Over the years I have consulted with businessmen, politicians, professionals and others that claim ownership to millions in assets, but wish for nothing else but the ability to be a resident of the United States. Most already know that money cannot buy happiness, but what a lot of people do not realize is money can buy a greencard. It’s time to get the word out.
There is a program in existence today designed to provide greencards to individuals who otherwise would not have the ability to migrate to the United States. This visa, the EB-5 Investor Visa (the “employment 5thpreference”), was created by the Congress in 1990 to encourage more foreign investments in the United States. These individuals (and their families) get to immigrate to the U.S. and become permanent residents when they would not normally have the ability to do so, in exchange for short-term cash investments. When the program works, the result is a win-win.
The eligibility requirements are relatively narrow and perhaps it is overly simplistic to claim one can simply buy a greencard, however with experienced counsel, an investor should be able to successfully navigate the requirements and obtain a greencard through the EB-5 program. The main requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:
- A capital investment of at least one million dollars (though the required dollar amount may be reduced to half a million in certain circumstances) in a new commercial enterpriseanywhere in the United States.
- The business must employ at least ten full time workers
- The business must produce a service or product and ultimately benefit the U.S. economy.
- The investor must be involved in the management of this enterprise either through day to day control or through corporate policy formation.
- The investor must verify the source of funds. They must be legally acquired, and solely in the investor’s name with no liens or mortgages attached.
If the EB-5 visa application is approved by USCIS, the investor and his/her immediate family will get a conditional two-year greencard. At the end of that two-year period, the investor must then file a petition to remove the conditions. At this stage, the investor must show that the business plan as initially proposed has been set in motion and that the investment was a genuine one. If USCIS is satisfied that the investment has lingered at least two years and enough jobs were created, the conditions will be removed and the family can then move on to permanent resident, or greencard, status.
This program is a great opportunity for those with means but no means to migrate to the United States. If this sounds like something you may be interested in, be sure to consult a qualified business immigration attorney with EB-5 experience. It may take some patience, but the money sitting in your bank account right now can be used to open doors to the United States, the land of opportunity.
 In certain circumstances one may be able to invest in an existing enterprise if it is a “troubled business” or if one is expanding an existing business.