You and your immediate family can now obtain green cards and permanent US residency with an EB5 visa by investing $500,000 into a US Government designated Regional Center. It will give each of you the security of permanent US residency without repeated visa applications. Citizenship may be obtained after five years.
Green Card. The attraction of a green card via an EB-5 investment visa is that it can be secured before you commit to emigrating. You will also have the flexibility to take any job, run any business, retire and live anywhere in the USA. As a resident you will have access to many of the benefits enjoyed by US citizens such as education and, in certain states such as Florida, you will enjoy substantial savings in property tax.
Permanent Residence. For most, emigrating to the USA is about a better quality of life. Permanent residency avoids repeated visa applications and allows you the opportunity of dual citizenship.
Enjoy an American life with American Life Inc.
For more information call our London office on
(0)20 7887 1326 or complete
the simple online registration for our latest brochure.
On this page: EB-5 in Brief What is a Regional Center? Which type of RC Investment? Program Summary Sources of Funds Job Creation American Life, Inc. UK office 3 Forms of EB-5 EB-5 History Costs Timescale Steps Before Investing. Also on our Useful Links page you can find information from and links directly to the USCIS website.
EB-5 Visa – in Brief – Permanent Residency for the Immigrant Investor
Drawbacks of other visas: Work visas tie you to a specific job, location and/or career. E-2 visas can be difficult to renew and force children over the age of 21 to leave the country. Student visas allow very limited or no work.
It’s fair to say that no-one wants to invest $500,000, plus nearly $60,000 in related costs, to secure a green card. The fact that so many do so is a strong indication of how hard it is to obtain Permanent Residency in the US.
Advantages of the EB-5 visa
- Permanent Residence for the whole family with one investment.
- Husband, wife and all unmarried children under 21 receive Green Cards.
- Live anywhere in USA.
- Take any job, run or start any business, even retire.
- Any nationality may apply.
- No language requirement.
- Same privileges as a US citizen:-
- Free public school education.
- Same University fees.
- Access to Medicare after 5 years.
- Wider job market for your children in the future.
- Property tax savings in some states like Florida.
- Citizenship after five years.
Requirements of the EB-5 visa
- Net worth of $1 million, or high annual income
- Minimum investment of $500,000
- Associated costs circa $60,000, including:-
- Fee to American Life for structuring the investment. (No further management fee is taken until the property is developed and generating income.)
- Specialist EB-5 attorney
- Medical check
- Filing fees to the USCIS
- Birth certificates
- Marriage certificate
- Copy of passport pages
- Police Record check
- No previous US immigration violations
- Detailed documentation for source of funds
- Time to obtain Conditional Green Card, 16-18 months.
- Time to secure Permanent Green Card, circa 4 years
Advantages of American Life Regional Centers
- American Life returns 70% of income to investors + 100% of bank interest on cash. (Most Regional Centers retain circa 90% of the investment income.)
- Job creation is structured at circa 13 jobs per investor. To achieve this conservative approach, some bank borrowing and institutional investors are used to boost the job count for EB-5 investors.
- If you change your emigration plans, you may exit your equity investment at anytime
- Dispose of your equity investment after circa 4 years under visa rules
Qualifications of American Life Regional Centers
- Over 1200 EB-5 investors
- 17 years’ experience with the EB-5 program (since 1996)
- The most popular Regional Center
- A business model with limited debt
- Every EB-5 project has met job creation and all other USCIS requirements
- We have more investors with unconditional Permanent Residence (540) than any other RC
- No denials at conditions' removal stage (I-829)
- The only Regional Center attracting US investors as well as pension funds and other institutional investors
- Over 450 US investors, unique among Regional Centers
- Experience with investors from Africa, Australia, Brazil, Britain, China, Colombia, Continental Europe, India, Iran, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Middle East, etc. etc.
What is a Regional Center?
A Regional Center is an area designated by the USCIS (United States Citizenship & Immigration Services) as eligible to receive immigrant investor capital. They are especially attractive because investors may rely on indirect job creation rather than directly hiring ten employees.
Some Regional Centers encourage the perception that, because Regional Centers are Government designated, the investments have the Government’s stamp of approval. They do not.
Please be aware that all Regional Centers are Government designated for purposes of "immigration", not for the investment. You should assess the investment on its own merits and seek professional investment advice. Any claims that an investment is "pre-approved" is simply not the case. Pre-approval of EB-5 investments has been included in the Bill currently going through Congress. (June 2013. We let everyone on our mailing list know about changes to the legislation in our EB-5 updates.)
The law states that a Regional Center investment must be ‘at risk’. That means it cannot be guaranteed. Apart from that, it does not have to be ‘risky’.
Which type of Regional Center investment?
There are three types of Regional Center investments. If you decide that the EB-5 is your visa of choice, the next key decision is to select a Regional Center which −
- protects your capital
- has a long record of success with visa applications
- doesn't tie up your capital for any longer than necessary
- compensates for inflation and risk with income and prospects for capital growth
1 Loan Based Investments
Most Regional Centers now offer ‘loan’ based schemes, where EB-5 funds are lent to another organisation, usually for commercial property development or the construction of city infrastructure. In most cases the loans are used by the borrower as capital on which bank debt is secured. The problem is that the entire project is then funded by debt, which is very risky. The probability is that EB-5 investors are subordinate to the banks. In the event of an interest default or a shortfall upon sale, EB-5 investors are most likely to suffer partial or total loss.
American Life's loan-based investments are structured to provide security for the investor's capital and a respectable annual return. In the event of a default, the asset can be sold. That is, American Life requires the developer to fund circa 25-30% of the project. EB-5 funds provide the balance via a loan which takes the asset as security. So in the event of an interest payment default, the developer carries most of the risk.
2 Equity Investments – active trading businesses
Equity investments are asset based and can be either property or actively trading businesses. Active trading businesses are managed directly by the company operating the Regional Center. The active trading businesses are small and are not on any recognised stock exchange. They are vulnerable to market forces such as demand and competition, so their value and prospects are hard to assess. Sadly, a few such investments have failed. Funds can be lost entirely and, if some capital is recovered, it might take a considerable time.
3 Equity Investments – property
As any fund manager will testify, most investments carry risks, and that includes property. But a property with limited debt carries almost no risk of loss. Compared to a trading activity or a loan, a property is a small piece of ‘planet earth’ that cannot be taken away. Buildings may be destroyed, but if insured, will be replaced. Values do decline in recessionary periods, as we saw after 2008, but history has demonstrated that property prices soon rise again to surpass previous peaks. This has been the case in every recession throughout history and we are currently witnessing a return of institutional interest in commercial property, and a hardening of values once again. Location too affects risk. If you can choose an area where the property prices have historically grown or remained relatively stable, then risk is further reduced.
American Life − a property based Regional Center
Here are some reasons why American Life is the most popular EB-5 Regional Center manager −
- We are the longest established Regional Center management company, founded in 1996.
- 30% of our investors are US citizens who have no need of a visa and who invest on the same terms and share the same investments as immigrant investors. No other Regional Center attracts US citizens as investors.
- Our investments are freehold commercial properties with limited debt in a location of long term stability. We have only recently used some debt, due to the historically low rates of interest. When debt is so cheap it should be exploited, so long as it represents a minority of required capital. It increases the equity percentage and the number of jobs per EB-5 investor.
- We have the best record of income and capital growth of any Regional Center.
- We attract more immigrant investors than any other Regional Center.
- Income on cash is paid to investors, usually monthly.
- Rental income of approximately 4 per cent, net of management charge, is paid to investors monthly.
- Our projects have a 100 per cent success record with both EB-5 visa processing and 'Conditions' Removal, some two years after emigrating.
- We have a sales people to sell your shares, once visa conditions have been removed.
- You may sell your shares and exit whenever you wish. If your circumstances change and you abandon your visa application, you are not contracted to American Life for any period. Most Regional Centers tie you in for five, six or seven years.
A Green Card and Permanent Residency gives the holder, and his or her immediate family, the right to live, study and work anywhere in the US. There are many visa categories. Some allow you to apply for a green card after you have been in the USA for a specific period, but most do not. The EB-5 visa is unusual in that it provides you with a green card at the outset.
Work, study, or retire, the choice is yours
The current legislation enables EB-5 Regional Center investors to retire to the USA and provides families with immigration security, eliminating the worry of reapplying and the risk of changes to immigration rules, as with most other visa categories. It is the only visa which allows retirement to the US. It also provides the flexibility to live anywhere, study or take any job, own and operate any business, and to change employment or career without restrictions.
Equal visa status for every member of your family.
When you emigrate, you do so knowing that you and your immediate family have Permanent Residency. For immigration purposes, ‘immediate family’ is defined as the investor, the investor’s spouse, and all their unmarried children under the age of 21 at the time of the visa application. That is, if the EB-5 application is filed before the child is 21 – even though he or she turns 21 during the process – your child is eligible for the EB-5 visa. Adopted children are also eligible.
Your children may attend schools or apply to universities with the same rights as a US citizen. As long as they remain resident in the US, their rights do not end after they turn 21. Each member of the family may apply for citizenship after holding their green card for five years and dual citizenship is allowed by the United States. Your children will have the advantage of job opportunities in the US and in your country of origin.
Funds may come from any legal foreign or US source; including gifts, loans, executive pension funds (SIPPS), trusts and divorce settlements. Whoever receives the visa must make the investment. Borrowed investment funds qualify as long as they are not secured by the assets of the EB-5 investment.
The 2003 Regional Center investment legislation was introduced as a Pilot Program, and has been extended through September 2015. The title of the program has since been changed to the Immigrant Investor Program.
All American Life's ten Regional Centers are certified as high unemployment areas which keeps the minimum investment to $500,000.
Before making properties available to EB-5 investors, American Life uses an economist to quantify sufficient indirect employment, using the ‘Job Multiplier’ formula in accordance with practices accepted by the USCIS. Our 100% record of conditions removal since 1996 attests to our successful job creation.
Direct employment is sometimes promoted as being better than indirect employment. This is not so. Using the direct employment method, job creation calculations are done when conditions are being removed, some 2 years after you emigrate. If the Regional Center which uses direct employment has failed to secure enough jobs at that time, it would result in the denial of your visas.
In 2011 the USCIS announced some changes to the visa requirements, in particular the calculation of jobs. To accommodate the USCIS, American Life has adopted a conservative approach, seeking circa 13 jobs per investor. To achieve this, it attracts funding from institutional investors and may utilise some bank funding. Such funding represents a minority of the required capital.
American Life Inc.
American Life is a commercial property development and management company offering ‘EB-5 qualifying’ investments in prime commercial real estate. Established in Seattle, it now manages or jointly manages ten Regional Centers across five states: Georgia, California, Florida, New York and Washington. We have more than one billion US dollars invested, of which $600 million is from immigrant investors.
Almost one third of the company’s investors are non-immigrants, born and bred US citizens who have no need of a green card. We have been buying, developing and managing commercial property for seventeen years. Our successful business model is highly regarded and appeals not only to resident Americans, but also corporate investors, including institutional investors such as pension funds. We offer a safe, income bearing investment which has provided US Residency for some 1200 immigrants from across the globe.
We have an active resale facility. Investors may sell at anytime. Unlike most Regional Centers which require a minimum of five or six years, our EB-5 applicants may sell as soon as Conditions have been removed, usually a little 3.5 to 4 years. (NB: Recently, the USCIS has decreed that, within certain new Regional Centers, EB-5 investments must be held for no less than five years.) Should an investor decide not to emigrate, he/she may sell at any time. However, it should be noted that if the project is still in its construction phase, a sale will be more difficult. US investors, who make up the majority of buyers, are looking for income, as well as capital growth. We advise anyone looking to exit, to await completion of the project and stabilised income. This will establish the value and make it more attractive.
In the event of a visa denial, the company will return your $500,000 and the $39,000 fee. For full details, see a Subscription Agreement which is contained in every Offering Circular.
We work alongside a number of specialist EB-5 immigration attorneys and economists, specialists in job creation methodologies. Our collective Regional Center expertise has been a major factor in maintaining a 100 per cent success record in securing green cards.
American Life is the only Regional Center to have offices outside the USA. In Europe, investor relations are managed by Taroa Investment Company Limited, an international property investment company, providing advice to English-speaking communities on the EB-5 visa and American Life property investments.
Richard Robinson is available to ensure everyone is fully informed and looked after at each stage of the investment and immigration process. If you have any questions, please contact Richard on +44 (0)20 7887 1326 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
EB-5 Visa − and the three forms of Investment Green Card
The USCIS (the US Citizenship and Immigration Service) refers to this category as an Investment or Employment-based Green Card since it is based on an investment in a US business which will create at least ten US jobs.
The EB-5 Visa approves your green card before you emigrate. The legislation does not require you to manage the day-to-day affairs of a business; you may invest in an existing or a new business; more than one person may invest and you may be a minority owner. You may live anywhere in the US no matter where the investment is made and are free to do whatever you wish, be it study, work, run a business or retire.
An EB-5 visa has three different forms −
- Invest $1,000,000 into a business and hire ten employees anywhere in the USA, or
- Invest $500,000 and hire ten employees in an area where the unemployment rate is 150% of the national average or the rural population is less than 20,000, or
- Invest $500,000 into a Government designated Regional Center and avoid direct employment.
Over 90 percent of EB-5 applicants invest in a Regional Center.
The EB-5 Regional Center program was suspended in 1998 as a result of fraud and, it might be argued, insufficient policing by the immigration authority at that time.
The program was reintroduced in December 2003. It is now supervised by the USCIS which applies a stringent assessment of all immigration applicants and their sources of capital. This Investment Visa Program, through strong bipartisan support in Congress, has been extended until September 2015.
A proposed bill (in June 2013) to make the EB-5 visa permanent will increase the available number of visas from 10,000 individuals to 10,000 families, roughly trebling the number of EB-5 visas available each year. The proposed bill would also increase the minimum EB-5 investment sum in January 2016 by the rate of inflation in 2015. The Bill awaits approval/amendment by Congress and we will bring you further news in due course.
- In addition to the minimum capital contribution of $500,000, American Life requires a fee of $39,000.
- Legal fees vary according to the work involved and can range between $15,000 - $25,000.
- The EB5 visa filing fee, payable to the USCIS, is $1,500 per applicant family.
- The fee to the NVC (National Visa Center) is $380 per family member.
- (only for those attending Embassy interviews) USCIS Immigrant Fee of $165.
- Medical examinations vary from country to country, but can be about $320 for each adult and $150 for children under 15.
The total fees for a family of two adults and a child can total between $47,000 - 68,000.
Taroa Investment Company, as an agent of American Life Inc., does not charge a fee.
Green card. After you have invested and your attorney has submitted your visa application, green card processing takes approximately 16/18 months. Processing times vary and we advise that, for planning important issues such as children’s schooling, it is best to allow 21 months between visa application and the issue of your green card. This green card is 'conditional', see Permanent Residency below. You may find some Regional Centers which claim more rapid visa processing. This is not the case.
Permanent residency. Once you have emigrated, you must apply to have ‘conditions’ removed from your green card after 1 year and 9 months in the USA. Processing takes six or eight months. ‘Conditions’ removal means that all family members have permanent residency and the visa is no longer tied to the investment.
The investment. The minimum period for an American Life EB-5 investment is approximately four years. This is the time between making the investment and 'conditions' removal (permanent residency). Once conditions are removed you are free to sell your investment.
Citizenship. EB-5 visa investors who have held a green card for 5 years are eligible to apply for US citizenship. However, to receive citizenship, it is necessary to have spent at least 50% of the five years within the United States.
Steps before investing −
- Discussion. Discuss the EB-5 visa, its requirements and our current investment projects with Richard Robinson. Richard is familiar with the many US visas.
- Meeting. You may prefer to meet. Meetings are private, informal and free of charge. Richard is in the London office most weeks, but also travels around the UK, South Africa, India and some continental European countries.
- Information. You may also review our frequently asked questions and client testimonials. The Guide for New Immigrants on our useful links page explains the rights and responsibilities of US Permanent Residents, i.e. EB-5 visa holders.
- Analysis. Look over our EB-5 qualifying current projects and request a prospectus.
- Accredited Advice. Treat this as you would any other significant investment. Seek advice from an accredited professional.
- Travel. Consider a trip to Seattle to meet the American Life team and visit the Regional Center to see the property you might invest in.
- Attorney. If you wish to emigrate, appoint an immigration attorney. American Life has a 'panel' of approved* and experienced EB-5 attorneys. Once your attorney has reviewed and assessed your documentation, fund the $539,000 to enable your EB-5 visa petition to be compiled and submitted.
- Investment. Your visa application may not be submitted until your investment is fully funded. This ensures American Life can fulfil its business plan promptly and efficiently. American Life guarantees a full refund of your investment and syndication fee if your EB-5 petition is unsuccessful.
* American Life requires that all its EB-5 investment applications are managed by one of the ‘Panel’ attorneys. You may appoint an attorney of your choosing. However, we do require that your attorney works with a member of our Panel. Neither American Life nor Taroa Investment Company receives commission or reward from our Panel of Attorneys. Our goal is your successful visa petition.