USA EB5 INVESTOR VISA
The EB-5 visa allows those who invest in government-approved projects in the United States of America to become permanent residents of the United States. The USA EB5 investment visa can be beneficial as it grants access to the US education system, the right to live, retire, work and study in the US, the ability to recoup the investment upon completion of the project, and residency for the investor, their children (under 21) and spouse. The principal applicant must reside in the U.S. for 6 months per year.
U.S. E2 INVESTOR VISA
Certain countries such as China, India and Vietnam are now facing lengthy delays in repatriation through EB5. An effective alternative to EB5 is the E2 visa. The investment must be “substantial” but in practice is far less than the EB5 visa. The E2 visa can only be applied for by citizens of countries that have an E2 agreement with the US. These include options such as Grenada, Montenegro, and Turkey. Investing in the citizenship of these countries entitles you to apply for an E2. The path to residency can be faster and cheaper than EB5, although a key difference with E2 is that it is a nonimmigrant visa, meaning that unlike EB5, it cannot lead to a green card.
EB5 REGIONAL CENTER
A new Regional Center program for EB5 was signed into law by President Biden on March 15, 2022. The program will be in effect for five years through September 2027. The new legislation is currently under review by USCIS and we hope to have guidance and, most importantly, new EB5 Regional Center investments for our customers by mid-2022. The EB5 investment amount will start at $800,000.
As with the previous Regional Center program, there must be proof that the funds were acquired legally, the investment must be “at-risk” and the investor must not have a criminal record. A key benefit of the EB5 Regional Center program was the bundling of a number of applications into one infrastructure or real estate project, which allowed investors to make a passive investment while the Regional Center managed the necessary requirements such as job creation.
E2 CONTRACT COUNTRIES
The E2 visa remains an effective alternative to EB5 and can be obtained through a two-step process of first obtaining citizenship in an E2 treaty country and then applying for an E2 visa by investing in the United States. La Vida can facilitate both steps for our clients. The timeframe is shorter than the EB5 route for countries at risk of backsliding (typically China, India, and Vietnam), and investments are typically around $500,000, covering both second citizenship and U.S. residency.
GREEN CARD INVESTMENT
The EB5 visa is essentially a green card by investment. Investors are rewarded with a green card (after two years), although the number of applicants is limited to 10,000 per year, 5,000 of which are reserved for regional centers. Success rates for Eb-5 can vary and depend on the type of investment, personal situation, legal representation, regional center and other factors. The E2 visa allows for residency through significant investment in a business.
U.S. CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT
Neither the EB5 nor the E2 visa is, in and of itself, a program for citizenship by investment. However, after obtaining a green card through the EB5 route, applicants may apply for U.S. citizenship after a period of five years of permanent residence. This process is known as naturalization.