The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has several visa options for eligible foreign nationals according to their family relationships, professional skills, personal background, or other characteristics.
Is it possible to obtain a green card by buying a residential property in the United States? Keep reading to find out.
If I Buy a House in USA Can I Get Green Card? – The Verdict
Foreign nationals are free to purchase real property in the country, as neither US citizenship nor permanent residence is not a legal requirement for real estate ownership.
However, buying a house in the United States does not automatically grant you eligibility for lawful permanent residence (green card). The USCIS has different categories that permit eligible foreign nationals to live permanently in the United States, such as:
- Family-based visas
- Spouse/Fiancée visas
- Widow visas
- Employment-based visas
- Investor visas
- Diversity immigrants (visa lottery) visa
- Asylee visas
Are Foreign Nationals Allowed to Buy US Property Under a Visitor or Student Visa?
There is no specific visa requirement for foreigners interested in buying residential US property. Foreign individuals entering the United States under a visitor or student visa are considered nonimmigrants.
As provided by USCIS, nonimmigrant classifications require visa holders to demonstrate they have no intention to immigrate or seek a green card.
Depending on the circumstances involved in the purchase, owning real estate may suggest an intention to immigrate – which is not permitted under a visitor or student visa. In such cases, it is essential to work with an expert attorney to assess your situation.
For example, buying a home under a visitor or student visa may not be an issue if:
- You are buying the property as a passive investment
- You seldom visit the United States
- You have irrefutable deep ties to your home country
- You are buying a vacation home
What is the Best Visa Option for US Real Estate Investment? – An Overview
Applicants willing to put down the required amount of capital may benefit from investing in real estate under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
Created in 1990 to stimulate the US economy by attracting foreign investors and boosting job creation, the EB-5 Program is administered by USCIS. The program permits foreign investors to apply for permanent residents status upon:
- Investing the required amount of capital in a US commercial enterprise, and
- Demonstrating the investment will create or preserve ten permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers
Real estate investors can buy a property to start a new enterprise or invest in an existing business. This way, it is possible to fulfill two requirements at once, considering the bulk of the investment is used to purchase the premises to operate the EB-5 business.
In Florida, there are several opportunities to buy distressed properties at significantly lower prices, which results in a substantial saving in purchase costs. To find a strategy that meets your needs, make sure to consult with a well-versed attorney for an individual assessment.