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As an immigration firm specialized in residency and citizenship by investment programs we often get asked if there is a US Golden Visa. In this article, we provide a comprehensive answer for individuals interested in obtaining permanent residency in the United States.
What is a Golden Visa?
A Golden Visa is a term commonly used to refer to a residency-by-investment program offered by various countries around the world. Golden Visas generally allow foreign individuals and their families to obtain residency or citizenship in exchange for making a significant investment in the country’s economy – whether through real estate, donations, fund investments, business set up, and more.
The term “Golden Visa” implies that the program provides a “golden” opportunity for investors to gain residency or citizenship, often with favorable benefits and privileges. Each country’s Golden Visa program has its own specific requirements, investment thresholds, and benefits.
Golden Visa: Residency vs. Citizenship
Golden Visa programs typically offer either residency or citizenship in the country of investment. The main difference between a Golden Visa granting residency and one granting citizenship is the level of legal status and rights conferred to the individual, as well as the investment amount in most cases.
Residency Golden Visa
- Legal Status: A residency Golden Visa provides the right to reside in the country for a specified period of time. It grants a temporary or permanent residency status, allowing individuals to live, work, and study in the country where they have made the investment.
- Rights and Benefit: Residency Golden Visa holders typically enjoy certain benefits such as access to healthcare, education, and social services. They may also have the right to travel within the country and sometimes have limited visa-free travel to other countries.
- Path to Citizenship: Residency Golden Visa programs may or may not offer a pathway to citizenship after meeting certain residency requirements, such as maintaining residency for a specified number of years, and fulfilling additional criteria, like language proficiency and integration tests. However, acquiring citizenship is typically not automatically granted, and usually requires a separate application process.
Citizenship Golden Visa
- Legal Status: A citizenship Golden Visa grants full citizenship and all the rights and responsibilities that come with it, including the right to vote, the ability to obtain a passport, and unrestricted access to all benefits and services available to all other citizens of that country.
- Permanent Status: Unlike a residency Golden Visa, a citizenship Golden Visa provides permanent status, and the individual becomes a citizen of the country where they have made an investment. This status may or may not be able to be passed down to future generations through birth or descent.
- Travel Freedom: Citizenship Golden Visa holders usually enjoy visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to numerous countries, as they possess a passport from the country of citizenship where they have made their investment. This can provide greater mobility and ease of travel compared to residency golden visa holders.
Does the US have a Golden Visa Program?
The United States does not have a specific program referred to officially as a “Golden Visa.” However, the United States offers various investment immigration programs, including the EB-5 program, which provides an opportunity for foreign individuals to obtain lawful permanent residency (a green card) through investment in the U.S. economy. The EB-5 program is also a direct route to US citizenship by investment after the individual holds their green card for a minimum of 5 years.
While the EB-5 program does not carry the specific name “US Golden Visa,” it serves a similar purpose of granting residency or a pathway to residency through investment in the United States. The EB-5 program has its own set of eligibility criteria, investment requirements, and job creation obligations.
It’s important to note that the EB-5 program is distinct from other residency or citizenship programs offered by other countries under the label of “Golden Visa.” The specific benefits, requirements, and procedures between various countries are significantly different, so it’s essential to understand the details of the program in the country of interest.
EB-5 Visa Benefits
The EB-5 program allows foreign investors to make a qualifying investment in a new commercial enterprise that creates a minimum number of 10 full time jobs in the United States. If the investment meets the program requirements, the investor and their immediate family members (spouse and children under the age of 21) can obtain conditional green cards, which can eventually lead to permanent residency.
After holding the permanent residency or green card for 5 years, if the individual has spent 2.5 out of 5 years physically in the United States, they may apply for naturalization and a US passport and citizenship.
The US government does not run a Golden Visa program and there is no such visa category named US Golden Visa. The term US Golden Visa is not an official term and is often used by consultants outside of the US as a marketing tool to attract investors who may have heard of and be interested in the Golden Visa programs of other countries.
It is crucial to consult with immigration lawyers or experts specializing in Golden Visa programs and carefully review the requirements and terms of each program to make an informed decision. Each program has its own advantages, investment thresholds, and eligibility criteria, and it’s essential to assess which program aligns best with your goals and circumstances – including the requirements of obtaining eventual citizenship through your investment.
Immigration Consultancy in Dubai
Step Global, an immigration consultancy in Dubai specialised in citizenship and residency by investment programs, can assist you with your application for the Portugal Golden Visa, US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, Canada Start-Up Visa, and UAE Golden Visa.
Golden Visa FAQs
Each Golden Visa program has its own eligibility criteria, which may include financial requirements, background checks, health examinations, and adherence to the country’s immigration laws. Investors must meet these criteria and investment threshold to be eligible for the program.
Golden Visa programs are offered by various countries worldwide, including popular European destinations such as Portugal, Spain, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates, and many others. The specific details, requirements, and benefits of each program can vary significantly, so it is important to research and understand the program of the country of interest.
Golden Visa programs typically have certain residency requirements that investors must meet, such as minimum physical presence in the country or maintaining a residence in the country for a certain period of time. These requirements vary by program.
Golden Visa programs often come with a range of benefits and privileges, which may include visa-free or visa-on-arrival travel to other countries, access to healthcare and education systems, favorable tax treatment, potential pathway to citizenship, and enhanced business and investment opportunities.
Golden Visa programs require investors to make a significant investment in the country’s economy. The investment can take various forms, such as real estate purchase, business investment, government bonds, funds, capital transfer, loan structures and various other options. The investment amount and specific requirements vary by country and program.
Many Golden Visa programs allow investors to include their immediate family members, such as spouses and dependent children, in the application. This means that the family members can also benefit from the residency or citizenship obtained through the program. The age limitation of dependent children vary from country and country, usually from under the age of 21 to under the age of 28. In addition, some programs, like the Portugal Golden Visa Program, will also allow dependent parents of the primary applicant or their spouse to be included for a Golden Visa.
While the US does not have a Golden Visa they do have investment-based programs available, which include the EB-5 program. This program requires a refundable investment of USD $800,000 in a government-approved EB-5 project. This investment should contribute to the creation of 10 full-full time job for US permanent residents and citizens and the funds must come from a legal source.
While there is no USA Golden Visa, the United States offers various immigrant investor programs, including the EB-5 program or E-2 Investor Visa, which provides an opportunity for foreign individuals to obtain a green card (through the EB-5 Program) or temporary residence visa (through the E-2 Program). The US EB-5 program requires a refundable investment of USD $800,000 in a government-approved project which must result in the creation of 10 full-time jobs for US permanent residents and citizens.
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