American Investment Visa
The EB5 Investment Visa for US Green Cards (Permanent Residence) by immigrant investment into the most popular Government approved EB5 Regional Center
You and your immediate family can now obtain green cards and permanent US residency with an EB5 visa byinvesting $500,000 into a US Government designated Regional Center. It will give each of you the security of permanent US residency without repeated visa applications. Citizenship may be obtained after five years.
Green Card. The attraction of a green card via an EB-5 investment visa is that it can be secured before you commit to emigrating. You will also have the flexibility to take any job, run any business, retire and live anywhere in the USA. As a resident you will have access to many of the benefits enjoyed by US citizens such as education and, in certain states such as Florida, you will enjoy substantial savings in property tax.
Permanent Residence. For most, emigrating to the USA is about a better quality of life. Permanent residency avoids repeated visa applications and allows you the opportunity of dual citizenship. The EB-5 visa will secure you Permanent Residency.
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On this page: EB-5 in Brief What is a Regional Center? Which type of RC Investment? Program Summary Sources of Funds Job Creation, 3 Forms of EB-5 EB-5 History Costs Timescale Steps Before Investing. Also on our Useful Links page you can find information from and links directly to the USCIS website.
EB-5 Visa – in Brief – Permanent Residency for the Immigrant Investor
Drawbacks of other visas: Work visas tie you to a specific job, location and/or career. E-2 visas can be difficult to renew and force children over the age of 21 to leave the country. Student visas allow very limited or no work.
It’s fair to say that no-one wants to invest $500,000, plus approximately $50,000 in related costs, to secure a green card. The fact that so many do so is a strong indication of how hard it is to obtain Permanent Residency in the US.
Advantages of the EB-5 visa
- Permanent Residence for the whole family with one investment.
- Husband, wife and all unmarried children under 21 receive Green Cards.
- Live anywhere in USA.
- Take any job, run or start any business, even retire.
- Any nationality may apply.
- No language requirement.
- Same privileges as a US citizen:-
- Free public school education.
- Same University fees.
- Access to Medicare after 5 years.
- Wider job market for your children in the future.
- Property tax savings in some states like Florida.
- Citizenship after five years.
Requirements of the EB-5 visa
- Net worth of $1 million, or high annual income
- Minimum investment of $500,000
- Associated costs circa $50,000, including:-
- Specialist EB-5 attorney
- Medical check
- Filing fees to the USCIS
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificate
- Police Record check
- No previous US immigration violations
- Detailed documentation for source of funds
- Time to obtain Conditional Green Card, almost 12 months but getting in less time.
- Time to secure Permanent Green Card, 3.5 years
Advantages of American Life Regional Centers
- Choice between equity or loan-based investments in commercial property development
- Fixed income for loan-based investments
- Rental income on an equity investment, plus capital gain expected in the long term
- If you change your plans, you may exit your equity investment at anytime
- Dispose of your equity investment after 3.5 years under visa rules
Qualifications of Future Group associated Regional Centers
- Over 1000 EB-5 investors
- 15 years’ experience with the EB-5 program (since 1996)
- The most popular Regional Center
- A business model with zero debt
- Every EB-5 project has met job creation and all other USCIS requirements
- We have more investors with unconditional Permanent Residence (I-829) than any other RC
- No denials at conditions’ removal stage (I-829)
- The only Regional Center attracting US investors as well as pension fund investors
- Over 450 US investors, unique among Regional Centers
- Experience with investors from Britain, Australia, South Africa, India, Korea, Mexico, China, Iran, Brazil, Colombia, etc. etc.
What is a Regional Center?
A Regional Center is an area designated by the USCIS as eligible to receive immigrant investor capital. They are especially attractive because investors may rely on indirect job creation rather than directly hiring ten employees.
Some Regional Centers encourage the perception that, because they are Government designated, the investment has the Government’s stamp of approval. They do not. Please be aware that all Regional Centers are Government designated for purposes of immigration. This does not guarantee the quality of the investment. You should assess the investment on its own merits and seek professional investment advice.
The law states that a Regional Center investment must be ‘at risk’. That means it cannot be guaranteed. Apart from that, it does not have to be ‘risky’.
Which type of Regional Center investment?
There are three types of Regional Center investments. If you decide that the EB-5 is your visa of choice, the next key decision is to select a Regional Center which −
- protects your capital
- has a long record of success with visa applications
- doesn’t tie up your capital for any longer than necessary
- compensates for inflation with income and prospects for capital growth
1 Loan Based Investments
A few Regional Centers now offer ‘loan’ based schemes, where your funds are lent to another organisation for local infrastructure projects. A municipality or associated development agency usually becomes responsible for repaying your capital. Should the municipality or agency default or restructure its debt, it could be a long time before your capital is repaid.
2 Equity Investments – active trading businesses
Equity investments are asset based and can be either property or actively trading businesses. Active trading businesses are managed directly by the company operating the Regional Center. The active trading businesses are small and are not on any recognised stock exchange. They are vulnerable to market forces such as demand and competition, so their value and prospects are hard to assess. Sadly, a few such investments have failed. Funds can be lost entirely and, if some capital is recovered, it might take a considerable time.
3 Equity Investments – property
As any fund manager will testify, most investments carry risks, and that includes property. But a property without any debt − and zero debt is the key − carries almost no risk of loss. Compared to a trading activity or a loan, a property is a small piece of ‘planet earth’ that cannot be taken away. Buildings may be destroyed, but if insured, will be replaced. Values do decline in recessionary periods, but history has demonstrated that property prices soon rise again to surpass previous peaks. This has been the case in every recession throughout history. Location too affects risk. If you can choose an area where the property prices have historically grown or remained relatively stable, then risk is further reduced.
Future Group Associate − a property based Regional Center
Here are some reasons why it is the most popular EB-5 Regional Center manager −
- We are the longest established Regional Center management company, founded in 1996.
- Almost half our investors are US citizens who have no need of a visa and who invest on the same terms and share the same investments as immigrant investors. No other Regional Center attracts US citizens as investors.
- Our investments are freehold commercial properties with zero debt in a location of long term stability.
- We have the best record of income and capital growth of any Regional Center.
- We attract more immigrant investors than any other Regional Center.
- Income on cash is paid to investors, usually monthly.
- Rental income of approximately 5 per cent, net of management charge, is paid to investors monthly.
- Our projects have a 100 per cent success record with both EB-5 visa processing and ‘Conditions’ Removal, some two years after emigrating.
- We have a sales team sell your shares, once visa conditions have been removed, or at any other time.
- You may sell your shares and exit whenever you wish. If your circumstances change and you abandon your visa application, you are not contracted for any period. Most Regional Centers tie you in for five or six years.
A Green Card and Permanent Residency gives the holder, and his or her immediate family, the right to live, study and work anywhere in the US. There are many visa categories. Some allow you to apply for a green card after you have been in the USA for a specific period, but most do not. The EB-5 visa is unusual in that it provides you with a green card at the outset.
Work, study, or retire, the choice is yours
The current legislation enables EB-5 Regional Center investors to retire to the USA and provides families with immigration security, eliminating the worry of reapplying and the risk of changes to immigration rules, as with most other visa categories. It is the only visa which allows retirement to the US. It also provides the flexibility to live anywhere, study or take any job, own and operate any business, and to change employment or career without restrictions.
Equal visa status for every member of your family.
When you emigrate, you do so knowing that you and your immediate family have Permanent Residency. For immigration purposes, ‘immediate family’ is defined as the investor, the investor’s spouse, and all their unmarried children under the age of 21 at the time of the visa application. That is, if the EB-5 application is filed before the child is 21 – even though he or she turns 21 during the process – your child is eligible for the EB-5 visa. Adopted children are also eligible.
Your children may attend schools or apply to universities with the same rights as a US citizen. As long as they remain resident in the US, their rights do not end after they turn 21. Each member of the family may apply for citizenship after holding their green card for five years, and dual citizenship is allowed by the United States. Your children will have the advantage of job opportunities in the US and in your own country.
Funds for investment
Funds may come from any legal foreign or US source; including gifts, loans, executive pension funds (SIPPS), trusts and divorce settlements. Whoever receives the visa must make the investment. Borrowed investment funds qualify as long as they are not secured by the assets of the EB-5 investment.
The 2003 Regional Center investment legislation was introduced as a Pilot Program, and has been extended.
All our Regional Centers are certified as high unemployment areas which keeps the minimum required EB-5 investment capital to $500,000.
Direct employment is generated in each of our projects. Also, before making properties available to EB-5 investors, American Life uses an economist to quantify sufficient indirect employment, using the ‘Job Multiplier’ formula in accordance with practices accepted by the USCIS. Our 100% record of conditions removal since 1996 attests to our successful job creation.
Direct employment is sometimes promoted as being better than indirect employment. This is not so. Using the direct employment method, job creation calculations are done when conditions are being removed (some 2 years after you emigrate). If the Regional Center which uses direct employment has failed to secure enough jobs at that time, it would result in the denial of your visa.
EB-5 Visa − and the three forms of Investment Green Card
The USCIS (the US Citizenship and Immigration Service) refers to this category as an Investment or Employment-based Green Card since it is based on an investment in a US business which will create at least ten US jobs.
The EB-5 Visa approves your green card before you emigrate. The legislation does not require you to manage the day-to-day affairs of a business; you may invest in an existing or a new business; more than one person may invest and you may be a minority owner. You may live anywhere in the US no matter where the investment is made and are free to do whatever you wish, be it study, work, run a business or retire.
An EB-5 visa has three different forms −
- Invest $1,000,000 into a business and hire ten employees anywhere in the USA, or
- Invest $500,000 and hire ten employees in an area where the unemployment rate is 150% of the national average or the rural population is less than 20,000, or
- Invest $500,000 into a Government designated Regional Center and avoid direct employment.
Over 90 percent of EB-5 applicants invest in a Regional Center.
EB-5 visa history and the 2003 legislation
The EB-5 Regional Center program was suspended in 1998 as a result of fraud and, it might be argued, insufficient policing by the immigration authority at that time.
The program was reintroduced in December 2003. It is now supervised by the USCIS which applies a stringent assessment of all immigration applicants and their sources of capital. This Pilot Program, through strong bipartisan support in Congress, has been extended until September 2012.
- In addition to the minimum capital contribution of $500,000, Future Group requires a fee of about $40,000.
- Legal fees vary according to the work involved and can range between $15,000 – $25,000.
- The EB5 visa filing fee, payable to the USCIS, is $1,500 per applicant family.
- The fee to the NVC (National Visa Center) is $380 per family member.
- Medical examinations vary from country to country, but can be about $320 for each adult and $150 for children under 15.
The total fees for a family of two adults and a child can total between $47,000 – 68,000.
Green card. After you have invested and your attorney has submitted your visa application, green card processing takes approximately 9 months. Processing times vary and we advise that, for planning important issues such as children’s schooling, it is best to allow 9-12 months between visa application and the issue of your green card. This green card is ‘conditional’, see Permanent Residency below.
Permanent residency. Once you have emigrated, you must apply to have ‘conditions’ removed from your green card after 1 year and 9 months in the USA. Processing takes up to six months. ‘Conditions’ removal means that all family members have permanent residency and your visa is no longer tied to your investment.
The investment. The minimum period for an EB-5 investment is approximately three years. This is the time between making the investment and ‘conditions’ removal (permanent residency). Once conditions are removed you are free to sell your investment.
Citizenship. EB-5 visa investors who have held a green card for 5 years are eligible to apply for US citizenship.