The ‘quick’ visa South Africans are using to move to the US

With major industry, excellent job prospects and sound investment opportunities, the states of Florida and Texas are currently the most popular destinations where South Africans applying for residency and then citizenship via the USA’s Immigrant Investor EB-5 Programme, says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.

Golding said that the programme, which offers the opportunity to invest in the USA and become a resident, remains the quickest and simplest route to gain lawful and legitimate access to the US for applicants and their immediate family to live, study and work there.

“By investing $900,000 (R13.2 million) in a US Government approved development in a designated Targeted Employment Area one is guaranteed Green Card status, while your capital is protected in an active investment in the US – with full return of funds after the end of the project, and you are eligible for a US passport after five years.

“It would appear that the lockdown experienced due to Covid-19 has given family units and individuals time to reconsider their career paths in conjunction with immigration options and as a result, we’ve noticed an increased demand from millennials who are looking at immigration coupled with business and career advancement, with the US being an obvious choice for many.”

Chris Immelman, who heads up Pam Golding International, said the applicants applying for the EB-5 investor programme are a combination of high net-worth individuals, as well as families who are willing to assist their children in looking at immigration options.

While there are also numerous retirees, these are followed by millennials and families emanating from Gauteng, followed by the Western Cape, he said.

“Interestingly, the impact of the pandemic in the USA has not impacted enquiries from applicants in any way – it appears the investors are more positively focused on the ability of the US economy to regain its traction and dominance.

“We continually conduct research, including on the ground research in the US, to find the most suitable developments to invest in, and then present these fully vetted investment projects to the South African market.”

Popular because of simplicity 

Stuart Ferguson, chief executive of immigration specialists American Dream, said that the EB-5 programme is popular because of its streamlined application process.

“We are also seeing a faster adjudication process, with our current processing timeframe dropping from approximately 20 to 13 months, and with South Africans enjoying the advantage of visa availability and priority adjudication,” he said.

“The EB-5 Investor Visa gives you and your family, including dependent children under the age of 21, the right to live, work, study or build a business anywhere in the United States, and, after a five-year period, you and your family then have the right to become US citizens.

“A further benefit is that once you are a US passport holder, you have the benefit of visa-free travel to approximately 160 countries.”

For families with school-going children, Ferguson said that this programme allows children access to leading top-ranking schools, which is coupled with the high standard of tertiary education in the US.

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The ‘quick’ visa South Africans are using to move to the US