Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘path to citizenship’

11th November 2010

In recent weeks there has been a great deal of discussion in the international media about the United States Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” of the American monetary system. Many leaders in Asia are apprehensive that the United States’ policy will result in a relative appreciation of local currencies against the dollar which for export-based nations has been a critical component of economic stability. To quote a recent article on PBS.org:

President Obama landed in Seoul, South Korea today for the Group of 20 Summit, where he will meet with leaders of the world’s most powerful economies to address issues facing the global economy…The G20 Summit is in some ways reminiscent of South Korea’s hosting of the 1988 summer Olympics, seen as an arrival of sorts on the world stage, and the 2002 World Cup, which South Korea co-hosted.

Many feel that one of the most important issues to be discussed at the G20 summit will be the recent currency fluctuations resulting from the American announcement of quantitative easing which is likely to result in capital inflows to Asian economies such as Indonesia. To quote the Voice of America website:

Uwe Parpart is the chief Asia economist and strategist in Hong Kong for the U.S. securities dealer Cantor Fitzgerald…”There are serious concerns that when the U.S. floods the world with dollars that find their way into equities, into stocks in Asia, whether in Hong Kong, in Thailand or Indonesia, the effect of that on the local economies can be quite difficult to cope with,”

Although seemingly counter-intuitive to some, the inflow of so-called “hot money” into an economy can sometimes have a negative impact upon traditional import/export relationships and also create bubbles in an economy which could ultimately prove harmful. Inflows of capital can also be beneficial. In the case of Indonesia, one upside of relative appreciation of Indonesian currency compared to the United States dollar is the fact that investors hoping to benefit from the EB-5 immigrant investor program can obtain benefits at a comparatively lower overall cost in real terms since the dollar has weakened compared to other currencies. This is no less true in the case of Indonesia as a weakening dollar can cause an appreciation of the Indonesian Rupiah. In the event that this occurs, a prospective Indonesian Immigrant Investor wishing to both invest in the United States and also accrue the benefit of United States Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card status) would be doubly fortunate when the dollar is weak as such an investment can be made more “cheaply” in terms of local currency.

Those Indonesian nationals interested in obtaining an EB-5 Visa should note that an investment of at least 500,000 United States dollars (at a minimum) must be made in order to be eligible for EB5 visa benefits. Furthermore, those seeking such a visa must also meet the eligibility requirements as set forth under relevant United States law. Those interested in immigrating to the USA as immigrant investors are well advised to contact a licensed American attorney in order to gain insight into the EB5 visa process and make informed decisions regarding immigration options.

Some are under the mistaken impression that the EB-5 visa program is a Citizenship-by-Investment program. In fact, this is not the case as an EB-5 visa merely grants the visa holder the right to reside in the United States as a Permanent Resident. That said, should an EB-5 investor, Indonesian or otherwise, remain in the USA for a statutorily prescribed period and meet other eligibility requirements, then such an individual may be eligible to naturalize to United States Citizenship. For this reason, some refer to the EB-5 program as a “path to citizenship” by investment.

For further information please see: EB-5 Visa Indonesia.

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9th November 2010

Since the topic of American Investment visas was first broached on this blog, this author has received some questions regarding the way in which United States Investment Visas actually operate in the real world. One of the most frequently asked questions pertaining to EB-5 visas is: “Can I get US Citizenship by investing in the United States?” The answer to that question is somewhat nuanced and it requires one to have a rather in-depth understanding of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor visa and the process for obtaining this type of travel document.

There are some countries around the world which have programs whereby investors can obtain virtually instantaneous citizenship simply by investing capital into the economy of the country issuing the nationality documents. In the United States, there is no program that operates this way. However, the EB-5 visa does grant the visa holder lawful permanent residence in the USA. This is a substantial benefit and should not be taken for granted as Lawful Permanent Residence is a highly sought after status that allows the Permanent Resident to permanently reside and work in the United States. Many often refer to Lawful Permanent Residence as “Green Card” status. That said, Lawful Permanent Residence is not American Citizenship. Those in the USA in Green Card status are not permitted to vote in elections, run for political office, and such individuals also cannot obtain a US passport. Although, those in Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status may be eligible to obtain a US reentry permit which allows the bearer to leave the United States for as long as two years without raising the presumption of residential abandonment.

Although there is no “citizenship by investment” program in the USA, the EB-5 visa could be the first step in the United States Naturalization process. For example, if an immigrant investor is granted an EB-5 visa and enters the United States, then that individual would be granted permanent residence upon lawful admission. After residing in the United States for a statutorily prescribed period of time, and assuming all other criteria are met, it may be possible for an EB-5 visa holder to apply for naturalization. Naturalization is the process whereby a foreign national becomes a United States Citizen. The process can be somewhat cumbersome and for those unaccustomed to dealing with immigration matters it may seem complex and frustrating at times, but upon approval of a petition for naturalization an EB-5 Immigrant Investor could theoretically obtain United States Citizenship.

Even though the United States does not offer a direct “Citizenship by Investment” program, one could argue that the US offers a “Path to Citizenship” by Investment program in the form of the EB-5 visa which places holders of said visa on track to possible American Citizenship should all other criteria be adhered to and the physical presence requirement be met.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa Thailand, EB-5 Visa China, or EB-5 Visa Taiwan.

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19th April 2009

The Path to Citizenship for Undocumented Aliens

Earlier this month President Barack Obama spoke with the President of Mexico about the issue of providing a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens in the United States. The call for comprehensive immigration reform has been brought up a great deal during the new President’s fledgling term. It is an issue that ignites passions on both sides of the aisle particularly in an economy environment in a state of decline. There is something to be said for the idea that an amnesty needs to be called to get undocumented aliens “out of the shadows,” even if a recession is threatening the jobs of American Citizens. The other side of the coin is the idea that illegal immigrants are exactly what their name implies: “illegal,” and should not in the end be rewarded for circumventing or outright violating Immigration regulations.

Many believe that the notion of America as a nation of immigrants and a melting pot of different cultures should compel the US government to make some sort of provision for granting some sort of legal status to currently undocumented aliens. Admittedly, this argument holds some merit particularly where the undocumented alien is working in the US and is not a burden to the state.

Family Immigration and Visas for Same Sex Couples


Concurrently with Comprehensive Immigration Reform there is another bill in the US Congress seeking to give another form of prospective Immigrants legal status in the United States that they do not currently retain. The Uniting of American Families Act (UAFA) seeks to add the term “permanent partner,” to the list of those eligible for US Family Immigration Benefits under US Immigration regulations.

Under the Defense of Marriage Act a marriage is recognized as a legal union between a man and a woman. Therefore, this act effectively bars same sex couples from receiving US federal recognition for a marriage (including in US states where same sex marriages and civil unions are legal). The upshot of this legislation is that it precludes same sex couples from obtaining US Immigration benefits if one of the partners is a foreign national.  The addition of  the new term “permanent partner,”  to the American Immigration and Nationality Act would allow same sex marriage and family visas without creating a legal conflict with the Defense of Marriage Act.

A New Category of Visa to be created under the UAFA?

Some lawyers and legal scholars have speculated as to what type of family visa a permanent partner would be entitled to. The term itself would seem to rule out the K1 visa because it is a fiancee visa and the use of the word “permanent” contradicts the idea of a fiance visa. At the same time, because the term specifically does not connote “marriage,” it would seem likely that a us marriage visa would be out of the question. Therefore, a “permanent partner” visa will likely be a separate category unto itself that is distinct from other family visa categories. It remains to be seen what the burden of proof will be for obtaining a “permanent partner” visa, but the fact that marriage will not be a legally recognized element for proving the relationship (at least with the Defense of Marriage Act on the books), it is likely that a large amount of evidence will be needed to prove up the bona fides of a permanent partnership.

Both Comprehensive Immigration Reform and the UAFA are necessary steps to dealing with the practical effect of immigration regulations that cause certain groups to “fall through the cracks,” of American Immigration law. However the debate on these issues is resolved, a modicum of uniformity and resolution of these matters is necessary.

Thanks for reading,

For more information about US Immigration please see:

US Visa Thailand

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