Indeed, it is possible to get a green card through investment in Florida real estate. Nonetheless, the process is quite complex and requires a strategic approach. In this article, we will discuss how to use an EB-5 visa to invest in real estate and get a US green card.
What is the EB-5 Visa? – An Introduction
As provided by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the EB-5 program permits eligible foreign investors to apply for lawful permanent residence (green card) in the country upon:
- Investing the required amount in a US-based commercial enterprise, and
- Demonstrating the investment will either create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers
Currently, the required standard minimum investment amount is $1 million. However, if the investor decides to invest in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), the minimum investment amount is significantly reduced to $500,000.
One of the crucial aspects of the EB-5 visa is that the capital invested must be put at risk in a new commercial enterprise engaged in lawful activities.
Federal regulations specify that, depending on the type of real estate investment, the business may be considered a noncommercial activity. The EB-5 requirements do not accept passive or speculative businesses, as they do not meet the commercial enterprise requirement.
Also, depending on the applicant’s business plan, investing in real estate might not create or preserve ten full-time jobs for qualified workers. Hence, expert legal guidance is vital to ensure your application actually meets the USCIS requirements.
Can I Get a Green Card If I Invest in Real Estate? – Feasible Solutions Only
It is not possible to obtain a US green card simply due to passively putting capital in different investment(s) in real estate. Under US law, this category of foreign investor would be eligible for non-temporary visas that do not offer a direct path for lawful permanent residence (green card).
Although not exactly a traditional real estate investment, it is possible to obtain an EB-5 visa by starting a new business enterprise (or investing in an existing company) while purchasing the real property where the business will operate.
Therefore, rather than leasing the commercial space to operate an EB-5 business enterprise, the applicant must acquire the real estate as part of the total amount invested. As a consequence, the value of the property will be considered by USCIS in the applicant’s assessment.
However, the investment in real estate only counts toward the EB-5 minimum investment amount if the applicant can prove that the investment is directly associated with the creation or preservation of ten full-time jobs for US workers.
Hence, foreign investors will not obtain a green card simply by speculating in the real estate market or investing their money indirectly. Plus, applicants must not forget the job creation requirements, which instantly exclude the eligibility of any passive investment(s) in real estate.
It is crucial noting that satisfying the job creation requirement is a bit more complex, as it requires a well-structured business plan. Ultimately, the only way to find a real solution is to sit down with an expert attorney to have an individual assessment.