15 June

Becoming US citizen by investing in local business: How this works in the United States

The United States is a perfect market for foreign entrepreneurs and investors. In addition to strict legislation, favorable competitive environment and one of the most powerful economies in the world, the country also allows its investors receiving residence permit and eventually becoming a citizen.


A foreigner can invest in any project on the U.S. territory, including commercial property (e.g., hotels), not for residing in it but for generating profits.


American investor’s visa is called EB-5. It was initiated in 1990 by the U.S. Congress as it decided this could be a way to attract capital in the U.S. economy. Since then, the program has been amended several times in order to simplify the application procedure. Every year, the Immigration Service reserves 10,000 EB-5 visas, and this is enough to satisfy the number of applicants.


EB-5 visa has numerous benefits:


1.Minimum requirements to the applicant. You don’t have to speak English, confirm your university degree, or even have it. Unlike the rest immigration visas, the major requirements concern the investment, not the applicant.


2.‘Green card’ and guaranteed citizenship. The visa allows its holder to temporarily reside in the United States during two years, after which you will receive a status of permanent resident. After five years you will qualify for citizenship.


3.Immigration for the entire family. EB-5 covers all immediate family of the investor, up to 10 persons, including children under 21. Unmarried persons are allowed to legally reside in the United States.


4.You receive benefits similar to those of Americans. The status of a permanent resident that you receive with the EB-5 visa allows you to enroll in the U.S. universities at the rates for U.S. citizens, as well as enjoy the same benefits as U.S. citizens.


5.You are able to visit your home country. Being a resident, the investor and his/her family have the right to return to his/her home country. You don’t need to be physically present in the U.S. all the time.


6.High approval rate. On average, 90 percent of the applications get approved.


To become a foreign investor and qualify for EB-5 visa, you need to fulfill several requirements of the U.S. government.


1.The amount of investment should be $1 million and up. In certain areas, like low-populated ones or those with poor economic situation, the amount might be reduced to $500,000;


2.The investment should create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens with salaries not lower than the average for the sector;


3.Your capital should be legal. You cannot invest the money you borrowed;


4.The capital might be shared with someone else, for instance, your spouse;


5.The investment should be risky. This means that projects with guaranteed return on investment do not qualify;


6.The investment should be made by the immigrant in person, not through legal entity.


There are two ways for foreign investors to invest in the U.S. The first is to do that on his/her own. This means independently searching for an investment object, managing it and controlling all related business processes.


The second is to do this with the help of an EB-5 regional center. These centers operate jointly with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) and get USCIS approval for working with foreign investments. This option is simpler and will suit those who don’t want to spend time on detailed study of EB-5 visa requirements. Among the EB-5 regional centers’ responsibilities is to see whether offered investments meet the program’s requirements.


If the major purpose of the investment is to become a U.S. citizen, the EB-5 program allows for withdrawing the capital after receiving the permanent resident status.


It’s important to realize that the U.S. immigration legislation is complicated. Although you can read the detailed description of the visa process on the USCIS website, it’s still more reasonable to hire an expert. The documents should be filled perfectly, all nuances taken into account, and all requirements of the program met. ProfitHill experts have opened many visas of this kind and know how to do it fast, efficient, and at minimum cost.