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