Foreign nationals of retirement age are often searching for retirement options that will allow them to immigrate to the United States after they have officially retired. The options for many foreign nationals are limited simply because they do not possess familial ties to the United States or have any other apparent means by which to legally immigrate to America to take up residence. Even if they do have familial ties to the United States, family-based green cards can take up to 10 years to be approved due to a backlog in the United States immigration system for family-based green card applications, making it nearly impossible to migrate through this option.
Persons approaching, or those who have reached, retirement age often are not in a position to wait almost a decade to receive word on their United States residency approval. Many retired persons have time-sensitive age-related health issues which cannot be medically treated in their home country and can often be negatively affected by the long processing time required for a family-based green card application to be submitted accurately, reviewed, and approved.
While other types of visas may allow retirees to visit the United States temporarily, they are not a feasible solution for foreigners interested in residing in the United States permanently. Oftentimes, retired foreigners are forced to return to the workforce to apply for a work visa in the United States in order to move themselves and their families to America. This option carries its own challenges, with the visa holder and their dependents facing employment, education, and residency restrictions which do not allow freedom like that of a permanent residency.
Without a traditional work visa or family-based green card, foreign retirees may give up hope of ever legally immigrating to the United States. For a growing number of retired foreign nationals, this is where the EB-5 investor visa comes in.
The EB-5 visa has become the visa of choice for many retirees with the desire to immigrate to the United States, due to the straightforwardness of the visa requirements and the lack of restrictions on eligibility. The EB-5 visa, in short, requires a foreign national to make an investment into a US-based project, preferably through an approved regional center, which would create at least ten jobs for persons eligible to work in the United States. Once the visa application is approved, this one-time investment – hence the term ‘investor visa’ – can help guarantee the EB-5 applicant and their eligible dependents conditional green cards to the United States.
The EB-5 visa is open to foreign nationals with no restrictions regarding the age of the applicant, whether young or old. Retirees are often inclined to apply for the EB-5 visa, as they generally have the means by which to fund the EB-5 investment through decades of savings while in the workforce. In addition, retired applicants that possess a 401K, or any other type of retirement fund, often make use of these funds for the EB-5 investment. Help is also often given by family members, such as children and grandchildren, through donations or loans to help fund the EB-5 investment.
The benefits of the EB-5 investor visa for retirees are extensive, which is why it is becoming increasingly popular for foreign nationals over the age of 60. Once the initial investment is made, the EB-5 visa holder is under no obligation to the daily running of the project to which the investment was made, regardless of the project chosen.
In comparison to other visa options, the processing time for the EB-5 visa is currently approximately eighteen to twenty-four months, for most countries, (and is often processed in less time) – a significantly shorter processing time than other immigrant visas available. As stated previously, it can take up to ten years for a family-based immigration application to be processed and approved, making the longest EB-5 visa processing time less than a quarter of the possible family-based visa processing time.
Eb-5 visa holders receive a conditional green card (which can be adjusted to permanent green card status after two years) meaning that they and their dependents are free to live, work, and study anywhere in the United States. Retirees have the freedom to choose where they will settle in America, with warm, sunny areas such as Florida, California, and Texas being popular among retirees from both the United States and abroad. The United States is known for their highly-rated retirement communities, which is slowly becoming another popular option for approved EB-5 visa applicants. These designated communities allow retired persons to live amongst other persons their age and often provide significant amenities such as golf courses, restaurants, spas and wellness centers, as well as medical assistance.
For many EB-5 investors, after a mandatory five-year period, their initial chosen project provides a small return on investment on their EB-5 investment. A number of EB-5 visa holders often choose to reinvest these funds into assets to create a source of passive income. Retirees may also use their investment returns to purchase a house or other properties as a way to further stabilize themselves and their residency (through property ownership) within the United States. With choices ranging from large cities, such as Las Vegas, Nevada to smaller towns like Columbia, South Carolina, the United States is overflowing with housing possibilities.
The EB-5 visa allows retired foreign nationals the liberty to spend their retirement with access to some of the best healthcare in the world, in any of the top-rated cities they choose, with the freedom to travel or settle permanently as they see fit.