By EB5 Investors Magazine Staff
Only 16 months after Tianji-native Joann Hu filed her I-526 petition and invested $500,000 into a film studio in Los Angeles in 2010, her family received their conditional green cards and settled down in a New Jersey suburb. She said her EB-5 journey, which started before the retrogression kicked in, has been filled with good fortune.
“I have to say that I am one of the lucky ones,” she said.
Working as vice president for a government-affiliated logistics company in Tianjin, China, Hu had high hopes for her kids’ education long before their journey to the U.S. began. She sent her son to an international school in Tianjin with the determination to provide him with the best education possible. When her son was about to attend 9th grade, Hu learned about EB-5 from other parents of her son’s classmates, who had decided to make the move to other English-speaking countries to further their children’s education.
“I wanted a complete high school education experience for my son too,” she said.
STARTING THE JOURNEY AS AN EB-5 INVESTOR
The Hu family embarked on the EB-5 journey in October of 2010.
“I didn’t want the application to cause any gap in the education for my son,” she said. “I wanted to get our conditional green cards just in time for him to attend 10th grade in an American high school.”
With that goal in mind, she talked with an immigration agent who was recommended by one of her friends and made the EB-5 investment into a film studio project in Los Angeles managed by Los Angeles County Regional Center.
“Most people would spend one or two years just to select an ideal project,” she said. “I did not go through that process. I just wanted it done fast so I grabbed the closest opportunity.”
In order to speed up the relocation process, Hu took the risk and started her new home hunting even before the family got their conditional green cards.
“Before we initiated the EB-5 application, I’ve traveled here three times as a tourist and once for business,” she said. “I like California a lot. I’ve thought about settling down in Los Angeles or San Diego but my husband prefer the East Coast because the climate there is more similar with that of our home city in China. My son also planned to attend colleges on the East Coast.”
She finally selected a tranquil community in Morris County in New Jersey with a beautiful scenery and elegant homes.
“There are also many high-quality public schools in this school district,” she said. “It only takes us 40 minutes to drive to Manhattan. The air is fresh and our house is cozy. I also have several friends living in the same area.”
She purchased the house while patiently waiting for news about her EB-5 application.
Her courage paid off. In February of 2012, only 16 months after she filed the I-526 petition, her family received their conditional green cards and her son was able to start 10th grade in a nearby prestigious high school.
In addition to the speedy immigration process, Hu also received her investment capital back shortly afterwards and has been receiving bonuses from the project every year.
“I have several friends living in the neighborhood who came to the U.S. with different EB-5 investment projects,” she said. “Every year when we received our K1 Forms we would compare who got the highest bonus and I win every year.”
A BRIGHT FUTURE FOR THE FAMILY
Hu now leads a quiet and happy life in her home.
“It didn’t take me very long to adjust to the new environment,” she said. “The quality of life is high, even the food safety is better. I have friends who live just a couple of doors down. Life is easier than before and more relaxing.”
While raising her 9-year-old daughter, Hu also manages a portfolio with investments in a variety of industries, which keeps her busy.
Thanks to the international education her son received in China, he managed to adjust to the U.S. curriculum fairly easily. After graduating at the top of his class, he was admitted to Boston College. The current junior is majoring in Political Science and was recently elected as vice president of an on-campus political club with around 1,000 members.
“My son told me: Mom, my English language skill is the best among all my friends who came from China after high school,” Hu said proudly.
Looking back at her experience from an EB-5 investor to a green card holder, she realizes she is one of the blessed ones.
“I feel I am very lucky,” she said. “I didn’t have to wait in the line for 5 to 10 years to get the green card and my investment turned out to be very profitable.”