The Investment Visa – Gateway to the USA?

The Investment Visa – Gateway to the USA?

The investment visa also known as the investment green card or the EB-5 visa can enable you, your spouse and children under 21 to obtain permanent U.S. residency by investing $500,000 into a government designated Regional Center investment visa program creating at least ten jobs per investor.

You will be able to live anywhere in the USA and have the option to take almost any job, run a business or retire. As an EB-5 investment green card holder you have access to a number of advantages normally only enjoyed by U.S, citizens including savings on property tax in some States.

Your children may attend schools or apply to universities with the same rights as a U.S. citizen and unlike other investment visa options they do not have to leave at 21. Each member of the family may apply for U.S. citizenship after holding their green card for five years.

A Regional Center is an area designated by the USCIS as eligible to receive immigrant investment visa capital. Regional Centers are Government designated for purposes of immigration however, as U.S. law states that a Regional Center investment must be ‘at risk’; it cannot be guaranteed and needs very careful evaluation.

The period of investment is dependent on the Regional Centers exit strategy and although the investment is $500,000 administration fees charged by different regional centers vary substantially. These are a number of areas of concern which have significant coverage in the book Green Card via the Red Carpet.

If the EB-5 is your investment visa of choice you may wish to focus on Regional Center programs which –

• Safeguard your investment.

• Have an established record of success with investment visa applications.

• Do not tie up your capital without a clearly defined exit strategy.

• Focus on your requirements as an investor and an immigrant rather than simply seeing you as a source of easy capital!

Generally there are three main forms of Regional Center investment:-

A number of regional centers offer property investments suggesting that property has advantages, particularly if it has no debt attached to it. The key to property performance can be how much was paid for a property in the first place, who it was purchased from and what is the exit strategy?

Equity business investments are asset based and may or may not be managed directly by the company operating the Regional Center.

A small number of Regional Centers offer fixed term programs where your funds are used as loans to another organization. Sometimes these are governmental agencies such as development corporations for infrastructure projects where a municipality or associated development agency usually becomes responsible for repaying your capital. The implications of these options vary and there may be advantages/disadvantages which require clarification.

An important consideration for the investment green card applicant may be which regional centers have paid back investment visa capital. At the time of writing, in 2010, we are aware of two centers that have repaid all or a portion of investment visa funds and two planning too.

After you have invested and your attorney has submitted your visa application, investment green card processing takes approximately 6 to 9 months. For planning issues such as schooling, allow 9-12 months between visa application and the issue of your investment green card.