Exploring the Various Investment Options for USA Residency  

Discover the myriad of investment opportunities available for obtaining USA residency and make informed investment choices.

The United States (US) offers multiple investment options to gain residency of the country. Most notably, the EB-5 Program offers investors Residency by Investment.  

Investors are attracted to the US for its strong economy, robust political system, and global leadership. American companies offer high salaries and global hubs such as New York City and Washington DC are located in the country.  

Additionally, the country offers global mobility, with travel agreements with countries spanning the globe and has no language or residence requirements.  

Obtaining a Green Card, officially known as a Permanent Resident Card, is possible for investors willing to commit to the specific, long-term requirements set out in the EB-5 Program. Other investment programmes offered by the US may also be a viable path to US Residency by Investment, too. 

EB-5 Program: The best-known choice

The EB-5 Program grants a Green Card to investors and their immediate family, after investors make a large contribution to US industry and commerce. The Program was established to drive foreign investment into the country’s companies and continue the expansion of the American economy.  

The investment is required to create at least ten full-time jobs for US workers. The investment can fall under the category of a direct investment or a Regional Center Pilot Program. 

For the EB-5 visa, the standard minimum investment is $1,050,000, unless the investment falls under a targeted employment area (TEA). In this case, the minimum investment required is $800,000.  

A TEA is a rural area or an area with high unemployment. The threshold for high unemployment is an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average.  

Capital invested must be derived from lawful origins. The source of funds must be evidenced. 

The processing time for the EB-5 can vary. On average, the Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor (I-526), can take two to eight weeks. Once the I-526 petition is received by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), processing can take from 35 to 52.5 months.  

There are many perks to the EB-5. Investors have the best path to receiving permanent residency status in the US through this visa. After five years of permanent residence in the US, permanent residents can apply to be naturalised US citizens. 

Other perks include a lack of requirement for the investor to have a permanent job offer in the US, or the lack of requirement to maintain a home-country business.  

However, the investment outlay is large, and the processing times are long for the EB-5. 

Other residency options in the US

There are other visa options in the US, but these are generally not considered to be immigrant visas. The E-2 treaty investor visas are non-immigrant visas. These visas are for entrepreneurs from foreign countries, countries which hold a Treaty of Trade and Commerce with the US. 

The E-2 is a less substantial outlay of money compared to the EB-5. The US does not give a specified amount as to what must be invested. Unofficially, the investment outlay for the E-2 is recognised as $100,000 or more.  

Investors aiming to invest less than $100,000 will struggle to have their applications approved.  

The E-2 visa allows foreign investors and their families to stay in the US for up to two years, to embark upon the business of their investment in the US.  

The EB-1 visa is for outstanding, first-preference immigrants to the US. These tend to be professors, researchers, multinational executives or top managers. 

This will grant a Green Card to these individuals and their families.  

This is exclusive and difficult to obtain due to the ‘extraordinary ability’ requirement of the EB-1. 

Which visa is for me?

Most people will be best suited to the EB-5 visa, though they should be wary of the significant processing time and investment outlay.  

If you are resident of a treaty country, then the EB-2 will be a viable option. If you believe yourself to fall within the EB-1 extraordinary ability, the EB-1 may be viable for you.