The United States
The United States Eb-5 Investor Visa Program offers investors the opportunity to acquire green card status in the USA and ultimately the potential to apply for citizenship.
The USA remains as one of the favoured destinations amongst immigrants and has a complex immigration process. As the Eb-5 program requires physical stay in the US, it is advised that clients obtain the proper advice with respect to financial immigration and tax planning.
Congress first opened the doors to the program in 1990 and has since operated a very successful visa program with foreign nationals from across the world making use of its benefits. Under the program, investors and their immediate family can become permanent residents of the US.
For families looking to live the American dream, the US Eb-5 Program offers an attractive solution for acquiring green card status and permanent residence. The Eb-5 program is operated by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
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Program allows relatively straight forward route to green card status and permanent residence in the US.
US passport ones of the best in the world.
Dual citizenship allowed
Spouse and unmarried children included in application.
Children eligible to study at US universities at same rates as US nationals.
Process and requirements
Foreign investors and their family members may live, work or start a business anywhere in the U.S through the Eb-5 Program. Minor children can obtain employment, however, this is subject to age, state and Government laws and regulations.
There are two investment options:
1. Creation of a new enterprise
The applicant must invest a minimum of US$1,000,000 in a new commercial enterprise. If the enterprise is in a targeted commercial employment area (TEA), then the minimum can be US$500,000. This can include certain rural areas and zones where unemployment is low.
The applicant must employ at least 10 qualified US workers and they must be direct employees of the enterprise. The applicant is also required to actively manage the policy formation / day to day activities of the enterprise.
2. Investing in a Regional Center
Regional Centers are designated projects and these investment opportunities have been pre-approved by the USCIS. The investment requirement is US$500,000 and must create employment for at least 10 employees.
Note: The Eb-5 investment funds must be at risk and the return cannot be guaranteed.
Part of the requirement is that the investment funds must be at risk and the return cannot be guaranteed.
The Eb-5 investment must result in the creation or preservation of ten (10) full-time (at least 35 hours per week) jobs for U.S. workers, over a two-year period.
You can apply for naturalisation if you are a non-conditional green card holder for at least 5 years, and if you meet the following specified requirements:
• Be over the age of 18 years old.
• The applicant will undergo strict due diligence and must not have a criminal record.
• Must have lived in the USCIS district or state, with jurisdiction over your place of residence, for at least 3 months prior to your application.
• Have continuous residence (As a US Green Card holder) for at least 5 years preceding the application.
• Be physically present in the US for at least 50% of the time (i.e. 30 months out of the five years (60 months) immediately preceding the application.
• Residence continuously within the US – from the date of application for naturalisation, up until the time of naturalisation.
• Be able to read, write and speak English. As well as have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and government.
• Be a person of good moral standing and character.
• Keep up with the principles of the Constitution of the US.
The legal framework of the economic citizenship program allows for the investor and his family to obtain citizenship provided they follow the specified requirements.
It is possible to acquire US citizenship (and a passport), after five years of legal residence. This is calculated from the date of receipt of the Conditional Green Card.
In the US, there are the following ways in which to acquire US citizenship:
- By birth in the United States / or US territories (Jus soli)
- By birth outside the US to US parents
- By naturalization
TRAVEL AND BENEFITS
An American passport offers visa free travel to over 174 countries. It also offers the benefit and access to university in the US.
The investor and his immediate family qualify to be granted US permanent residence. This includes their spouse, unmarried children under the age of 21.
While the US Eb-5 Program offers access to one of the most powerful countries in the world, there are some downfalls regarding the tax regime.
For wealthy investors and their families, residence / green card status can trigger taxes that might be unfeasible or attractive and it is important for applicants to be aware of this.
We highly encourage clients to meet with a professional tax consultant.
Process and Steps
The process comprises of a two-step visa application process and will begin with the applicant completing the required forms with USCIS for conditional permanent residence. Subsequently, USCIS will respond with either approval or denial. Proof of source of funds and wealth is required.
Approval from USCIS indicates that the project’s business plan has been accepted. Subsequent to this an interview will follow and if successful the US Department of State Issues will issue a temporary green card also known as a conditional visa, which equates to conditional permanent residence for two years.
Following this, if approved, unconditional permanent resident status is granted and an unconditional green card is issued. The
conditional visa period counts towards the required 5 years’ residency for citizenship.
USA Citizenship Program | USA Eb-5 Program | USA Green Card | USA EB5 program | Citizenship by investment USA