Real Estate and Construction

#AmericanVisa: Uncertainty over United States EB-5 Visa Presents Alternative Visa Routes for Investors

The United States EB-5 visa – otherwise known as the Immigrant Investor Visa Programme – is set to expire on June 30th unless reauthorised by Congress. Launched in 1990, the EB-5 visa grants investors permanent residency once they invest US$900,000 into a business that creates jobs. For over three decades, the visa route has been popular amongst wealthy investors from Africa to Asia. However, its future remains unclear.

The lack of clarity could force investors to reconsider their options. While the EB-5 visa comes with several opportunities, it does not grant the holder citizenship or the passport that comes with it. Additionally, the programme only offers up to 10,000 visas per fiscal year with many applicants potentially experiencing delays that can take up to several months. However, by investing in a second citizenship, investors and families can gain the same opportunities but with increased benefits and the safety of having lifelong citizenship.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the United States has also declined in investor priorities when it comes to choosing a permanent home. Many Americans have gone as far as renouncing citizenship in favour of a different lifestyle that priorities health and wellness.

The Commonwealth of Dominica has become a top destination for second citizenship over the last few years, as highlighted in the annual CBI Index. The small Caribbean island has welcomes foreign investors and their families to become citizens after they contribute to a government fund or buy into selected real estate options. Operating since 1994, its Citizenship by Investment Programme has become a popular route to achieving financial security and increased opportunities in education and business. Investors can also rest assured that they do not have to take any language or cultural tests, or stay in the country for a number of days to qualify for citizenship. Lastly, if an applicant successfully passes the necessary security checks, a receipt of citizenship is granted within two to three months.

“Dominica’s lush scenery, a record of safety and political stability are very attractive for potential investors. It’s far from the big city hustle-bustle, yet it manages to bring the world closer because its passport allows one to travel to 75 percent of the globe. In fact, Dominica perfectly fits the needs of many middle and high net worth individuals for asset allocation, travel convenience and children’s education,” said Micha Emmett, CEO of CS Global Partners – a London-based firm specialising in citizenship and residency solutions.

With its proximity to the US, Dominica also benefits from having its currency pegged to the US dollar, making it an economically viable option for investors. Those who hold a Dominican passport also gain access to over 140 countries and territories, including key business hubs vital for keeping business competitive. Dominica’s programme is also one of the most family-inclusive options on the market, enabling investors to include a wide range of dependants in an application.

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