As the famous EB-5 Green Card program increases in price (rising from $500,000- $900,000), many investors are looking for an alternative route to access the USA at a lower cost. Price increase aside, the EB-5 program has also been experiencing serious retrogression issues. The cap of 700 visa applications per country, per year, has created a huge backlog of applications for certain nations. The most affected are those from highly populated countries. For example, it could take a Chinese applicant up to 17 years to get their EB-5 application approved and around 6-7 years for an Indian citizen. Even if the price increase is acceptable to some, these waiting times are not.
Citizens of a country which hold an E-2 visa treaty with the USA are eligible to apply for a US residency visa. More than 70 countries currently hold a treaty with the USA, however many of these countries do not have such a favorable agreement in place. Countries such as the UK, Italy, Japan, Grenada and Turkey all have a visa treaty offering the maximum stay terms. If your country does not hold a treaty with the US then the first step is to apply for Citizenship in a country that does.
Using Turkey as an example, applicants can apply for the Turkish Citizenship by Investment program with a minimum investment of $250,000 into real estate. The process takes approximately 3-6 months. Once the applicant has been granted their Turkish citizenship they can then submit their E-2 application in the US. Applicants need to invest in a US business which they own at least a 50% share of. There is no official minimum investment amount stipulated, however it is advisable to invest approximately $120,000 + to ensure an application is successful. The process will take roughly 3 months and applicants will be issued with a five year residency visa with unlimited renewals.
All in all, this entire process can take less than 9-12 months and will cost around $370,000 + fees. This is a much faster and cost-effective way to gain US residency with the added bonus of holding Turkish citizenship too.
VNIS Investment and its partners has an array of investment opportunities that would be suitable for the E-2 program. If applicants are citizens of a country which does not hold an E-2 treaty agreement, then we can also assist in applying for Turkish Citizenship first. For more details on the options, please speak with one of our consultants.