What immigration options are available to high net worth individuals that are looking to invest in the US?
We often get asked how individuals can come to the United States through investment. There is some confusion on this topic due to the various visas as well as the differing requirements for these visa types. Generally speaking, from the perspective of the foreign investor there are three options, not every foreign investor may qualify.
1st Option: Treaty Investor Visa (E-2 Visa).
If an individual is looking to invest approximately $80,000 in a US venture then an E-2 visa may be available to that person if they are from a treaty nation. This visa is a two year NON-immigrant visa that is renewable for two year terms. Dependents of the E-2 visa beneficiary may also receive a dependent visa to the US. Though the direct beneficiary may not work in the US except for his own business venture, his dependents may work for other employers.
2nd Option: The Other Option is the EB-5 Visa ($1 Million Investment) for Immigrant Investors.
Congress created this visa category as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, with the intent of attracting foreign capital that will create jobs in the US. There are only 10,000 such visas available every year under this category.
Under the EB-5 visa, a treaty is not required with the immigrants’ nation of origin. The Applicant must however meet three basic requirements:
1) Establishment of a “qualified" business
2) Investment of at least $1 million of “verifiable investment" in the business so that the investment is at considered “at risk investment".
3) Creation of 10 full time “qualified jobs" – (not for the visa recipients family members)
Establishment of a business, for the purposes of this visa, may mean creating an original enterprise, buying an existing enterprise, or expanding an enterprise through investment. The investor must also be actively involved in the business and not just invest.
3rd Option: Ender the EB-5 category there is a special provision for “targeted employment areas" where a $500,000 investment may be acceptable. While the other conditions of the EB-5 listed above also apply there are additional requirements for this visa. These “targeted employment areas" are a State and not Federal designation in that the State where the investment is being made will determine which areas are “targeted employment areas" in a manner that is acceptable to the Federal Government for the purposes of this visa.
For all EB-5 visa recipients, they along with their spouses are granted a “conditional" permanent resident status (Green Card). However, after two years the recipient may qualify for removal of the conditions and upon the expiration of another three years (five years total) may petition for US citizenship.
For more information about immigration through investment please visit the Din Memmen Law Firm on the web at www.dinmemmen.com .