In 2016, there were approximately 10,000 people who obtained green cards through the EB-5 program. The top five countries of the number of applicants were:

  • China 7,516
  • Vietnam 334
  • Korea 260
  • Taiwan 203
  • Brazil 150

This program may be suitable for a person who is:

  • Able to invest $1,000,000 or $500,000 in the United States
  • Having a hard time getting other types of visas
  • Agreeable to forego testing on English skills

With a green card, you can live anywhere and find your choice of employer without restrictions. This gives you a freedom that other types of visas cannot give. Also, in certain cases, you can take advantage of the high estate tax exemption amount (currently $11.4 million per person) offered in the United States.

However, many foreigners do not understand the tax consequences of obtaining a green card. Obtaining a green card means that you become a resident of the United States. If this happens, you must disclose essentially every detail of your worldwide income and worldwide assets.

I have also heard that once you become a United States resident, most of the non-United States banks of foreign countries do not care to help you in setting up a new bank account (due to the United States law called FATCA). Having a United States resident puts too much administrative burden on banks in foreign countries.

A few other details of interest:

  • If your application is rejected, your investment of $500,000 or $1,000,000 will be refunded.
  • After you obtain your green card, above investments will also be returned to you.
  • The entire process may take up to 5 years.
  • There is indication that the Trump administration is seriously considering increasing these investment amounts. $500,000 is the lowest price for a permanent residency among developed countries. To get a permanent residency in England, you need 2 million UK pound.

As an international accounting firm, CDH helps either foreign citizens living in the United States or US citizens abroad in various areas. We know their unique but very complex issues in taxes, finances, retirement and investments. We are passionate in helping these individuals.

If you or someone you know are interested in this program, please contact me. I will introduce a reputable organization called Regional Center to you.

Writer’s Note:

This blog simplifies very complex tax rules. The purpose of this blog is to provide an overall summary to those who may be interested in the EB-5 program. For an individual application, you are strongly advised to consult a reputable professional as each case may involve items that requires a special attention. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments on this article.

Koh Fujimoto, [email protected] (630) 253-0215