Beating the EB-5 Backlog: the Grenada E-2 Option for Vietnamese Investors
Recently, Vietnam became the second member of a club no one wants to be in: countries facing EB-5 visa backlogs. As the only EB-5 Regional Center with a full time presence in Vietnam, American Venture Solutions has been carefully monitoring the situation to see what options exist for Vietnamese investors who are seeking a quick transition to the U.S., whether they are awaiting their EB-5 approval or have not yet filed. After much analysis and consideration, AVS and Latourlaw are proud to introduce the AVS Turnkey U.S. Transition Solution to both our existing clients and to other Vietnamese investors seeking a workaround to the EB-5 backlog.
I have explored CBI (“Citizenship By Investment”) passport programs for years – I even helped market the St. Kitt’s program in Pakistan at one point! – but in my 28 years of practicing investment-based immigration law, I have never actually placed a single client into a CBI passport program for one simple reason: a second nationality did nothing to facilitate U.S. residency options! Speaking as a former U.S. visa officer who adjudicated some 20,000 cases during my tenure, I can state the following with confidence: a Vietnamese investor who qualifies for a given U.S. visa only COMPLICATES his or her application when introducing a third country passport simply because that passport speaks volumes about the applicant's intent to emigrate from their home country. Put simply, in every case I had seen, a CBI second passport not only failed to facilitate the approval of a person’s U.S. visa…it added complications!
Enter Grenada, a beautiful Caribbean island I first visited some 30+ years ago. After years of watching other CBI programs established by Caribbean, African, and European nations, the government of Grenada created its own improved CBI passport program. The improvements over their competition were numerous, but one specific element of the Grenada passport program was key: the availability of U.S. E-2 Treaty Investor visas for participating CBI investors. After several years of extensive research, meetings with Grenadian government officials and program participants, and site visits in Grenada, AVS and Latourlaw have chosen to partner exclusively with Grenada’s Kimpton Kawana Bay CBI project. For the past seven years, in contrast to all other EB-5 purveyors, AVS has exclusively offered EB-5 projects owned and managed by the Forbes 400 U.S. developer group with whom we’ve collaborated for over two decades. Similarly, in selecting Kimpton Kawana Bay as our exclusive CBI passport offering, we are offering investors the same level of historical success, sterling reputation, and fiscal transparency we’ve successfully delivered to EB-5 investors over the years.
The AVS Turnkey U.S. Transition Solution is not just another investor passport offering; it combines LatourLaw’s 28 years of A/V-rated investment immigration expertise with AVS Vietnam’s legendary “boots on the ground” investor support team. The AVS Turnkey U.S. Transition Solution offers U.S. –bound Vietnamese investors a comprehensive and complete, hands-on legal and logistical solution which guides investors and their families through their entire journey to U.S. permanent residency. As you can imagine, this is no small undertaking, and there are a lot of moving parts to this innovative solution. But with AVS’ commitment to a very select and limited group of accredited investor families, we believe we’ve built the ultimate solution for smoothly transitioning Vietnamese families to a new life in America. Here’s a brief breakdown of the process:
I. Grenada Passports for the Family: By investing a minimum of U.S. $350,000 in a Kimpton Kawana Bay hotel condominium which is managed and rented on your behalf, you qualify to secure Grenada passports for your family. Kawana Bay’s developer has decades of proven global project success and the selection of Intercontinental Hotel’s premiere brand, Kimpton, for hotel management assures the best possible investment scenario for owners. Depending on the size of the family – and unlike EB-5, it IS possible to procure passports for the investor’s parents – you can expect to spend a total of $400-500,000 U.S. including the property purchase, required government fees, and service providers. The entire process from funding to passports in hand takes less than six months and, best of all, after three years, you can sell your Grenada property if you choose to…and keep the family passports.
II. Selecting the U.S. E-2 Investment Franchise: While the government of Grenada and the government-approved program agent/attorney is processing your passports, AVS is working with you to identify the U.S. franchise operation which will not only give your family permission to live in the U.S. for an indefinite number of years, but which provides employment authorization for the investor’s spouse and shelters the investor from U.S. global tax liabilities. AVS only works with franchise chains which offer both a proven history of business success AND solid outsourced management services to make sure your investment is administered successfully. AVS is in the process of final vetting of those franchises, and we are only looking at those with which we have first hand success stories through our OWN AVS EB-5 investors who have already moved to the U.S. and launched successful new franchises. AVS will offer 3-4 franchise options with investment requirements ranging from $175,000-$400,000 and our list of finalists includes a hot new tea franchise targeting young adults, a unique and proven ice cream franchise, and a boutique nail salon service with national branding. AVS and Latourlaw handle all aspects of franchise contracting, formation of your U.S. company, and turnkey administration of licensing and compliance for your new U.S. business.
III. E-2 Visa Processing for the Family: Depending on the particular investor’s family needs, the E-2 visa can be applied for very early in the process (after franchise identification, initial entity formation, and contracting) or after the franchise is open for business…it’s 100% up to the investor. The E-2 visa does NOT required USCIS approval so it is much faster; Latourlaw prepares the E-2 investment petition for you and your family and submits it to either the U.S. consulate in Barbados (which has jurisdiction over Grenada) or Ho Chi Minh. (We prefer Barbados because the visa officers there understand the Grenada E-2 option first-hand.) So, if time is your concern, it is possible to have your Grenada passports, your E-2 visas, your U.S. franchise, and your family living in the U.S in 9-12 months!
IV. Family Permanent Residency Transition: for those who are already awaiting the approval of their EB-5 conditional residency via their I-526, transitioning to permanent residency from E-2 status is as simply as adjusting status in the U.S. For those who procure their E-2 status and franchise before investing in EB-5, the options vary: the E-2 visa is not a permanent green card, but it can be renewed perpetually as long as the business keeps succeeding. For some investors who have substantial income in Vietnam, the best option can very well be to remain indefinitely in E-2 status, which permits an investor to limit their U.S. physical presence and avoid paying U.S. taxes on their income from Vietnam. For others more concerned about their children’s future in the U.S., using the E-2 status to wait out the EB-5 backlog is the perfect option. And for SOME families, having one parent pursue the EB-5 to get U.S. permanent residency for themselves and the children while the other parent remains indefinitely in E-2 status makes the most sense.
...I know what you are thinking….sounds complicated! It IS! The idea of taking a family and guiding them over the complex process of a successful transition for each family member from their current life in Vietnam to a successful new life in the U.S. is no minor undertaking, but that’s exactly why AVS and Latourlaw are exclusively positioned to make this kind of service commitment to our investor families. While other EB-5 Regional Centers have thousands of investors and can’t name a single one, AVS has spent the last 7 years successfully helping about 100 families plan their future in the U.S., one at a time. AVS gets U.S. graduation announcements from our investors’ kids, and we work with our investor group as a family. The AVS Turnkey U.S. Transition Solution is crafted with that same spirit of bespoke service and absolute commitment to our clients.
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