How to Obtain Permanent Residency Status to Remain in the USA

If you are currently living in America on a visa that does not allow permanent residence status the chances are you are at the very least inconvenienced and probably have some very real concerns at each visa renewal period. Indeed some individuals and families have nightmares that they or their children face the prospect of deportation due to the category of visa they were advised to opt for many years ago.

A solution is now available to those faced with certain visa problems. Indeed a number of families suffering the difficulties of non permanent residence status have now achieved permanent residence for themselves and their families through a lesser known visa route – the EB-5 visa.

There are currently a number of visa scenarios where families live in fear that at some stage in the future they may have to leave the USA and or be deported due to the non renewal of their visa. Among the best known example is the E2 visa.

The E2 visa does not provide the holder with permanent residence (green card) status. This means for example that holders do not enjoy the rights and protections enjoyed by permanent residents such as homestead relief on their property taxes. Crucially their right to remain in the USA is dependent on the ups and downs of the business which qualified them for entry to the USA in the first place.

When their children turn 21 they either have to leave the country or continue in education but at the higher overseas student fee rates. It is irrelevant if their children have lived in the USA for years and have little knowledge of their country of birth, they may well have to leave when they reach 21.

Others problems may occur with the E2 if the holder wants to retire, sell their business, or indeed have renewed the visa without going through the embassy in their home country. In the latter case they may find they are in effect landlocked in the USA. Many E2 visa holders are unable to leave the country even to attend family weddings, funerals etc.

An example of the problems that can occur concerned an E2 visa holder who moved with his family from the UK to Florida, but not long afterward fell seriously ill and found he was unable to run his business. He decided rather than face the likely refusal of the visa at the next renewal period he would research alternatives and discovered the EB5 visa. He successfully applied and received the visa in less than six months.

The EB5 regional center program is currently available until 2012 and requires a $500,000 investment in one of a number of U.S. government authorized regional center programs that are sited in targeted employment areas. Each investment is required to generate or save ten jobs. The applicant, their spouse and all their unmarried children under 21 receive permanent residence status if their application is approved.

Another visa category whose holders increasingly turning to the EB5 are the L1. The L1 while comparatively easy to obtain is reportedly increasingly difficult to renew after the first year. L1 visa holders have reported difficulties maintain their business in their home country while launching or developing their business in the U.S. particularly in the current economic climate.

H1-B holders are also looking at and applying for the EB-5 visa as a better alternative to the H1-B visa. They have identified difficulties with the H1-B if they wish to leave or change their current job in the U.S. Additionally concerns have been expressed regarding their children having to return to their country of birth on turning 21.

Even students entering US colleges and universities under the F1 program have successfully applied instead through the EB-5 visa program which has the advantage of allowing them to work without restrictions particularly during vacations, benefit from lower tuition fees in certain cases and remain in the U.S, as permanent residents free to work where they like after graduation. Indeed a number of families are applying for the EB-5 program once their children are ready to go to university or college in the USA. If successful the father continues to work in his home country while the mother and children relocate to the USA.

It would certainly seem the EB-5 visa has been increasingly seen as an option worth considering by many U.S. bound immigrants over the past few years.

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