The US EB-5 Visa Program You probably don’t know about
I do a lot of traveling, and one thing I like to do is ask people if they’ve ever heard of the US EB-5 visa, also known as the employment-based fifth-preference category of visa. I find that most people have never heard of it, or that it lets Immigrant Investors became a lawful permanent resident – or a “green card” holder – by making investments worth at least $1,000,000 or financing an American business that employs at least ten US-based workers.
Immigrants that take advantage of the EB-5 program will do by investing their money in targeted employment areas – the areas of the United States with high unemployment rates – as this reduces the necessary investment threshold down to $500,000.
Since the EB-5 program was created, Chinese investors were the main investors making use of it; accounting for around 80% of the roughly 10,000 visas issued to EB-5 investors every year. As well as Chinese investors, investors from India, Singapore, and Vietnam are making significant investments in the program. However, as more people in Africa are achieving a high net worth, the continent is becoming a more active participant in the EB-5 Investor Program. The amount of petitions filed for EB-5 visas from African investors has increased dramatically in the past three years. Nigeria are leading the charge, followed by Egypt and South Africa.
There really is nothing like the EB-5 program anywhere else in the world. Lots of other countries do provide investment immigration programs similar to the EB-5 visa, such as Australia, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand. These programs tend to have much higher investment thresholds than the American program however. Investors are expected to invest anywhere between $750,000 and $4.5 million depending on the country. Even on the lowest end, that’s higher than the $500,000 the EB-5 Visa Program asks for.
There are two different forms of investment with the visa program. The first is the individual investment program, and the second is the Regional Center investment option. The Individual Investment Program allows for standalone investments in single entities. The Regional Center Program is for lager products funded by several investors working together. EB-5 Regional Centers provide projects across TEA areas. They also handle the project for the original investor, which is one reason many choose to invest through Regional Centers, though there are still many people who invest through individual investments. This option does allow for more direct control and management of the business and can offer potentially higher returns on investment. No matter which option an investor goes with though, it takes some due diligence and partnering up with a qualified and licensed attorney to properly manage an investment.
There are many advantages to the so-called “Golden Visa”. Compared to other kinds of business visa, this visa offers the chance to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis, with the option to apply for US citizenship after five years. It doesn’t require the investor to do any work or be employed in the country, and it provides investors with the certainty they are free to stay in the United States in the long term. Investing in the US and eventually becoming a citizen within five years makes it easier to travel across the world, particularly for investors from Africa.
One advantage of the EB-5 visa is that it offers benefits for the family of the one making the investment. The dependents of an investor are included in the immigrant petition, meaning that they receive the same immigration status as the actual investor. The dependent family members include the spouse and unmarried children under 21 of an investor. The EB-5 visa allows for more flexibility for the investor – and their family – to live, study, and work within the United States than other visa plans. Investors can also take advantage of reduced university fees for their children and have the option of buying property in the country.
There’s no doubt the USA is one of the most desirable places to live in the world. The law and economy in the country is stable, and America is home to the largest consumer market in the world. This makes it the perfect location to launch – and succeed with – a business endeavor.
The timing for African investors has never been better. Research from the Brookings Institute suggests that the U.S is interested in mutually expanding their trade in agricultural goods. The current level of agriculture exports in the United States is less than 3% of total export under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Increasing agriculture exports from sub-Saharan Africa into the United States is sure to benefit both the American and African economy. Being able to make progress here is sure to diversify US trade with sub-Saharan Africa, which is predominately made up of gas and oil exports right now.
African investors owe it to themselves to assess potential investment opportunities in the United States, which helps to create more opportunities to increase business in Africa.
The EB-5 visa, and overall American citizenship, affords a number of unique benefits to African investors. That being said, the EB-5 program won’t last much longer as it is due to expire on Dec. 7, 2018. The good news is that it is likely going to be renewed, at least for the short term. However, regulatory changes are due for the EB5 program. This will include a drastic increase in the minimum investment of $500,000. Other strict measures are sure to be introduced too.
Now is the time to take advantage of EB-5, before it becomes too late.
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