Immigration Guide for International Buyers of Real Estate in the U.S.

Posted by Andreas Holder on Thursday, November 1st, 2018 at 3:03pm.

Photo by Rocio Ramirez on Unsplash

Here Is What You Need To Know As A Foreigner Buying Real Estate In The U.S.

It is abundantly clear that we are now, more than ever, living in a global economy. America will likely always be a desired destination for the international entrepreneur or multinational employee. Thus, it is good to have some familiarity with basic concepts of immigration law and some general visa types that may be suitable for the global buyer. 

In this brief introductory guide to U.S. visas, we outline some commonly used visa options that might be applicable to international buyers. Please note that the information provided in this guide is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please contact an immigration lawyer if you need specific legal advice. The information here is provided by McEntee Law Group in Chicago.

E-2 Visa, also known as the "investor visa"

  • Foreign investors must be from a treaty country
  • Foreign investors must own at least 50% of the U.S. business
  • No minimum investment required but generally an investment of $100,000 to $150,000 is recommended
  • Works well for "brick and mortar" businesses, not so well for low-investment start ups.

L-1A and L-1B Visa, also known as "intra-company transfer" visa

  • Permits a company to transfer personnel from an entity abroad to a related entity in the U.S. 
  • Transfer of executives and managers on the L-1A and "specialized knowledge" employees on the L-1B visa as long as they have worked for the firm for at least one year
  • Allows the individual to potentially pursue a green card
  • Unlike the E-2 visa, there is no recommended minimum investment required in the L-1 cases

EB-5 visa

  • Allows eligible entrepreneurs to apply for permanent residence. 
  • Investors must invest in new commercial enterprise
  • Minimum qualifying investment
    • $1 million or
    • $500,000 in an area of targeted unemployment
  • Investors must plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S workers

International Transferees  and Family:

Multinational companies use various visa types to transfer personnel to the U.S. There are some real estate concerns for these employees and as a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) I am able to assist these transferees with their housing needs. Examples are temporary corporate housing accommodation, mortgage questions, planning "look and see" trips and see some permanent housing options in advance of travel. 

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