Travel ban leaves some foreigners worried about their $500,000 US investment

Dr. Gehad Masri wanted to help his eldest son fulfill the dream of becoming a doctor, just like him — and he was willing to spend half a million dollars to do it.

Masri applied for a popular U.S. employment program known as EB-5. It offers citizenship to foreigners in return for at least a $500,000 investment in a development or business that creates at least 10 jobs.

Masri paid the money, was accepted to the program, but is now on hold due to President Donald Trump‘s executive order temporarily banning travel from seven mostly Muslim countries.

Masri has lived in Dubai for 20 years, but he, his wife and their three teenage children all have passports from Syria, one of the seven countries. Masri’s son, Marwan, is a straight-A student and has already been accepted to two American universities. He was supposed to go on a school-sponsored trip to Boston to look at more colleges, but the trip was canceled when the executive order was signed.

“So we have fully planned and now really we are confused. We don’t know what to do or what will happen next,” Masri said in an interview from Dubai. “My son wants to be a good doctor, to add something to society, to help. It is his dream to do that, and I was helping him to do this dream by getting this green card and move the family there.”

Masri is just one of dozens of applicants to the program whose future is uncertain. While the ban was deemed illegal by U.S. courts and is currently lifted, but the Trump administration has signaled that it is rewriting the order. Masri has no idea if he can get his money back if a new ban denies his visa.