The USA is a highly sought-after country for international investors. For those who wish to acquire permanent resident (‘Green card’) status in the USA, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is the most efficient way to acquire such status.
Since 1990 when congress created this program, each year, the US government allocates a substantial number of visas for individuals who wish to make a significant, qualified investment into the country that can generate jobs for the USA economy.
Under this program, individuals and their immediate family members can become permanent residents of the USA within a short period. The US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is ranked an impressive 7th out of 24 programs on the Global Residence Programs Index.
Benefits of the US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program:
- Green cards are granted to the investor and their spouse and unmarried children under 21.
- Unrestricted employment for green cardholders.
- Visa-free international travel to and from the USA.
- Efficient and quick permanent residence process through the program.
- Freedom to reside anywhere in the USA for investors through the Regional Centre Pilot Program.
Requirements of USA residence by investment:
The US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program requires that a foreign individual invests in a new commercial enterprise that is associated with government-approved regional centers based on proposals for promoting economic growth.
The following requirements apply:
1. Fulfil one of the following investment options:
- USD 1 million into a non-targeted employment area project.
- USD 500,000 ( currently 900,000) into a targeted employment area project in a rural area or an area with high unemployment.
2. Create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified USA workers.
After the successful applicants have received a green card, the funds must stay invested until permanent resident status is granted (roughly five years).
Approved applicants will receive conditional green cards for two years. The conditions on the green card are then removed at the end of the two years upon demonstrating to USA immigration authorities that the jobs were created or maintained.
The transition from conditional to regular green card does not affect what the green card holder can do in the USA.
Individual applicants must have a net worth of over USD 1 million and provide proof that their funds come from legal sources. They must intend to reside in the USA for a sufficient period to maintain their green cards (for example, enter the USA at least once every 180 days) and maintain ties with the USA.
Procedures and time frame of USA residence by investment:
Applications to the program must be made through the prescribed forms and must be accompanied by the appropriate fees and supporting documents.
In addition to the usual personal documentation, the requisite documentation includes medical reports, vaccination records, and certified police and court records of any criminal charges, arrests, or convictions the applicant may have. On average, applicants receive their conditional green card within roughly 20 to 24 or more months.
The filing for the conditional green card to be converted into a regular green card is done two years later.
Investors’ spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age may apply for green cards as derivative applicants and are not required to make further financial contributions but must submit their paperwork.
Permanent residents can settle anywhere in the USA, but they are limited in their visa-free or visa-on-arrival access when compared to other countries.
To be eligible for citizenship, green card holders must have lived continuously in the USA for at least five years before naturalization. They must further show that they have been physically present in the USA for at least 30 months out of the five years immediately before filing for naturalization and must be able to read, write, and speak basic English.
Other than a civics test, minimal additional conditions are required to obtain citizenship.