USA Residence by Investment
Love it or hate it, the United States of America remains year after year the number-one country where people want to immigrate to. Whether you are looking to make a fortune in New York, have a pleasant lifestyle and climate in Los Angeles, or launch your tech startup in Silicon Valley, the U.S. is so vast that it offers a little something for every taste. The U.S. launched the now famous EB-5 investor visa in 1990, allowing business investors to invest 1M USD in a business activity and create 10 jobs in order to receive a conditional Green Card (permanent residence). In 1992, the EB-5 was complemented by another option allowing investors to instead invest 500,000 USD into a Regional Center project in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). In both cases the investors need to hold the investment for 2 years and create 10 jobs. Today, due to the difficulty of creating 10 jobs, most applicants choose to invest in the Regional Centers’ projects to obtain the unconditional Green Card. The program has had so much success that applicants from China have experienced long delays due to quotas on the origin of applicants. Spouse and children under the age of 21 qualify as dependents. After 5 years of residence, investors can apply for naturalization into U.S. citizenship. The U.S. passport is one of the best in the world and provides visa-free travel to the EU for 90 days in a 180-day period.
US EB5 Investor Visa
The US EB-5 Visa takes 2–4 years to process applications due to the large amount of applications in the backlog. Chinese applicants might have to wait more than 10 years right now, and Vietnamese and Indian applicants could also have to wait 5 to 7 years for the same reasons.
New Commercial Enterprise
Evidence that you have invested or are actively in the process of investing in a “for profit” new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise:
- Established after Nov. 29, 1990, or
- Established on or before Nov. 29, 1990, that is:
- Purchased and the existing business is restructured or reorganized in such a way that a new commercial enterprise results, or
- Expanded through the investment so that at least a 40-percent increase in the net worth or number of employees occurs
Evidence, if applicable, that the new commercial enterprise has been established and, if you seek eligibility under the reduced investment amount, evidence regarding the targeted employment area (TEA). For the definition of a TEA and information about investment amounts, see About the EB-5 Visa Classification.
Managing the New Commercial Enterprise Investment
Evidence that you are or will be engaged in the management of the new commercial enterprise (either through day-to-day managerial control or through policy formulation).
Evidence that you have invested or are actively in the process of investing the required amount of capital ($1 million or, if the qualifying investment is within a TEA, $500,000).
Evidence that the investment capital was obtained through lawful means. The petition must be accompanied, as applicable, by:
- Foreign business registration records;
- Corporate, partnership (or other entity), and personal tax returns, or other tax returns of any kind filed within 5 years, with any taxing jurisdiction in or outside the United States by you or on your behalf;
- Evidence identifying any other source of capital; or
Certified copies of any judgments or evidence of all pending civil or criminal actions, governmental administrative proceedings, and any private civil actions (pending or otherwise) involving money judgments against you from any court in or outside the United States within the past 15 years.
Evidence that the new commercial enterprise will create at least 10 full-time positions for qualifying employees. If the requisite employees have not already been hired, you will need to submit a comprehensive business plan showing that, due to the nature and projected size of the new commercial enterprise, the need for at least 10 qualifying employees will result.
Job Preservation – Troubled Business
Evidence that the number of existing employees is being or will be maintained at no less than the pre-investment level for a period of at least 2 years. Submit photocopies of tax records; Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification; or other relevant documents for the qualifying employees and a comprehensive business plan in support of the petition.
US E2 Treaty Investor
For those not interested in waiting to enter the U.S., the E-2 Treaty Investor visa is the quickest way into the country. The trick is that your country of origin needs to have an E-2 treaty with the U.S.
To qualify you need to have invested, or be actively in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide enterprise in the United States, and be seeking to enter the United States solely to develop and direct the investment enterprise. This is established by showing at least 50% ownership of the enterprise or possession of operational control through a managerial position or other corporate device.
A substantial amount of capital is (estimated at 150,000 USD):
- Substantial in relationship to the total cost of either purchasing an established enterprise or establishing a new one
- Sufficient to ensure the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the enterprise
- Of a magnitude to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the enterprise. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher, proportionately, the investment must be to be considered substantial.
This visa is temporary and lasts for 2 years and can be renewed indefinitely. To apply for a Green Card, you must apply to the EB-1 or EB-2 Green Card under National Interest Waiver.
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