It isn’t news that the United States is the most sought-after immigration destination around the globe, being the home of the world’s largest economy and state-of-the-art health and education facilities, as well as its perpetual proposal of a better life and unparalleled freedom. What also isn’t exactly news is that immigrating to the United States can be tough. Stifling restrictions, temporary visa access, and exit requirements upon visa expiration—these are the challenges that accompany most employment- and education-based visas in the United States. The permanent resident status gained through EB5 investment participation, however, can altogether eliminate those issues and others.
An argument can certainly be made for foreign nationals who question the utility of an EB-5 visa. It is possible, for instance, to attend or to send one’s children to school in the United States, purchase U.S. property, and vacation in the country all without permanent residency status. But savvy EB5 investment participants understand why this pathway into the United States is worth it, including the real possibility of earning a handsome return on investment in the process.
Below, find out more about what propels many foreign nationals’ belief that EB-5 investment for U.S. permanent residency status is superior to other employment- and education-based U.S. visas.
Green Card Holder Travel Advantages
While millions travel to the United States every year, one of the most important aspects of any immigrant’s journey to a new place (whether shorter- or longer-term) is the ability to remain connected with and have viable access to their home country and their loved ones who remain there. That said, visitor visas come with the most travel restrictions.
Travelers with visa waivers, for instance, can only stay in the country for 90 days max. B2 visas allow for a six-month stay, and after that, an extension must be requested. On top of time restrictions, travelers are also very limited in their permitted activities while visiting the United States. Working, studying, and performing for pay are all prohibited.
This is not so for EB-5 investment visa-holders. In general, permanent residents enjoy the same kinds of travel benefits U.S. citizens do. EB-5 investors can stay in the country indefinitely. They are free to engage in any employment and educational activity they choose. They (and their eligible family members) are also allowed to travel to any country that participates in a travel treaty with the United States, simply by showing the border guards their green card.
However, there is one restriction for permanent residents that citizens do not have: they must spend more than six months inside the United States each year. To maintain their permanent residency status, every green card holder is required to demonstrate their intention to live permanently in the United States, so it is important to be careful about spending too much time abroad. Otherwise, their intent to be a permanent resident may be questioned.
Strategic planning with an experienced EB-5 attorney upon completion of a successful EB5 investment, though, will prove paramount in splitting time between the United States and an investor’s homeland without concern of jeopardizing their U.S. immigration status.
Another advantage of the travel benefits afforded to EB5 investment participants who have earned their green cards is easier access to investment resources.
Investing in the United States as a Green Card Holder
It is true that the United States permits foreign nationals to deposit capital into U.S. banks, to make real estate purchases, and to otherwise invest without regard to nationality or residence. However, gaining U.S. permanent residency status makes the process a whole lot easier and far more secure. How so? For starters, as mentioned above, being able to travel easily between the United States and an investor’s home country provides greater access to their own investment resources.
Holding a U.S. green card can be particularly helpful for EB-5 investors from countries that traditionally face political instability. It can help them avoid the obstacles that can accompany U.S. sanctions. While sanctions can prove a major threat to financial access for temporary visa holders, those with a U.S. green card can maintain access to their U.S. bank accounts even when U.S. sanctions are placed against their home country. Furthermore, permanent residency status also provides more protection in any legal proceedings arising with financial transactions.
Besides the advantages of financial investments, there are also incalculable gains to be made through U.S. green card holders’ access to the education benefits available in the country.
Green Card Holders’ Education Benefits
Earning a degree as an international student from a prestigious U.S. university is absolutely possible without a green card. Thousands upon thousands of international students do it every year, in fact. The F-1 student visa allows international students to come into the United States to enroll and attend university or college. Unlike foreign nationals holding the EB-5 visa, though, immediately following graduation, these students are required to either return to their home country or quickly secure an employer sponsorship to obtain an employment-based visa.
Additionally, the F-1 visa program outlines strict requirements on the types of employment an international graduate may take up in the United States. Often, they are limited to university positions or ones that are required through their program of study. EB-5 visa holders, on the other hand, are allowed to pursue any job they wish throughout their period of study and afterward, just as any U.S. citizen is. They may also intern and work in their field of study during school, improving their resume before a post-graduation job search.
All of these benefits give EB-5 visa students a leading edge over their F-1 visa peers. Not to mention, the time crunch of a temporary visa is also fully eliminated in a scenario of permanent residency status, which makes for a less stressful job search after earning a degree.
Even prior to actually enrolling as a U.S. post-secondary student, those holding an EB-5 green card (say, through a parent’s EB5 investment) and choosing to attend a college or university in their current state are usually eligible for in-state tuition savings, which can save them tens of thousands of dollars in tuition each year. U.S. universities also prefer U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the application process, making the admissions process easier and less competitive for EB-5 visa holders than for truly international students. Considering this, making an EB-5 investment could, in fact, be the difference between admission and rejection for a prospective student.