US citizenship by investment through EB-5 visa program

US citizenship by investment through EB-5 visa program

Miller Mayer Llp. Senior Attorney Nicolai Hinrichsen

AN ideal window to acquire the EB-5 visa is being offered by New York-based Lightstone Investments to interested parties in the Philippines.

The EB-5 immigrant visa program provides a means for eligible immigrant investors to become lawful permanent US residents by investing a minimum investment of $500,000 (P25 million) to finance a business in the States that will employ at least 10 American workers in targeted employment areas. The EB-5 (employment-based fifth preference category) was penned by US Congress through the Immigration Act of 1990 to “boost the US economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investor.”

In return, the visa offers holders, including family members (spouse and unmarried children below 21), freedom to study, work, and live in the US without additional immigration requirements.

Nicolai Hinrichsen, senior attorney with the Miller Mayer Llp. and managing partner of its Asia EB-5 practice, said that the demand in the country is still relatively new, but more mature markets around Asia like China and Vietnam, with a sharp uptick in Chinese applications, are already at their maximum application backlogs: “There are 10,000 EB-5 visas and no country can take more than 7 percent of those visas,” he said in a recent press event.

In the case of Lightstone Investments, funds pooled from the program will go to various real-estate developments. Some of its properties include The Moxy East Village Hotel in New York City, Gantry Park Landing in Long Island, New York, as with other select service hotels branded by Marriott.

Hinrichsen noted, “Lightstone’s portfolio currently includes over 370,000 square meters of office, retail and industrial commercial properties, over 15,000 residential units and 4,000 hotel keys and maintains a 99.9 percent+ investor approval history with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS] to date.”

In a statement, the company said that it has committed considerable time and resources into the Philippines for the long term. “We have recently opened an office in Manila so that local potential investors can meet with our sales representative and discuss the EB-5 program and projects.”



  • New York

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