The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program presents an exciting avenue for South African investors. It’s perfect for those seeking to expand their horizons and pursue new opportunities in the United States (US). The EB-5 Program for South Africans – we break down everything you need to know…
What is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program
Every year approximately 10,000 visas are granted under this category. They allow foreigners to obtain a residence permit and follow their American dreams.
This category of US visa options has become increasingly popular among investors, including South African investors in recent years. The uniqueness, and straightforwardness of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (the EB-5 Program) offers a pathway to potential American citizenship.
The EB-5 Program was created to promote economic growth and job creation in the US. It provides a unique opportunity for foreign investors to obtain a green card by investing in new commercial enterprises or regional centres that generate employment opportunities. By investing a minimum amount, which is currently set at US$1.8 million (or US$900,000 for targeted employment areas), South African investors can secure a path to permanent residency for themselves and their immediate family members.
Under the EB-5 Program category, South African investors can relocate to the US along with their immediate family members. Their dependants can also live, work and study in the US.
The qualifying investors get a conditional green card which can be converted into a green card after two years of investment after the approval of an I-829 petition.
Why is the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program attractive for South African Investors?
The EB-5 Program offers several advantages that make it particularly enticing for South African investors.
Firstly, it provides an avenue to live and work in the US, a country known for its robust economy and diverse business opportunities. This opens the door to new markets, networks, and possibilities for South African entrepreneurs and professionals.
Furthermore, the EB-5 Program offers a pathway to US citizenship, providing South African investors and their families with long-term security and stability. With a green card, investors can enjoy the benefits of living in the US, including access to world-class education, healthcare, and a high standard of living.
The EB-5 Program also provides flexibility in terms of investment options. South African investors can choose between direct investments in new commercial enterprises or indirect investments through regional centers. Regional centres are specially designated entities that facilitate economic development and job creation in specific geographic areas. These centres often have a track record of successful projects, making them an attractive option for investors looking for a more hands-off approach.
By participating in the EB-5 Program, South African investors can diversify their investment portfolios and potentially earn a return on their investment. Additionally, they can contribute to job creation and economic growth in the US, further strengthening the bilateral ties between South Africa and the US.
Benefits of the EB-5 Program for South African Investors
- A straightforward path to US permanent residency.
- No requirement for English language proficiency.
- The ability to live and work anywhere in the US.
- Ability to bring dependants to the US.
Direct Investment: This involves investing directly in a new commercial enterprise in the US. The new enterprise must create at least 10 full-time jobs for US workers.
Regional Centre Investment: This involves investing in a regional centre. This is a government-designated area that has a high unemployment rate. These types of projects are typically large-scale projects that create a huge number of jobs.
Targeted Employment Area (TEA) Investment: This involves investing in a TEA, which is a rural area or an area with high rates of unemployment. This investment has a lower minimum investment requirement of about US$900,000. The investment was increased on June 22, 2o21 to account for inflation.
Navigating the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program process
While the EB-5 Program presents numerous opportunities, navigating the application process can be complex.
We welcome South African investors who are seeking guidance from experienced immigration attorneys and consultants who specialise in EB-5 visas to contact us. Our expert team can provide valuable insights. Additionally, we can assist with the preparation of the necessary documentation, and help investors make informed investment decisions.
EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program application process
The application process can be complex and time-consuming. It is important to consult with an experienced immigration expert. The overview of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program application includes the following steps:
- File Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur. This form is used to petition USCIS to approve the EB-5 investment.
- If Form I-526 is approved, the applicant will be able to apply for a conditional green card.
- Once the applicant receives their conditional green card, they must invest the required capital and create or preserve the required number of jobs.
- After two years, the applicant can apply to remove the conditions on their green card by filing Form I-829, Petition by Entrepreneur to Remove Conditions.
Notably, this category is a time-consuming process, and there are no ways to accelerate the process. Typically, it takes around 1-2 years to receive a conditional green card. It then takes another two years to remove the conditions and obtain a regular green card. The major difference between these cards is the duration for which it is issued. For instance, the conditional green card is valid for up to two years. While the non-conditional green card is a ten-year green card usually issued to permanent residents.
Besides this, there are also some travel restrictions on a conditional green card. This means the recipient cannot leave the country for more than 180 days at a time without obtaining permission from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
As with any investment opportunity, it is essential for South African investors to carefully assess the risks and benefits.
Consulting with our professional advisors and engaging in comprehensive research can help investors make informed decisions that align with their investment goals and risk tolerance.