Applying for a Green Card Through Investment: Improving Your Quality of Life by Starting a Small Business in the USA

The USA is appropriately known as the land of opportunity. It is one of the world’s two superpowers; consequently, it has a potent global influence, including political, cultural, and financial leverage. The US dollar is the world’s reserve currency; thus, it has the ability to control the global financial markets to a certain extent. In summary, it does not matter how you look at it; the merits of immigrating to the USA far outweigh the challenges of moving to a new country.

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There are several ways to apply for permanent residence in the United States of America. By far, the most popular way is to apply through the Green Card Lottery. This route’s popularity is underpinned by the sheer number of people that fill out applications each year. Statistics reported by the Pew Research Center show that, in 2017, more than 22.4 million people applied to the Green Card Lottery. The record number of applications received for this program was 23 million applicants in 2016.

This lottery, also known as the DV program, or the US Diversity Lottery, was first implemented in 2005. And since then, 200 million people have applied for the program. Not all applicants are accepted, however. Countries such as Canada, UK, India, and Mexico send many immigrants to the US annually. Therefore, individuals from these nationalities are excluded from this program because its stated aim is to diversify the USA’s immigrant population by granting visas to immigrants from nations underrepresented among America’s immigrant population.

The USA only allows 50 000 people entry into the USA through the Green Card Lottery each year or about 5% of the total number of annual applicants. Statistically speaking, there is a slim chance of being awarded a green card via a random process. Fortunately, there are other ways to apply for a US residence permit.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Suppose you are a small business owner or a startup entrepreneur and are looking to start a small business in the USA. In that case, you could be eligible for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, one of five employment-based programs in the US. The US Federal Government initially created it in 1990 to stimulate the economy by creating jobs and encouraging foreign investment in American businesses. Succinctly stated, EB-5 investors are offered permanent residence, or green card, in exchange for investing in a new enterprise that adds value to the US economy and creates jobs.

When the EB-5 visa is first granted, it is only a two-year conditional visa at the start of the investment. And once all the program requirements are satisfied, the conditions are removed, and the visa reverts to a permanent residence visa. And, after five years of permanent residence, EB-5 investors can apply for US citizenship.

Because the EB-5 visa is an investment visa, there are minimum investment amounts to qualify for this program.

  • $1.8 million direct investment
  • $900,000 reduced investment for businesses in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), a rural area, or an area with an unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate
  • A new business enterprise requires an investment of at least $1 million, and it must directly create at least 10 new jobs within 2 years and benefit the US economy.

Final thoughts

While these numbers might seem exceptionally high to investors, when considered in the context of winning the Green Card Lottery, it is well worth the investment. On the other hand, if you aren’t able to cobble together these funds, the odds of succeeding in your application to the DV program are between 1:45 and 1:75, much better than the odds of winning the US Powerball lottery at 1 in 292,201,338.

Interesting Related Article: “Invest in a Targeted Employment Area and Receive an EB-5 Visa