USA Residency /
Citizenship by Investment
Citizenship by Investment
USA Citizenship / USA Residency
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the minimum investment required to obtain the EB-5 visa?
A: The minimum dollar amount is USD $900,000 if the investment goes towards a business located in a so-called "Targeted Employment Area" (TEA), which is an area of high unemployment. If the location of the business is not a TEA, then the minimum investment is USD $1,800,000.
Q: How many jobs must the investment generate or preserve?
A: The investment must create or preserve at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers excluding the investor and their immediate family.
Q: What types of businesses can I invest in?
A: As long as the minimum number of jobs are created you may invest in 1) a new commercial enterprise you start up, or 2) an existing troubled business that is entirely restructured, or 3) a so-called "Regional Center".
Q: What is a "Regional Center"?
A: A "Regional Center" is a U.S. government-approved public or private investment vehicle that assumes the responsibility of creating the requisite jobs. Regional Centers may charge an administration fee for managing the investor's investment. The benefit of such centers is that they free investors from day-to-day management responsibilities they would have to assume were they to launch their own business. Investors should conduct their own due diligence by retaining a certified public accountant and a business attorney to examine all aspects of the investment vehicle before investing.
Q: What is the visa application filing process and how long does it take to get the visa?
A: The EB-5 visa application process consists of three steps: filing Form I-526 (Petition by Alien Entrepreneur), filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), and filing Form I-829 (Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions). All petitions are filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) department of the United States government.
The first step in the application procedure is to file Form I-526 (Petition by Alien Entrepreneur). This petition is to certify the applicant and the proposed investment as eligible for the EB-5 visa program. The current processing time is between four to six months.
After the I-526 is approved, you may apply for temporary residency by filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status), for which the current processing time is between six to 12 months. If approved, the investor and his/her family members (unmarried children under the age of 21) are granted "conditional permanent resident" status which is good for two years.
After the I-485 is approved and within 90 days before its expiration date the investor may file "Form I-829 Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions”. At this stage the USCIS will verify that the investor maintained the investment for the required two-year period and all required jobs were created. If approved, the investor receives permanent residency status (the "Green Card). As a permanent resident (conditional or unconditional) you can live, study, or work in the United States, and travel freely to and from the country.
After five years as a permanent resident (two years as a conditional permanent resident plus three years as a full permanent resident) the investor may apply for U.S. citizenship.
Q: Will the visa also include my family?
A: Yes, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 can be added to the I-526 petition.
Q: How do I prove the origin of my investment funds?
A: When filing the I-526 you must prove that your investment funds come from lawful sources, such as personal income or the sale of your assets. Valid proof includes five years of personal and business tax returns, five years of bank account statements, or proof of business ownership, business licenses and business financial statements. If you obtained your funds from the sale of your company, the sale of investments, the sale of other real estate, an inheritance, or a gift, you must provide official documents, such as contracts, closing statements, and similar.
Q: Is there a risk that I lose my investment?
A: Yes, the U.S. government requires the investment to be "at risk" to qualify for the EB-5 visa program. This includes starting a new business or investing in a Regional Center as these centers are not permitted to guarantee the return of the investment funds.
Q: What kind of return on investment (ROI) can I expect?
A: Your return depends on many factors, including whether you invest in an existing business, or a Regional Center. In general, your return may be higher if you invest in a high-risk business, and it will be lower if you invest in a lower-risk enterprise. The visa application is not dependent on the return your investment generates.
Q: Once my I-485 application is approved, do I need to move to the United States or live in the U.S. for a minimum number of days during the year?
A: Yes. Within 180 days of receiving the visa the investor must enter the U.S. and establish residency. Evidence of residency includes opening a bank accounts, obtaining a driver's license or social security number, paying state and federal income taxes, as well as renting or buying a home. In general, all permanent residents must live in the U.S. at least six months each year in order not to lose their "Green Card".
Q: Can you help me find a real estate agent in the Unites States?
A: Yes. We are associated with several licensed real estate agencies in the U.S. and would be happy to help you find your ideal commercial as well as residential property free of charge. Please use our contact form for a free consultation.
Q: Can you help me find a Regional Center in which to invest?
A: Yes. If needed, our associated Immigration Attorneys will be able to introduce you to professional financial advisors who, for a fee to be determined by them, may help you identify a Regional Center that best meets your requirements. If you prefer to do your own research, here is the official list of all currently approved Regional Centers: Immigrant Investor Regional Centers
Q: What are the major differences among the various immigration by investment programs?A: The Bulgaria Citizenship by Investment Program offers several investment options starting from EUR 257,000 plus fees for Bulgaria (EU) citizenship and passport after 5 years in residency status. The "fast track option" starting from EUR 512,000 shortens this period to only 18 months.
The Cyprus Residency by Investment Program offers options from EUR 300,000 for Cyprus (EU) permanent residency. Residents may apply for citizenship after 7 years in residency status.
The Greece Golden Visa allows non-EU applicants to file for Greece (EU) residency by way of a EUR 250,000 investment in local real estate. The investor may file for Greek citizenship after 7 years of living in Greece at a minimum of 183 days per year.
The Malta Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment regulation provides the applicant with Malta (EU) residency and citizenship for an investment in the amount of EUR 600,000 (36 months residency option) or EUR 750,000 (12 months residency option). Additional are a philanthropic donation, a property purchase or rental, and fees. For applicants who are only seeking Malta (tax) residency or Schengen travel benefits, options start at an annual recurring expense of EUR 15,000 plus property and fees.
The Monaco Residency / Citizenship Program offers Monaco residency to applicants who can prove sufficient accommodations and financial self-sufficiency. The applicant may file for Monaco citizenship after 10 years of permanent residency.
The Portugal Golden Visa Residence Permit Program offers Portugal (EU) permanent residency for a property investment starting from EUR 280,000. Investors may apply for Portugal citizenship after 5 years in residency status.
The Spain Golden Visa offers Spain (EU) residency for a EUR 500,000 minimum investment in real estate, or a EUR 1 Million Euro asset transfer, or a 2 Million Euro securities investment, or the creation of a new government-approved business project. The investor may file for citizenship after 10 years in residency status.
Outside of the EU, citizenship by investment programs include those offered by Canada, the United States of America, and the Caribbean nations of Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, and St. Lucia:
Canada offers several residency by investment options, leading to citizenship if desired, starting at CAD 200,000.
The United States EB-5 Program leads to permanent residency status and citizenship in the United States for a minimum investment of USD 900,000 in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. that generates at least 10 jobs for Americans. After 5 years as a permanent resident the investor may apply for U.S. citizenship.
The Caribbean nations of Antigua & Barbuda, St. Kitts & Nevis, Grenada, Dominica, and St. Lucia offer citizenship programs requiring a real estate investment from USD 200,000 or a non-refundable donation of at least USD 100,000.
Please contact us for a detailed cost estimate or confidential consultation. Our associated attorneys are ready to assist you with attaining your investment objectives and answer any questions you might have about the US Residency / Citizenship by Investment programs.
Zenturo Ltd.Residency & Citizenship by Investment Programs Worldwide
USA Office: Los Angeles
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