One of the most popular reasons for investors all over the world to participate in the EB-5 program is the benefits the program can afford one’s children, such as better access to high-quality U.S. colleges and universities.
The high-pressure and increasingly competitive education system in China, as well as the growing pollution across large Chinese cities and the restrictions on freedom imposed by an authoritarian government, have resulted in unparalleled popularity of the EB-5 visa program among wealthy Chinese families. In many cases, families are hoping to secure a better future for their children.
For $1.8 million, or $900,000 if the EB-5 project is located in a targeted employment area (TEA), Chinese parents can invest in EB-5 projects directly or through regional centers and eventually secure U.S. green cards for themselves, their spouse, and their unmarried children younger than 21. The investment money must remain at risk throughout the entire process, and for United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to issue a green card, the investment must create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. citizens or residents.
The EB-5 program is generally preferred over other investment programs such as the EB-1C visa due to the relatively little involvement the investor needs to have in the project. EB-5 investors who work with reputable regional centers and immigration attorneys are typically successful, gaining not only permanent residency in the US but also a lucrative return on their investments.
The Benefits of Immigrating to the US on an Investment Visa
There are many different investment visa programs wealthy foreign nationals can choose if they are looking to immigrate to the US. Discussing one’s options with an experienced immigration attorney is highly recommended. The following are some factors investors should consider in their decision:
- Why is the investor looking to start a new life in the US?
- How much capital does the investor have available to put toward immigration?
- Does the investor have children?
- If so, how many, and what are their ages?
- Does the investor intend to enroll his or her children in the U.S. public education system?
- Does the investor intend to open a business in the US?
- If so, what kind of role does he or she intend to play in the organization?
- Does the investor understand U.S. cultural norms?
- How proficient is the investor in English?
The Case of Min Zhang
Min is proud of the successful tech company she runs in Shenzhen, and she and her husband, Qiang, are satisfied with the life and connections they have in China. Neither of them speak English well, and they are unfamiliar with the customs and cultural practices of the US, so they do not wish to immigrate there. However, their daughter, Jing, is studying business at a prestigious New York college and would like to permanently move to the US following her graduation.
It would be difficult for Jing to secure a U.S. visa by finding employment and being sponsored for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa, given the intense competition in the U.S. business world. She could also be selected for immigration in the yearly H-1B lottery, but her chances are extremely slim. Min could expand her tech business to the US so that Jing could obtain an L-1 visa and apply for a green card through the EB-1 program, but since Min is unfamiliar with the business customs and market dynamics in the US, she does not believe this would be a wise move for her business.
The costs associated with expanding her business to the US would also likely be significant. Given Jing’s limited experience in the real business world, Min would likely need to oversee large parts of the U.S. operation, necessitating numerous trips to the US. She would most likely end up spending significantly more than the $900,000 or $1.8 million needed for the EB-5 program, and she would be burdened with the additional stress of trying to operate a business in an unfamiliar environment and a foreign language.
After considering her options carefully, Min decides to give her daughter $900,000 to invest in an EB-5 regional center project, allowing Jing to apply for conditional permanent residence by submitting an I-526 petition. This investment will allow Jing to gain useful business experience without taking on a major role in the management of the new commercial enterprise, as well as, of course, attain a green card. Min and Qiang can remain comfortably in China, and if they wish to retire to the US to spend more time with their daughter, Jing can easily sponsor their green cards by submitting an immediate relative petition.
There are thousands of parents all over China in Min’s situation. Their options for helping their children obtain a permanent life in the US are many, but EB-5 regional center investment is usually the best option if they wish to stay in China themselves. To them, the investment amount is a small price to pay for the dramatic improvement of their child’s future, and they can continue to happily operate their business in their native China. Thousands of such Chinese parents reach the same conclusion as Min after consulting with an immigration attorney.