Integrity Legal

3rd December 2010

The EB-5 Visa has been a frequently discussed topic on this blog over the past few weeks. This may be mostly due to the fact that the United States dollar has been weakening compared to other currencies in Asia as a result of the United States Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” policy. In the case of Sri Lanka currency fluctuations are less severe against the US dollar when compared to other currencies in Southern Asia. Bearing this in mind, the EB-5 visa still remains an attractive travel document to many who dream of residing in the United States of America.

The EB5 visa was designed as an Immigrant Investor visa for those making a substantial investment in the USA. Those interested in the EB-5 visa should be aware that the minimum investment is 500,000 United States dollars for targeted programs. Meanwhile, so-called “un-targeted” programs require an investment of 1 million dollars. In any case, those thinking about making an investment in the United States in order to qualify for immigration benefits should consult with an American attorney in order to ascertain whether or not an investment qualifies for immigration benefits under the EB-5 program. Monetary investment is not the only requirement which must be met in order to receive immigration benefits as the prospective immigrant must still file an immigration petition as well as a visa application. Both the immigration petition and visa application require that the prospective immigrant adhere to the relevant provisions of the United States Immigration and Nationality Act. Therefore, merely having capital to invest in the USA is not necessarily sufficient to obtain EB-5 visa benefits.

There are some individuals who are under the mistaken impression that the United States has a Citizenship by Investment program. In point of fact, the United States of American does not routinely grant Citizenship to those who merely invest money in the USA. However, the EB-5 visa could be viewed as a “path to Citizenship by investment.” This is due to the fact that those who enter the USA on an EB-5 visa and receive Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status may later be eligible to apply for naturalization to United States Citizenship provided the statutorily prescribed physical presence requirement is met along with other criteria.

Some individuals opt to retain the services of an attorney to assist with the EB-5 visa process. This may be prudent as many laypeople are unaccustomed to dealing with the United States Immigration system which can sometimes prove to be both byzantine and complicated. Those seeking an attorney are well advised to check the credentials of anyone claiming expertise in US Immigration matters as only an attorney licensed to practice law in an American jurisdiction is entitled to provide advice, counsel, and representation before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and the Department of State.

For related information please see: EB-5 Visa Sri Lanka.


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