EB-5 visa program gives U.S. residency to foreigners
The federal EB-5 visa program is an appealing offer to many foreign investors looking to become eligible for U.S. residency, particularly those looking to take advantage of real estate bargains in cities like Miami, according to Miami Today.
Weston, Florida-based EB-5 consulting firm Exclusive Visas is currently working on advising the developers of a number of projects that would both boost the local economy and allow participating investors and their families to gain permanent residency.
Included in these projects are the University of Miami's Life Science and Technology Park as well as the scheduled construction of 50 Sonic fast-food restaurants throughout Miami-Dade and Broward counties, according to the news source.
According to Fred Burgess, the president of Exclusive Visas who became involved in the EB-5 program in 2007, the firm gives clients advice on applying for an EB-5 regional center and demonstrating the creation of a specific number of jobs to get federal approval for projects.
Through the EB-5 visa program, foreigners can obtain U.S. green card eligibility with a $1 million (or in some areas $500,000) investment in an American project or company that either creates or maintains at least 10 full-time jobs.
The $500,000 investments are possible for investments in geographical areas that have a high rate of unemployment.
Burgess told the news source that in order for the investment to be approved, "we need to make sure their funds come from credible sources and that they don't have a criminal background."
Through the EB-5 visa program, developer Wexford Miami is currently raising $20 million from 40 participating investors that would go towards funding for the Life Science and Technology Park at the University of Miami.
"They are close to selling off," Burgess told the news provider. "That EB-5 project will be filled by the end of this year."
Burgess is also advising QueensFort Capital Corp., which purchased the exclusive rights to build the Sonic franchises in the two counties over the next four years. The development firm is in the process of acquiring land where it would build the restaurants at a discounted price and is seeking between six and eight investors for each package of two to four restaurants.
QueensFort's senior vice president, Carolina Oliva, said that most of the investment interest in the Sonic project is coming from Latin America and China, and Burgess told the news source that his team often travels internationally to promote and market Exclusive Visas' projects.
"We travel throughout the world regularly, so we know what the market is looking for and we can advise companies raising capital how to structure their project so it's attractive to the investor," Burgess said told the news provider.