It is no secret there are many Filipinos dreaming of living and working in the US.
You could see hundreds of them, lining up day in and day out at the US Embassy in Manila, all hoping to acquire US visas.
More often than not though, most of them go home with nothing to show.
Getting a US visa is, no doubt, easier said than done.
The waiting is arduous and the matter of getting approval subjective, with the US consulate admitting to a myriad of reasons why they say no to applicants, particularly those eager to acquire permanent residence status there.
There is, however, a little known visa application considered the fastest option in acquiring permanent residence status in the US.
Known as Investment visa EB-5, it offers holders, including family members (spouse and unmarried children below 21), freedom to study, work, and live in the US sans additional immigration requirements.
We learned this recently from Nicolai Hinrichsen, a senior attorney with New York-based Miller Mayer LLP.
Hinrichsen has over a decade of experience in EB-5 immigration. He was recently recognized by EB-5 Investor Magazine as one of the top 25 legal professionals in the field.
According to Hinrichsen, the EB-5 Program was created by the US Congress in 1990 under the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services to stimulate the US economy by creating more jobs for its citizens through foreign investment.
“The catch is that an EB-5 application needs a minimum investment of $500,000,” Hinrichsen said.
$500,000 is not a paltry sum in any language and this has caused many to shy away from the EB-5 option. But Hinrichsen pointed out applicants could actually protect their interest by hooking up with USCIS-approved companies that guarantee a 100 percent return of the same.
He then cited the likes of Lightstone Investments, considered one of the largest privately held real estate companies in the US.
A quick Google search shows Lightstone could uphold the guarantee as it owns over 15,000 apartments throughout the US.
Some of its properties include The Moxy East Village Hotel in New York City, Gantry Park Landing in Long Island, New York as with other select service hotels branded by Marriott.
To date, more than 18,000 investors have funnelled over $1.6 billion of their money in real estate investment funds managed by Lightstone. (Neil Ramos)