Step 5: Proof of Lawful Funds

Funds have to be shown to have been obtained through lawful means:

To show that the petitioner has invested or is in the process of investing funds that are obtained through lawful means, the petition must be accompanied by evidence of the legality of the funds.  Lawful sources include such things as profit or earnings from a business, the profits or proceeds from the sale of real estate,  or the profits or earnings from stock or other investments.  Inheritance, gifts, or loans are allowed as a source of funds under the law, however the legal sources of those funds must also be shown.  The following types of records may accompany the I-526 Petition:

  1. Foreign business registration records;
  2. Corporate, partnership, or any other entity in any form which has filed in any country or subdivision thereof, personal tax returns including income, franchise, or property (whether real, personal, or intangible), or any other tax returns of any kind filed within five years, with any taxing jurisdiction in or outside the United States by or on behalf of the petitioner;
  3. Evidence identifying any other sources of capital; or
  4. Certified copies of any judgments or evidence of all pending governmental civil or criminal actions, governmental administrative proceedings, and any private civil actions (pending or otherwise) involving monetary judgments in favor of or against the petitioner from any court in or outside the United States within the past fifteen years.

It is important to recognize that the most common reason for denial by USCIS of the I-526 Petition is the failure to “prove-up” the legality of the funds.  In this case, “more is better”.  The tendency of an immigrant investor is to provide a minimum of documentation of the legal source of funds; however, USCIS must be satisfied that the funds come from “clean” sources or the adjudicator simply will not approve the application.  The responsibility of this task lies fully upon the Immigrant Investor.  The regional center will undertake to determine the suitability of the investor, but it is the strict responsibility of the Immigrant Investor to prove to the satisfaction of USCIS that the funds are legally obtained.  If accountants and attorneys are needed to provide the paper trail of legality, the immigrant investor should not hesitate to hire the proper professionals to do the job.