United States of America Overview

The United States of America remains one of the most desired destinations for migrants and investors from all over the world. The USA has a complex immigration system, and in each case it is warranted to assess the individual situation thoroughly in order to establish the immigration route offering the best chances.

There are interesting immigration possibilities for investors, and under the EB-5 program you may be granted permanent resident status (a "Green card") within a short period of time.

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

For those who do wish to acquire permanent resident ("Green card") status, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is the most efficient way to acquire such status. Since 1990 when Congress created this program, each year, the USA government allocates a substantial number of visas for individuals who wish to make a significant investment in a new commercial enterprise in the USA. Under this program, individuals, and their immediate family members, can become permanent residents of the USA within a short period of time.

The EB-5 program requires that a foreign individual invests USD$ 1 million or USD 500,000 if the investment is made in a rural area or an area with high unemployment into a new commercial enterprise and create 10 new full-time jobs. Funds must stay invested and be at risk until permanent resident status is granted (usually about 4 years).

Regional Center Program

A certain number of visas are set aside for individuals who apply under the Regional Center Program. There are a number of designated "Regional Centers" in the USA, each with its own distinct industry and geographic focus. Under this program, applicants usually invest USD 500,000 into one of the designated Regional Centre projects, thereby becoming a limited partner in that Regional Centre's new enterprise.

The main benefit of this option is that investors may rely on indirect job creation rather than directly hiring ten employees. Moreover, the day-to-day management of the investment is facilitated by the Regional Centres so that the applicant is free to live and work anywhere in the USA.

There are no requirements as to age, language or past business experience in order to qualify. Applicants however must have a net worth in excess of USD 1 million and proof must be provided that their funds come from legal sources. Furthermore, one must remain in the USA for at least 180 days each year until unconditional green card status is granted if applicant wishes to apply for USA Citizenship.

Henley & Partners can advise and assist international clients with the selection of the most suitable Regional Centre, and handle EB-5 applications.


After five years of legal residence from the date of receipt of Conditional Green card, it is possible to acquire USA citizenship and to obtain a passport which gives the protection of the most powerful country in the world. There are four ways to acquire USA citizenship: by birth in the United States of America or in USA territories (Jus soli), by birth outside the USA to USA parents, and by naturalization.

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