United States of America

United States of America

EB-5 Visa Programme – Citizenship-by-Investment

 

The United States EB-5 visa, employment-based fifth-preference category or EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program, was created by the Immigration Act of 1990 and provides a method for eligible immigrant-investors to become lawful permanent residents known as “green card” holders.

 

The majority of investor applicants have been identified as coming from Four (4) countries: PRChina, South Korea, Taiwan and the United Kingdom with the largest number of applicants from the PRChina … while still others have come from Canada, India, Mexico, Iran, and Japan.

 

The EB-5 visa programme provides direct foreign investment capital to American businesses making it a vital economic tool. The EB-5 visa programme offers green cards to individuals who invest at least US$500,000 in a new business or a regional centre and create at least 10 jobs. After Five (5) years, green card holders may apply for U.S. citizenship.

 

FEATURES & BENEFITS: ‘THE AMERICAN DREAM’

 

  • Applicant required to be a minimum of 21 years of age
  • Language skills NOT required
  • Minimum education NOT required
  • Business and/or managerial experience NOT required
  • Provide evidence of legal source of funds and assets
  • Investment capital may be sourced from a gift, inheritance, business ownership or other lawful activity
  • Benefit to live, work and study anywhere in the U.S.
  • Benefit from lower tuition fees
  • Dependent children under the age of 21 eligible

 

INVESTMENT OPTIONS

 

The USA EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme comprises two (2) investment options:

 

1. Creation of a New U.S. Enterprise

 

To be eligible for this investment option, applicants must meet the following criteria:

 

  • Make an investment of US$1 million in a new commercial enterprise or US$500,000 if the enterprise is located in a ‘targeted’ commercial area, including rural areas or areas with unemployment of at least 150 percent that of the national average
  • Create full-time employment for at least 10 qualified U.S. workers who must be direct employees of the commercial enterprise
  • Actively manage the day-to-day activities and/or policy formulation of the enterprise

 

2. Investment in a Regional Centre

 

Regional centres are investment opportunities that have been preapproved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (‘USCIS’). To be eligible for this investment option, applicants must meet the following criteria:

 

  • Make an investment of US$500,000
  • Create full-time employment for at least 10 qualified U.S. workers, where indirect employment is permitted
  • Active management of the enterprise is not required

 

CITIZENSHIP REQUIREMENTS

 

Individuals who are nonconditional Green Card holders for at least Five (5) years are eligible to apply for naturalization upon satisfying the following requirements:

 

  • Applicant must be a minimum of 18 years of age
  • Have lived within the state, or USCIS district with jurisdiction over the place of residence, for at least Three (3) months prior to the application
  • Have continuous residence in the U.S. as a Green Card holder for at least Five (5) years immediately preceding the application
  • Have been physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 months out of the Five (5) years immediately preceding the application
  • Reside continuously within the U.S. from the date of application for naturalization up to the time of naturalization
  • Be able to read, write and speak English, and have knowledge and an understanding of U.S. history and the rights and duties of citizenship
  • Be of good moral character in keeping with the principles of the Constitution of the United States

 

EB-5 PROCESSING TIMELINES

 

Depending on their country of origin, the processing of an applicant’s file submission can take from 18 months (Canada) to 120 or more months (China).

 

RENUNCIATION OF U.S. CITIZENSHIP

 

A total of 5,133 Americans gave-up their U.S. citizenship in 2017 based on data published on the Federal Register’s website. Investigation shows that this very important personal decision is mostly driven by tax considerations, especially in the context of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

 

The numbers of Americans handing back their passports has grown steadily since 2010, when President Obama signed into law the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act that has facilitated the IRS’s crackdown on overseas bank accounts held by U.S. citizens.

 

According to FATCA regulations, foreign institutions holding assets for U.S. citizens are obliged to report all funds and assets held in accounts to the U.S. authorities. Failure to do so can and will result in serious penalties.

 

As a consequence, a number of foreign banks have chosen not to open accounts for U.S. expats, resulting in their living overseas more difficult.