14:50 15.01.2020

Yuri Mosha about the benefits of investment visas, in particular EB-5

5 min read

Photo taken at the International Luxury Property and Residency Expo, Kiev, September 2019

In connection with the submission by President Zelensky to the Ukrainian Parliament on amendments to some laws of Ukraine on citizenship issues, the last few weeks, the topic of the second passport does not leave the pages of national media. Experts and economists analyze the benefits of dual citizenship in several different ways. Some even calculate possible dividends from granting Ukrainian citizenship to foreigners, primarily investors, who are ready to invest their capital in the development of the state economy. True, according to last year's study of the investment attractiveness of countries around the world, Ukraine ranked 58th, the lowest among Europe. According to the results of 2019, the country fell in the world ranking of passports by 2 positions.

Given this fact, I would like to focus on another aspect that is relevant for wealthy citizens of Ukraine, seeking to maintain their authentic passport, but at the same time willing to invest in the economy of progressive states. It will be about investment visas - a popular way to obtain a residence permit with the possibility of naturalization. According to expert estimates, the most attractive European countries providing investment visas for foreigners are the UK, Cyprus, Portugal, Greece, Malta and Spain. On a global scale, the undisputed leader is the United States, followed by Australia, Singapore and the UAE.

Among the conditions for obtaining a residence permit in these countries, the most common are: investing in real estate, replenishment of targeted state funds; purchase of debt instruments issued by the state (bonds, treasury bills, etc.) and investing in business (in the authorized capital of enterprises). The last condition is present in the program for obtaining an investment visa Tier 1 Investor from the UK and EB-5 from the United States of America. By the way, these states do not prevent the presence of dual citizenship among their citizens. What can not be said about Germany, Norway, Denmark and the Emirates.

The rating of investment attractiveness of the countries of the world, conducted at the end of 2018, distinguishes the United States as a leader in attracting investment in business. The states managed to attract $ 296.4 billion of direct investments from foreign investors, which is 8.7% more than in 2017. Stably, most of the investment in American business comes from private investors from China, they are also the largest number of applicants for an investment visa EB-5: out of 9602 visa applications in 2018, 4642 applications came from investors from China. At the same time, the number of applicants from Ukraine does not exceed several tens per year (note. - the total number of immigrants from Ukraine to the USA is growing annually). The waiting time for consideration of the Ukrainian applicant under the EB-5 program does not exceed the time required to consider any other application for an immigrant visa (on average, 9-18 months). With the entry into force of the dual citizenship law, I am intriguing the growth dynamics of the number of Ukrainian visa applicants EB-5.

The main advantage of immigration under the EB-5 program is the absence of requirements in the form of a certificate for knowledge of English, special education or work experience. It is the failure to meet these criteria that is often the reason for refusing to obtain other US visas. All that is needed to obtain an EB-5 investment visa is the applicant’s willingness to invest from USD 900 thousand to USD 1 800 thousand in the American economy. The size of the investment threshold for various regions of the United States is determined by TEA (target employment areas). TEA-related areas require a lower investment threshold ($ 900,000).

The most attractive EB-5 investors are New York, California, Texas and Florida. Investments in these regions amount to $ 900,000. According to the terms of the program, the investment sphere is not important, the main thing is that the project meets its requirements. The main condition of the EB-5 is the stable development of the invested project over the next 5 years and the creation of 10 full-time jobs. Recipients of EB-5 can independently determine the area of ​​investment, but I recommend that specialised companies seek the help from specialized companies and thereby exclude risks. Ideally, an immigration consultant and a lawyer should be engaged in preparing of package of documents for obtaining an EB-5 visa, as in other matters and investment visas of other states. An immigration consultant, as a rule, helps to select the investment reggion and investment fund for the client.

The company "Second Passport" is a partnership fund specializing in construction in New York. The fund owns its own assets and works with a well-known New York developer, whose land is owned and not associated with credit histories. The fund has a successful history of completed projects. The main activity is the construction of social facilities, for example, charter schools. These are semi-private, semi-state institutions. The first facility has already been launched and is housed in a modern building, near the center of New York. The second is under development. In the USA, such institutions are a stable and long-term business. The next fund project is a shopping complex. The construction region is ideal for providing jobs. New York is the largest and wealthiest city in the United States. And it is also important that the head of the fund is always ready to meet personally with potential investors. He is fluent in Russian. As a specialist working in the immigration field for more than 10 years, I would recommend applicants for an EB-5 visa to focus on compact, but promising investment objects. Large projects are not always successful; their development is associated with great risks. Funds spent on bankrupt projects by the United States are not compensated and the EB-5 visa is canceled.

Founder of the immigration company "Second Passport"

Yuri Mosha

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