Callback Contact +1 514 288 1997
The Global Leader in
Residence and Citizenship by Investment

Moving to America: Renewed Demand for US EB-5

Dmytro Chernega

Dmytro Chernega

Dmytro Chernega, IMCM, is a Private Client Advisor and Program Manager for the US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program at Henley & Partners.

The USA has long been a magnet both for the world’s rich and those seeking fame and fortune. It is the world’s largest economy and remains the undisputed leader in terms of private wealth creation and accumulation, accounting for 32% of global liquid investable wealth — a colossal USD 67 trillion. America is also home to 37% of the world’s millionaires: some 5.5 million high-net-worth individuals with over USD 1 million in liquid investable assets are based there, and a net inflow of 3,800 more millionaires is projected for 2024. Many will relocate to the country by participating in the US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, as recent changes have resulted in reduced waiting times and increased security for applicants, leading to renewed demand. 

The enduring appeal of America

Against a backdrop of economic instability, ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East and increasing divisions in societies around the globe, we’re experiencing an era of extreme uncertainty. Mindful of the dangers, many wealthy individuals are seeking to acquire residence rights in other countries to reduce the risk they are exposed to. Countries across the globe are seeing some of their wealthiest citizens leave in search of stability, security, and better opportunities elsewhere. One of the most popular countries for migrating millionaires and their families is the USA.

From a geographical perspective, America offers something for everyone. The USA is a sprawling country with a range of landscapes, including the beautiful beaches of California, the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains, scorching deserts in the southwestern states, the prairies of the Midwest, the badlands of South Dakota, and the Everglades of Florida. Away from the so-called Lower 48 states, there’s also the polar paradise of Alaska and the tropical island of Hawaii. 

Businessman in a suit on mobile phone in cab with New York City buildings and US flag in the background

That diversity extends to the range of opportunities on offer. To name just a few, the USA is home to Silicon Valley and its booming tech scene, the Hollywood film industry, and many of the biggest companies in the world. And while there is a multitude of vibrant social scenes in some of the world’s wealthiest cities, there is also ample scope to enjoy a peaceful life in a sparsely populated area.

Land of opportunity

America is also one of the best places to provide opportunity for your family. In addition to the range of jobs to choose from, it’s an education hotspot, with US universities consistently ranking among the world’s best. All this is reflected in the USA taking 2nd place in the Henley Opportunity Index, a benchmarking tool that quantifies the impact and probability of success that a top education coupled with additional residence rights and/or alternative citizenships acquired through investment migration can have on preserving and growing multi-generational wealth. According to the June 2024 Henley Opportunity Index, the USA has a total opportunity score of 82%, performing particularly well in terms of earning potential, top-tier employment prospects, and career advancement, and second only to the UK in terms of premium education.

From a practical perspective, a US passport is very useful for investors who eventually gain US citizenship, which is possible after five years of legal residence. It provides considerable economic mobility, with a passport power score of 73.7% — in other words, it provides visa-free access to 188 destinations that represent 73.7% of the world’s GDP. Far more than a travel document that defines your freedom of movement, a US passport provides significant financial freedoms in terms of international investment and business opportunities.

And for those at the end of their working careers, America is a great place to retire, with the sunny climes and relaxed lifestyle of Florida a huge draw for large numbers of wealthy retirees.

The pioneering US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

Given all these benefits it’s no surprise that the number of wealthy investors considering moving to the USA is increasing — last year, Henley & Partners received a record number of enquiries about the US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, which offers an efficient route to permanent resident status (a so-called Green Card) in a relatively short period of time. 

The US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created in 1990 and first launched as a pilot in 1992,  to boost the US economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. The program has undergone several reforms in the intervening years, the most recent of which was in 2022, when President Joe Biden signed the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, making significant improvements. For example, it set up an EB-5 Integrity Fund to detect and investigate fraud and ensure compliance with immigration laws; it enables investors who are already in the USA to apply for permanent resident status  while their EB-5 application is pending, helping them to obtain work and travel permits more quickly; and it provides stronger investor protections.

The program is now prioritizing investments in areas with high unemployment — targeted employment areas (TEAs) — and setting aside specific visas every year for investors in these regions. There are also clauses in place to make sure investors who applied for a permit before the rules changed are still eligible and not disadvantaged by the changes. 

The result of the program reforms has been a resurgence in demand, with significantly more applications being processed, and more being approved. The reserved visas for TEAs have been particularly beneficial in terms of helping Chinese and Indian investors to immigrate more quickly and backlogs for applicants from countries such as China, India, and Vietnam are clearing up. According to Invest in the USA’s EB-5 Data Dashboard, since 2000, almost 123,000 qualified investors and their family members have obtained legal permanent residence in the USA via the program, and in 2024 YTD almost 6,000 EB-5 visas have been issued.

The program requirements

The US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program requires an applicant to invest at least USD 800,000 in a TEA project (rising to USD 1,050,000 for non-TEA projects) as well as create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified American workers. They must also provide proof that their funds come from legal sources. Successful applicants’ spouses and unmarried children under 21 years of age can join them for no additional investment.

On average, applicants receive their initial conditional green cards after between 12 and 36 months. They can apply for this to be converted into a regular green card two years later. To be eligible for citizenship, green card holders must have lived continuously in the USA for at least five years prior to naturalization. They must also show that they have been physically present in the USA for at least 30 months out of the five years immediately before filing for naturalization and must be able to read, write, and speak basic English. Other than a civics test, minimal additional conditions are required in order to obtain citizenship. 

The US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is a popular pathway for entrepreneurial investors seeking US residence, and the recent reforms have only served to strengthen the program’s appeal as they provide more security and transparency for applicants and have speeded up the process. This has been reflected in the increase in applications, with the program proving particularly popular among investors from across the globe. In today’s uncertain world, we expect the lure of the wealth of opportunity and high quality of life on offer in the USA to endure. 

Contact us today

Henley & Partners assists international clients in obtaining residence and citizenship under the respective programs. Contact us to arrange an initial private consultation.


Contact us today

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience. Click Accept all to proceed as specified, or click Allow selection to choose the types of cookies you will accept. For more information please visit our Cookies Policy.