USCIS okays petitions for $17M in immigrant funding for riverfront redevelopment

EB5 Capital announced that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun to issue I-526 Petition approvals for investors in EB5 Capital’s Dock 79 (formerly known as Riverfront at the Navy Yard) mixed-use project in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood of Washington, D.C.

The I-526 Petition is the first step in the process for immigrant investors seeking to become permanent residents of the United States by investing through Regional Centers in new, job-creating enterprises.

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Buying visas with investments is big business. And Congress is taking notice.

What began as a rarely used path to U.S. citizenship for wealthy foreigners has become big business in American real estate, one that Congress is considering for reform.

The EB-5 immigrant investor program allows citizens of foreign countries to acquire U.S. visas by investing a minimum of $500,000 into American businesses so long as the money creates at least 10 jobs.

A few years ago the program was barely used. By one count, only 346 such visas were issued nationwide in 2005.

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Immigrant Investors: A New Source of Real Estate Capital

When the Athia family arrived in Washington, D.C., during the 1990s, they gained entrée to the local motel industry through connections from their native India. What began for them as front desk check-ins and the cleaning of motel rooms in suburban Maryland has grown into Baywood Hotels, a successful family-run hospitality development firm that has completed more than 70 hotels nationwide.

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Foreigners Finance Real Estate Development to Gain U.S. Citizenship

People seeking U.S. citizenship are financing Bay Area real estate projects using an obscure federal immigration program that grants green cards in exchange for capital investment. San Jose-based Barry Swenson Builder broke ground May 15 on an $80 million two-hotel complex east of the Mineta San Jose International Airport for which 40 percent of the cost is to come from equity raised from foreign investors.

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