The United States continues to be the top destination for international migrants and investors. According to a 2017 United Nations report, around 49.8 million international migrants resided in the United States, which accounts to 19% of the global total. And it’s not entirely surprising considering that the US remains the top country in the world in terms of economy and living conditions.
However, to migrate legally in the USA, one must go through a complex immigration system. There are different immigration routes through which prospective migrants can apply. Each individual situation is assessed thoroughly to establish which immigration classification offers the best chances to obtaining legal residency.
What is EB-5 Investor Visa?
Foreign investor program in the USA, also called EB-5 program, offers interesting immigration possibilities for investors who wish to migrate to the US. Applicants who meet the program requirements may be granted permanent resident status or “Green card” within 22 to 26 months –definitely shorter than most other visa programs that often take years.
First introduced in 1990 to stimulate economic activity in the countryside, the EB-5 program gained attention in the wake of the recession when companies found a hard time securing loans from financial institutions. Based on this table compiled by Statista.com, Fiscal Year 2012 saw a marked increase (45 percent or 7,640 visas) in the number of EB-5 visa recipients. Since then, the popularity of EB-5 as immigration route has soared. From 2013 to 2017, the number of annual allotment of 10,000 visas had been claimed well before the end of fiscal year. Last year, 10,090 visas were issued.
What are the benefits of EB-5 Investor Visa?
Foreign investor programs in the USA are particularly attractive to foreign nationals because of a number of benefits. If approved, visa recipients and their recipients will enjoy:
- Full benefits enjoyed by other US residents
- Legal residency in the US (no re-application or renewals)
- Unlimited access to the US (business and personal)
- Freedom to work in the US and own/run business
- Legal resident status to qualified dependents
- Path to US citizenship within 5 years of residence
Are you qualified for this visa program?
Basically, foreign investor programs in the USA are intended for migrants who are capable of placing a substantial amount into a U.S. business. This can be done either by Direct Investment or through Regional Center Investment.
- In Direct Investment, a foreign national must establish a new business, or purchase/reorganize an existing one and invest a minimum of $1,000,000 into the business. In case the commercial venture would be located in an area with unemployment rate 150% higher than the national unemployment rate, the minimum investment amount is $500,000.
- In Regional Center Investment, a foreign national must invest in economic areas specified by the USCIS as in need of economic stimulus. The minimum investment amount is $500,000.
In either investment routes, the investor must employ at least 10 people as part of the visa requirement. During the first two years, the investor is granted conditional residency. After this period, the USCIS will evaluate the company and determine if the investor has invested the full amount of capital and if the investment has generated the required number of jobs.
What business can I invest in?
Investors who wish to migrate to the US can invest in any type of for-profit businesses, such as franchises, restaurants, hotels, medical facilities, and real estate. For instance, in the real estate sector, developers are eager to tap investments from foreign nationals as a cheaper way to raise capital; a specific example would be EB-5 Real Estate investment options from BlueBrealEstate.com. A good number of EB-5 visa recipients have invested in real estate as it is considered a good financing vehicle with steady returns. However, there are many other business sectors, such as healthcare and wellness, information technology, food, and hospitality where investors can put their money.
The American economy has been doing great over the recent years and investing in it is definitely worthwhile. To know how this path to immigration works, you can check out the USCIS website for more details.