For 25 years, the EB-5 visa program has worked as a catalyst to attract foreign investment in projects that create jobs for U.S. citizens.
A packed room at the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) 2015 Global & Luxury Summit in April learned important updates about where the program is today.
Launched in 1990 by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), the program provides U.S. residency to investors who commit $500,000 to $1 million to a new business or project that will create at least 10 jobs.
After approval, an investor receives conditional U.S. residency – with permanent residency possibly granted after two years.
• Investors receive conditional green cards for themselves, their spouse and children under the age of 21.
• U.S. developers gain access to low-cost international capital.
• Economically depressed Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) get jobs.
• Real estate agents may also beneﬁt because EB-5 visa holders must establish a U.S. residence, and may become prospective home purchasers.
Here are some takeaways from the 2015 Global & Luxury Summit session on EB-5:
• For your clients who want to come to the U.S. and want permanent residency, this is the best program. It’s the fastest and best way for clients to get a U.S. green card; What they need to do is just invest.
• Currently, there are 600 regional EB-5 centers. These are entities that control investment in a geographic area, and control and manage the asset.
• Be aware the EB-5 program has exploded, as have options for you and your clients to invest. You need to know as much as you can about the owner, operator and asset being developed before you recommend a client’s investment.
• Finder’s fees – To take commission, you need to be licensed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Get registered so you can legally accept the income.
• Three professionals are necessary for a successful EB-5 transaction:
o Immigration lawyer – Never give your own legal advice to clients.
o Tax attorney – Make sure clients know the tax implications if they become residents.
o Investment adviser – Stay up to date on industry changes.
For additional information, see www.eb5projects.com.