China US Business Association


The Legal Advisory Team of the China US Business Association is comprised of the best lawyers from topnotch immigration law firms.  We are here to assist our Chinese investors obtain an immigrant visa.

Becoming a real estate investor in the U.S.A.

Many Chinese investors have been asking us recently as they are interested in moving to the U.S. through real estate investment.   In this article, we highlight frequently asked questions (FAQ).

1) Can I apply for a green card by buying residential property as an investment?

No. You can’t apply for a green card simply by buying a residential property in the U.S.

2) Can I move to U.S. as a full-time real estate investor in the U.S?

Yes, if you are setting up a real estate investment company.   You need to create a company and employ people.  This is a possible option under E-2 Treaty Investor Visa (Non-Immigrant Visa).    You have to be actively involved in business, not just a passive investor.  The business must generate significantly more income than just to provide a living for  you and your family, or it must have a significant economic impact in the United States.

3) Can I invest in residential properties through EB-5?

No, buying residential properties does not create jobs.  A major requirement for EB-5 is that you have to create jobs directly, indirectly or induced. IMPORTANT: Buying residential properties does not create any job at all.   However, you can create a company or partner up with an existing company that will buy, sell, rehabilitate, and manage several residential properties on an on going basis.  This kind of company can hire people and conduct a viable business operation.

4) Can I move to the U.S. as a property developer?

Yes – if you have an existing property development business and you are already developing projects, you may consider as an intracompany transfer to the U.S. to supervise the progress of projects here, or you can come to U.S. and set up a new real estate development company. As a new development company, you would need to demonstrate you have the capital available (e.g. construction loan), so the capital requirement could be much more than other industries.

5) How do I apply for EB-5 investments through real estate investment?

There are 2 ways you can consider. The first is to invest through a project through a Regional Center, many of these projects are real estate or development related. The second option is to develop or invest in a project directly yourself, but always remember, EB-5 is a job creation option – you must be able to demonstrate that you can create at least 10 jobs per investor in order to be approved.

The critical requirements in any immigrant investment visa is whether the funds are “clean” and committed, and new jobs are created.  The minimum investment under EB-5 is US $1 million, unless the investment is in a Target Employment Area (TEA) so designated by the US Government or through a licensed Regional Center that also has projects in a TEA zone.  When an investor funds a project in a TEA, the minimum investment level is US $500,000.00.

The investment capital of US $1,000,000 – or $500,000 in a TEA zone – does not include  fees and other costs. These fees include the application fees to the regional center, US government visa fees (depending on the number of dependents accompanying the investor), legal fees, and other costs including capital verification, file preparation, or project analysis.  Regional centers also typically charge annual capital management fees. Total costs with a regional center would range from US $55,000 to $85,000 in addition to the investment.

NOTE: Please consult with a qualified business immigration attorney.  If you do not know of one, please contact us to talk to a qualified business immigration attorney who specializes in real estate transactions on our Legal Advisory Team.


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