Immigrate to America by Investment
How to Immigrate to America by Investment in 2023
Immigrating to the United States by investment is possible through the EB-5 visa program. The EB-5 program allows foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency in the United States by making a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise.
To be eligible for the EB-5 program, an investor must invest at least $900,000 in a qualifying project in a targeted employment area, which is an area with high unemployment or a rural area. Alternatively, an investor may invest at least $1.8 million in a non-targeted employment area.
The investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years of the investor’s admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident.
Once the investment is made, the investor can apply for conditional permanent residency, which is valid for two years. After the two-year period, the investor must demonstrate that the investment has created the required jobs and that the investment remains at risk. If the investor meets these requirements, they may apply for permanent residency.
Eligibility to Immigrate to America by Investment
The EB-5 visa program is a United States immigration program that provides a path to permanent residency for foreign nationals who invest in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs for U.S. workers. The program was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy by creating jobs and encouraging foreign investment.
To be eligible for the EB-5 program, an investor must make a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise. The investment must be at least $900,000 if the project is located in a targeted employment area, which is an area with high unemployment or a rural area, or at least $1.8 million if the project is located in a non-targeted employment area. The investment must be made in cash, equipment, inventory, tangible property or cash equivalents.
The investor must also demonstrate that the investment will create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers within two years of the investor’s admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident. The jobs must be created directly by the new commercial enterprise or indirectly through increased economic activity. The investor may not count jobs held by the investor, the investor’s spouse or the investor’s children.
It is recommended that those considering Immigrating to America by any Investor Visas classes should take a Free Visa Assessment to get an idea of their options.
Applying to Immigrate to America by Investment
The EB-5 program requires the investor to file a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The petition must include evidence that the investment meets the program’s requirements, financial statements and evidence of the investor’s legal source of funds.
Once the petition is approved the investor may apply for conditional permanent residency. If the investor is outside the United States, they must apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. If the investor is already in the United States, they may apply to adjust their status to conditional permanent residency.
EB-5 to Permanent Residency
Conditional permanent residency is valid for two years. During the two-year period, the investor must demonstrate that the investment has created the required jobs and that the investment remains at risk. At the end of the two-year period, the investor may apply to remove the conditions on their permanent residency by filing a Form I-829 (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions).
The Form I-829 must include evidence that the investment has created the required jobs and that the investment remains at risk. If the investor meets these requirements, USCIS will remove the conditions on the investor’s permanent residency, and the investor will become a permanent resident of the United States.
Steps to Immigrate to America by Investment
- Fill out Form I-526
- File DS-260 (Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration) with the U.S. Department of State to obtain an EB-5 visa abroad to seek admission to the United States.
- Complete and file Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) with USCIS to adjust status to a conditional permanent resident within the United States.
- Once your Form I-485 application is approved or upon admission into the United States with an EB-5 immigrant visa you are granted conditional permanent residence to the EB-5 investor visa program.
- File Form I-829 (Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status,) within the 90-day period immediately before the second anniversary of your adjustment of status or admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident.
- If USCIS approves this petition they will remove the conditions from your lawful permanent resident status and from that of any dependents you included. You are then a full Permanent Resident of the United States.
Availability to Immigrate to the United States by Investment
The EB-5 program has a limited number of visas available each year, with a maximum of 10,000 visas available per fiscal year. Additionally, the program has specific requirements and can be complex, so it is recommended to work with an experienced immigration attorney to ensure compliance with all regulations and requirements.
Pros and Cons of the EB5 U.S. Investor Visa Program
Like any immigration program the EB-5 visa program has both advantages and disadvantages. Here are the pros and cons of the EB-5 visa program:
- Pathway to permanent residency: The EB-5 visa program provides a path to permanent residency for foreign nationals who invest in the U.S. economy and create jobs for U.S. workers.
- Flexibility: Investors have a great deal of flexibility in how they structure their investments and where they invest.
- No sponsorship required: Unlike other employment-based visas, the EB5 program does not require sponsorship from a U.S. employer.
- Education benefits: As permanent residents, EB5 visa holders are eligible for in-state tuition rates at U.S. colleges and universities.
- No language or education requirements: The EB5 program does not require applicants to have a minimum level of education or proficiency in English.
- High investment requirement: The required minimum investment of $900,000 or $1.8 million is a significant amount.
- Limited number of visas: The EB-5 program has a limited number of visas available each year, and there is high demand for these visas which can result in long wait times for processing.
- Investment risk: EB5 investments are subject to the same risks as any other investment, and there is no guarantee of return on investment.
- Job creation requirements: Investors must create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers, which can be difficult to do in some industries or locations.
- Scrutiny of source of funds: To be eligible for the EB5 program, investors must provide evidence of the lawful source of their investment funds which can be a complicated and time-consuming process.
Avoid the Pitfalls; Top Reasons why U.S. Investor Visas are Denied
The USCIS requires extensive documentation to support an EB5 investor visa application including evidence of the lawful source of funds and the investment in a qualifying project. If the documentation is incomplete then the petition may be denied.
Failure to meet job creation requirements
EB-5 investors are required to create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. If the job creation does not meet this requirement then the application will be denied.
Issues with the commercial enterprise
The commercial enterprise in which an investor has invested must be a qualifying project under the EB-5 program. If the enterprise does not meet the requirements then the application will be rejected.
Ineligibility of the investor
The EB-5 program has strict eligibility requirements, and if the investor does not meet these requirements, the petition may be denied. For example, if the investor has a criminal record or is inadmissible to the United States for any other reason then you will find your U.S. investor visa application dismissed.
Issues with the regional center
The EB-5 program allows investors to invest in projects sponsored by regional centers. If the regional center has issues with compliance or other problems then it is highly likely that your visa application will be rejected.
Changes in the law
Changes in the law or regulations governing the EB-5 program can also result in denials of petitions.
Popular investment types for the EB5 investor visa
Under the EB-5 visa program investors can make a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise that creates jobs for U.S. workers.
These are the most popular investment types for the EB-5 U.S. investor visa
- Real estate: This is the most popular type of investment for EB5 investors and involves investing in the development or renovation of commercial or residential properties.
- Infrastructure: EB-5 investors can invest in infrastructure projects such as bridges and airports that create jobs for U.S. workers.
- Hospitality: Hospitality projects such as hotels and resorts are also popular investment options for EB-5 investors.
- Manufacturing: Manufacturing projects that create jobs for U.S. workers can also qualify for the EB-5 visa program.
- Technology: Technology projects such as startups or research and development ventures are eligible for the EB5 visa program as long as they create jobs for U.S. workers.
Investors can choose to invest directly in a new commercial enterprise or invest through a regional center, which is a third-party entity that sponsors and manages EB-5 projects on behalf of investors.
Regional centers can offer a range of investment options across different industries and can be a good option for investors who do not want to manage their own investment.
EB5 Investor Visa Success Stories
There are many success stories of companies in the United States that have been started or expanded as a result of investment through the EB-5 investor visa program.
The Hudson Yards development in New York City, which includes commercial and residential space, retail shops, and restaurants, was partially funded by over $600 million in EB-5 investment. The project has been a major success, revitalizing the area and creating thousands of jobs.
MGM Grand Casino
The MGM Grand Casino in Las Vegas received $500 million in EB-5 investment to help finance the construction of a new hotel and convention center. The project has been a major success, bringing in new visitors and creating jobs for the local economy.
The Venetian Hotel and Resort
The Venetian Hotel and Resort in Las Vegas was partially financed by EB-5 investment, and has become one of the most popular resorts in the city, creating thousands of jobs for U.S. workers.
New York Wheel
The New York Wheel, a proposed 630-foot-tall Ferris wheel on Staten Island, was expected to create over 1,200 jobs and attract millions of visitors each year. The project received $150 million in EB-5 investment, but was ultimately cancelled due to financial and legal issues.
The Galleria Dallas, a popular shopping mall in Texas, received $120 million in EB-5 investment to finance a major renovation and expansion project. The project was completed successfully, and the mall remains a popular destination for shoppers and tourists.
Aloft Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles
The Aloft Hotel in downtown Los Angeles received $40 million in EB-5 investment to help finance its construction. The hotel has been a major success, with its trendy design and central location attracting visitors from all over the world.
One World Trade Center
The One World Trade Center in New York City, also known as the Freedom Tower, received $147 million in EB-5 investment to help fund its construction. The tower is now the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and has become an iconic symbol of American resilience and perseverance.
Brooklyn Navy Yard
The Brooklyn Navy Yard, a former naval shipyard in New York City, has been transformed into a thriving industrial park thanks in part to $150 million in EB-5 investment. The project has created thousands of jobs in industries such as manufacturing, technology, and film production.
Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line
The Crenshaw/LAX Transit Line, a light rail line in Los Angeles, received $120 million in EB-5 investment to help fund its construction. The line, which runs through some of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods, has improved transportation options for residents and created jobs for workers in the construction and transportation industries.
Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills
The Waldorf Astoria hotel in Beverly Hills received $100 million in EB-5 investment to help finance its construction. The luxury hotel has become a popular destination for travelers and has helped boost the local economy by creating jobs and generating revenue.
E2 Investor Visa for the United States as an alternative to the EB-5
The E-2 visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows investors from certain treaty countries to invest in and manage a business in the United States. Unlike the EB-5 visa program, the E-2 visa does not lead to permanent residency or a path to citizenship but it can be a good alternative for investors who do not want to make as large of an investment as required for the EB-5 program.
Key points about the E-2 investor visa
- Treaty countries: Only investors from certain treaty countries are eligible for the E-2 visa. The list of eligible countries can change over time, but currently includes countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Japan.
- Investment requirement: There is no set minimum investment requirement for the E-2 visa program, but the investment must be substantial and sufficient to ensure the success of the business.
- Ownership and control: To qualify for the E-2 visa, the investor must own at least 50% of the business, or have operational control through a managerial position.
- Business must be active: The E2 visa is only available to investors who are actively investing in and managing a business in the United States.
- Duration and renewals: The initial E2 visa is usually granted for up to two years, and can be renewed for as long as the investor continues to meet the eligibility requirements.
- Dependents: E2 visa holders can bring their spouse and children under the age of 21 to the United States as dependents.
E2 Vs EB5
Compared to the EB-5 program, the E-2 visa program has a lower investment requirement, a shorter processing time and a lower risk for investors. However, it does not provide a path to permanent residency or citizenship and investors must renew their visa every few years.
Immigrate to America by Investment TLDR
Immigrating to the United States by investor visa is a popular option for individuals who want to live and work in the United States. The two most popular investor visas are the EB-5 immigrant investor visa and the E-2 treaty investor visa.
The EB-5 visa program requires a minimum investment ($900k – $1.8m) in a new commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The program offers a path to permanent residency and eventual citizenship for the investor, their spouse, and their unmarried children under the age of 21.
The E-2 visa program requires a lesser investment of around $100,000 to $500,000. The investor must come from a country that has a treaty of commerce with the United States. The program offers a temporary visa that can be renewed indefinitely as long as the business remains operational and profitable.
Both programs have their pros and cons and the best option for you will depend on your individual circumstances and goals. Immigrating by investor visa can be a complex and time-consuming process, but it can also offer significant benefits such as access to the U.S. market, a high standard of living and excellent educational and professional opportunities.
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Jacqueline Chow is an international immigration and visa expert with over 15 years of experience in the field. With a background in law and a passion for helping people, Jacqueline has built a reputation as a trusted and reliable source of information and advice on all aspects of immigration and visas. She has worked with clients from all over the world, including high-net-worth individuals, professionals, skilled workers and families. As a sought-after speaker and commentator Jacqueline has been featured in various media outlets and has given talks on immigration and visas at conferences and events around the world.