CSL monthly Industry Updates
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Antigua & Barbuda Resumes Acceptance of Citizenship Applications From Nationals of Iraq
Citizens of the Republic of Iraq are now eligible to apply for citizenship under the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), Antigua & Barbuda’s newly appointed Ambassador to Iraq, Ahmed Abbas Oleiwi Al-Hassani has confirmed.
Iraqi nationals are permitted to apply for Antiguan citizenship under a number of conditions:
1. Applicants must be lawful permanent residents of Canada, the United States of America or the United Kingdom;
2. All applicants are required to comply with the Programme’s enhanced due diligence requirements;
3. Applicants must provide proof that their funds have originated outside of Iraq and are of legal origin.
Additional due diligence requirements may apply, hence application processing may take slightly longer than the standard 3 months.
The same regulations apply to the citizens of Afghanistan, Yemen, NorthKorea and Somalia.
If you would like to receive more information or assistance preparing your Citizenship by Investment application, please contact us today. One of our experienced citizenship experts would be pleased to assist you.
CSL Launches Its Website in Russian
As many of you know already, in December 2015 CSL has launched a mobile-friendly responsive version of our corporate website. Among other tools, clients and agents will find the comprehensive structure of Citizenship-by-Investment (CBI) fees and application requirements for each of 5 Caribbean CBI Programs, up-to-date lists of countries that CBI passport-holders can visit visa-free, featured property brochures, detailed FAQs section. Another exciting interactive tool is under construction. Stay tuned!
Furthermore, we have added a Russian version of the website so that our clients and agents from Eastern Europe may get the most accurate and up-to-date information first hand.
Contact us today to learn about the world of opportunities!
Meet us in GuangZhou, China between 26-30 April, 2016
We are pleased to announce, that CSL Team is traveling to GuangZhou, China between 26th-30th April, 2016.
We will be happy to meet with you privately to update you on recent developments on all of the five existing Caribbean Citizenship-by-Investment programs that we now represent as well as to update you on exclusive Real Estate investment options and partnership opportunities.
If you would like to meet with our immigration consultants in GuangZhou please fill in the Contact Form. One of our consultants will get back to you shortly to schedule a meeting. If you prefer to contact us directly, call +1 (869) 466-2133 or e-mail email@example.com.
Benefits of Grenada Citizenship - Opportunity to Get E-2 Visa for the USA
For the affluent and the entrepreneurial, the United States remains one of the world’s premier immigration destinations. Investment in a U.S. enterprise may afford the right to spend prolonged periods or immigrate with their immediate families; the right to work; for the E-2 nonimmigrant, the freedom to choose to be taxed as a U.S. resident or nonresident; and, for the EB-5 immigrant, the freedom to retire on a full- or part-time basis and the ability to qualify for U.S. naturalization.
We would like to look closely into two available strategies that foreign investors may pursue to obtain a variety of privileges in the United States – the E-2 “Treaty Investor” visa and the EB-5 “Employment Creation” green card. Both programs offer certain advantages but differ in the qualifying requirements. In this article we will investigate what benefits does E-2 visa offer our clients compared to a more well-known EB-5 Investor visa?
The E-2 is a temporary non-immigrant visa. E-2 treaty allows resident citizens of Grenada to reside in the U.S. or visit freely for any amount of time as long as they own and operate a qualifying business in the U.S. As of today, E-2 treaties were signed with just a little over 80 countries. If the treaty was not signed between the U.S. and the individual’s home-country – E-2 visa can not be granted. Since there is no treaty with India or with China, nationals of these countries are ineligible for an E-2 visa.
* A list of E-2 treaty countries: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/fees/treaty.html
The EB-5 Visa is a special visa for immigrant investors created by the Immigration Act of 1990. It allows qualifying investors to obtain a green card and have permanent residence in the US. It is important to note that EB-5 green cards are limited to only 10,000 per year. If there are more than 10,000 applicants a year, the next applicants will be placed on a waiting list.
Difference between E-2 and EB-5 visas:
An E-2 visa requires:
- Temporary stay in the United States. Does not mature into a green card (permanent residency)
- Investor must own at least 50% of the shares of the intended U.S.-based company he is intending to invest in
- Investment should be made with personal funds and can be in the form of cash, equipment, inventory, or other cash equivalents. The amount is not fixed but should be substantial for the growth of the company
- U.S. business is an operating business and not a “marginal” enterprise, meaning that the investor has other income to live on
- The visa applicant is an owner, executive, manager or has essential skills
EB-5 green cards involve:
- Conditional followed by permanent resident status
- Investment of at least $500,000 or $1 million
- Creation of 10 full-time permanent jobs
- Proving lawful source of funds
- Obtaining one of 10,000 annual visas
In both cases, investors will need to be able to verify source of funds and demonstrate proof of no criminal record.
2. Size of Investment
There is no hard defined minimum for the E2 visa program but $100,000 to $150,000 is generally considered enough. This is proved with a business plan and other documentation.
With EB-5 visas minimum investments of $1M per family, unless the project is in Targeted Employment Area (TEA) in which case $500,000 is enough. Because of inflation, it is expected that the investment amount will increase soon to $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area and $1.2 million elsewhere.
The E-2 rules require the U.S. business to be majority owned by nationals of the treaty country of the visa applicant. An EB-5 green card is available to investors of all nationalities. However, while China-born are accorded EB-5 visas, they face a longer wait for a visa due to quota “retrogression.” This happened because there are more Chinese EB-5 investors than there are visas available.
3. Processing Time
While times vary, E-2 visas are usually issued by American consuls in about six weeks. EB-5 green cards on average take about 20 months to reach conditional resident approval (about 14 months for the I-526 petition and four-six months for the immigrant visa). The current wait for China-born EB-5 investors is two to three years or more depending on when petitions were filed.
4. Job Creation
American Consuls expect E-2 businesses to create U.S. employment consistent with the needs of the business. An E-2 business plan needs to show some employee growth, but there is neither a mandated amount nor a time constraint. E-2 enterprises may also sponsor managers and essential skilled employees with the same nationality as the company’s owners for E-2s and other non-immigrant visas that are not nationality specific, such as the H-1B visa.
On the other hand, EB-5 investors must create 10 full-time, permanent jobs not including the investor and temporary visa holders.
E-2 visa holders must work at the enterprise for which the visa is issued. The visa applicant may be an owner, executive, manager or person with essential skills about the company’s processes, technology, products and/or business methods.
EB-5 investors can work anywhere, attend school or enjoy retirement, so long as while they are a conditional resident, they are at least a limited partner or director of the new commercial enterprise in which they invest.
5. Visa Validity
Most E-2 visas are issued for up to five years and can be extended for the duration of the U.S. business operation. EB-5 green cards start with a two-year conditional resident status. Between 21-24 months after that, provided the jobs are created and investment maintained, investors may apply for full permanent resident status.
6. Physical Residency
Unlike EB-5 visa, the E-2 visa is not subject to an annual numerical quota or maximum aggregate period of physical presence in the United States. E-2 visa holders may stay outside the U.S. for an undetermined amount of time, and still re-enter the U.S. with their visa, as long as it is valid.
7. Worldwide Tax
E-2 visa holders can take steps to qualify as nonresidents of the United States for federal income tax purposes. By contrast, EB-5 green card holders are considered U.S. residents for tax purposes, must declare and pay taxes on their worldwide income. Should they fail to do so – EB-5 status will be lost. Moreover, people who have had a green card for eight of the last 15 tax years are subject to a mark-to-market income tax if they surrender their green cards, even if the individual’s property holdings have not been sold or transferred.
E2 visa holders have ways to avoid world wide taxation. For tax purposes, the E-2 can be a resident or a non-resident depending on an IRS formula in “Substantial Presence Test” that takes into account the per annum physical presence in the U.S. As EB-5 is an immigrant type visa, green card holders have no way out. For this reason, many investors prefer the E2 visa to the green card.
* More information on Substantial Presence Test: https://www.irs.gov/Individuals/International-Taxpayers/Substantial-Presence-Test
Have you decided on applying for E-2 visa while your home country has no E-2 treaty signed with the U.S.?
If this is the case, we invite you to consider becoming a citizen of Grenada thru Citizenship By Investment Program. All Grenadian nationals qualify for E-2 visa. To date Grenada is the only Caribbean CBI jurisdiction to have a reciprocal commercial treaty, or ‘E-2 Investor Visa’, signed with the United States.
Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program allows individuals and their families to obtain their second citizenship in as little as 90 days with a minimum investment of US$200,000 for a family of four. To learn more on Grenada’s citizenship benefits and application requirements visit: Grenada’s Citizenship by Investment Program.
If you would like to receive more information or assistance preparing your Citizenship by Investment application, please contact us today. One of our experienced citizenship experts would be pleased to answer any questions you may have and show how we can streamline the process for you. Give us a call to get started!
The Role of Citizenship-By-Investment in Caribbean Tourism Development
There has been significant coverage in regional media in recent months on the subject of Citizenship-By-Investment (CBI) programs, which are now operating in five Eastern Caribbean countries. Some of the commentary underestimates the crucial potential value of these programs for the development of new hotels, as well as for the redevelopment and modernization of existing resorts.
David Jessop of the Caribbean Council wrote in a recent article, that “at a purely economic level, it is hard to understand why such schemes are not designed to be sustainable in ways that bring continuing income to the country concerned. Without any residency requirement there is no long term gain in the form of other taxes or fees.”
In an earlier report, the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) stated, “The economic benefits of the property model are unclear. Significant property purchase may raise housing values and help stabilize declining prices — albeit only at the high end of the market, as programs impose minimum property values.”
Both of these observations miss the point – and the potential – inherent in the CBI resort investment model. The fact that the Caribbean Citizenship By Investment programs do not require residency make them ideal for financing new tourism accommodation. New build apartments and cottages, with resort facilities, can be developed and sold as real estate to CBI purchasers, who hardly ever stay in their properties, but then make them available to the resort operator as hotel accommodation and share in the rental income. Some existing older hotels, which are struggling financially and in desperate need of updating, can also be converted to CBI resort product.
Another critical problem for resort development in the Caribbean is the lack of foreign direct investment and debt finance. Interest from resort investors has increased in the last two years but debt finance from banks and other financial institutions in the region, particularly for new build projects, is virtually nonexistent since the 2008 world financial crash. This builds the ground for Caribbean governments to decide on initiating a CBI program.
Industry professionals believe that the best option for the CBI investor is, firstly, to purchase “genuine” real estate – a condominium, freehold property or a fractional interest in a freehold property – far better security than shares in a hotel owning company. Secondly, that the CBI purchase should be made within a formal resort environment – not a single stand-alone villa.
Implemented correctly, the CBI resort investment model can create a successful ongoing hotel operation of quality, which provides direct employment and boosts overall tourism revenue for the island. Nearly all CBI clients are cash buyers and, therefore, the CBI funded resort can operate as a debt free business going forward. This is a major economic sustainability factor. Resorts fail – not when they can’t make payroll – but, rather, when they can’t pay the bank.
Based on the article by Robert MacLellan, Managing Director of MacLellan & Associates.
For further information on recent developments and to receive monthly updates subscribe to CSL Citizenship-by-Investment Newsletter. You may also contact us directly for a complimentary consultation.