does this shift in policy change more than a decade of adjudications allowing for these loans to be secured by assets of other individuals, but it also does not square with the statute, the regulations, or immigration precedent decisions, all of which allow such a scenario. The Immigration and Nationality Act does not require cash invested in an enterprise to be secured by assets of an investor. In the fact scenario described above, the investor is investing cash, as there is no debt arrangement between the investor and the new commercial enterprise. The Code of Federal Regulations only requires promissory notes contributed as “capital” to the new commercial enterprise to be secured by the assets of the investor. Binding case precedent, particularly Matter of Izummi, also does not require cash invested to be secured by assets of an investor and define “indebtedness” as a “promise to pay,” i.e. a promissory note between the investor and the new commercial enterprise. Additionally, the EB-5 Policy Memorandum only requires promissory notes to be secured by assets of the investor. So long as the investor has demonstrated a lawful loan secured by assets that were lawfully obtained, either by the investor himself or from a giftor, investor should have satisfied the burden of proof that the funds were lawfully obtained capital.

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