South African Citizens Can Benefit From the EB-5 Investment Immigration Visa Porgram


Update: The minimum investment amount for the EB-5 Regional Center Program increased from $500,000 to $800,000 on March 15, 2022.

Q: What is the EB-5 Investment Immigrant Visa?

A: It’s a tremendous program in the US that allows a foreign national to invest in a USCIS approved business enterprise, and by making that single investment, obtain a Green Card for themselves, their spouse and their minor children.

Q: How much is the EB-5 investment?

A: As we sit here today, the investment is $800,000.

Q: How long does it take to get an EB-5 application approved?

A: Difficult question, because we’re dealing with USCIS. They don’t give us definite numbers. What they tell us is “this is our average”. Right now they’re quoting about 24-36 months. Our experience is significantly less than that, probably closer to 2 years.

Q: How likely is it that I’ll get a Green Card?

A: You know it’s about as certain as it can be. If you invest in a USCIS approved project that does what it said it’s going to do, and you have the counsel of an experienced investment immigration attorney.

Q: Do you charge for consultations for those interested in the EB-5 program?

A: Absolutely not. I have a philosophy that I want my clients to have all the information they need to make the wisest decision they can for themselves and their family. That may take one consultation, it may take several over several months, but I want them to feel comfortable about making what is a large investment that is really going to control the future of themselves and their family.

Q: What do I actually get?

A: You become a permanent resident of the United States, which means you are a Green Card holder, which means you can enjoy all the benefits of the United States, living where you want, working for who you want, and enjoying the economic and educational opportunities we all value.

Q: What’s the next step?

A: Well, that’s going to depend on where you are. If you’re in a foreign country, we would immediately begin working with the National Visa Center here in the US, who would in turn send an entire package to the consulate in your home country, you and the entire family would go in for an interview and at the conclusion of that interview, they would stamp your passport with what is called an immigrant visa – this is a special visa that allows you to immigrate to the United States. After you have that visa, sometime during the next six months, the entire family is going to come to the United States and you’ll go through customs. When you go through customs, they will stamp your passport and from that moment on you are considered a US Permanent Resident.

Now on the other hand, if you’re here on a temporary visa, such as a student visa or an H1 as a worker, in that case, if you’re lawfully present in the United States, we cam immediately file for your Green Card in the US and there’s no requirement that you return to your home country.

Q: I understand the Green Card is conditional. What does that mean?

A: That’s a great question, and that’s something that’s misunderstood. You do receive a Green Card when you’re approved, and that Green Card is so-called “conditional”, but it’s conditioned on only two things: one, that your funds remain invested and that the investment you made did what it said it was going to do – it created the jobs in the United States. A conditional Green Card has all the rights and privileges of any Green Card.

Q: Why now?

A: Very important question. USCIS processing times keep increasing and the sooner you apply, the sooner you will receive your permanent residency. 

Q: Tell me more about my investment.

A: Generally you’re going to be investing in a USCIS approved real estate development. What happens is you make an investment and you become what is called a limited partner in a limited partnership. That limited partnership then in turn loans the money to the USCIS approved development.

Q: How long does the money remain invested?

A: Generally it’s going to be between 5-7 years. We see most common at about six years.

Q: What is the return on the EB-5 investment?

A: That’s something I have to explain to my clients. Essentially in real terms, the return on your investment is the Green Card for yourself, your spouse and your minor children. You will receive nominal interest generally at 0.25% to 0.5% per annum.

Q: Are there any guarantees that the investor gets their money back?

A: That’s an important term that we can’t use. USCIS dictates that your investment must be “at risk”. That is really a term of art – that does not mean a big risk. If you have the investment examined by a securities professional and you’re under the direction of an experienced investment immigration attorney, you can secure your investment as much as possible.

Q: How do you select the EB-5 investment?

A: We recommend that our clients secure the services of a securities professional that will do necessary due diligence before they make their investment.

Q: What are the advantages of a EB-5 Green Card in the United States?

A: That’s a very important question and very personal to my clients, but I can tell you from experience that my clients are making the investment for their children. They’re looking for the unlimited educational opportunities this country offers. They are looking for unlimited economic opportunities and future for the children and their family that this country offers.  And also obviously the freedoms that we enjoy in the United States.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions on EB-5. We're here to help!

Vaughan de Kirby
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San Francisco California EB-5 Investment Immigration Attorney

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