A visa for permanent residency in the United States can be obtained by foreign investors. But only under certain conditions, writes Heather Landau
In 1990 the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) administered the Immigrant Investor programme, commonly referred to as the EB5 Investment Visa. Created by Congress, the programme was designed to stimulate economic growth and create job opportunities in designated areas of the United States.
The programme sets aside 10,000 Green Cards ever year and provides foreign nationals who are looking to live in the USA with a direct route to permanent residency.
To obtain the visa individuals must invest at least $500,000 into a targeted employment area or TEA. Targeted employment areas fall into two main categories:
High Unemployment Areas. A high unemployment area can be defined by unemployment of at least 150% of the national average.
Rural Areas. Rural areas are defined as outside a metropolitan statistical area or on the outskirts of a city/town that has a population of over 20,000.
Additional requirements for obtaining the EB-5 visa include the creation of at least ten full-time jobs for qualifying US workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of your conditional permanent resident status.
Initially the EB-5 programme required direct investment through the creation of a brand new commercial enterprise or business. Changes to the EB-5 programme in 1993 have provided an alternative consideration that’s particularly suited for individuals where immigration and permanent residency is the primary goal. Financiers or developers can invest into a regional centre that is set up to help manage your investment and promote economic growth within the local community.
One of the main advantages of the regional centres is that they are held to more lenient job creation requirements than the direct investment programme, having the ability to count indirect jobs towards the EB-5 requirements.
Investing in an EB-5 has proved to be an attractive route for many who ultimately want to retire in the US as there are no requirements to participate in the day-to-day running of the business. The EB-5 applicant can become a limited partner, leaving the active management to the general partner.
Regional centres may however charge an administration fee to manage your investment that typically ranges from $50,000 to $65,000.
During the application process you will have to demonstrate how you intend to promote economic growth, how jobs will be created and the amount and source of your capital investment.
Benefits Of The EB-5 Visa
· Direct route to obtain a green card for the applicant, spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21
· Full US citizen after residing in the US for five years
· Freedom to live anywhere in the United States
· The ability to manage other business interests or to seek employment in the US
· College fees are the same as for US citizens.
If you’re looking to expand your business throughout the United States, or have aspirations of obtaining permanent residency in the US, the EB-5 visa may be a great option for you, your family and your business.
· See the related article Moving To The US? – Learn About Green Cards and Visas