EB5 Investors Magazine: When did you decide to immigrate to the United States? What is your main motivation for becoming a permanent resident?
David: We decided to move to the United States in 2007. I had been vacationing to Florida for several years off and on, and had bought a few rental properties. We started thinking about making the move for our four young children, and my family enjoyed vacationing there. I started to look into options, in Christmas of 2007, we made the trip as a family to Florida to make a decision about the program.
EB5 Investors Magazine: How did you learn about the EB-5 program?
David: When we began researching ways to come to the United States I came across the EB-5 program. With being a business owner, I did not think that I could qualify to be sponsored under any other kind of visa, so I started doing research into the program. Fortunately, I was in the financial position to make that a possibility, and began researching how to make that happen. I met with a few people in Florida, and one in London, and then started performing due diligence to look into projects.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Could you briefly describe your professional background and business?
David: I am from Northern Ireland, and owned a family farm with my brothers. I also had purchased a few rental properties in the United States over the years, and managed those.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Did you conduct your own due diligence before making the investment? How much time did you spend evaluating the project you invested in?
David: Yes, I did. I evaluated 12 projects in total, and spent at least a few months looking into the projects. I did not wanted to find a project that was an investment in a property, in real estate. I knew that the investment had to be at risk and was not guaranteed, and wanted to make a decision on a project that had as little risk as possible. There were some projects that offered one percent back, some that offered five percent, but I was looking for one that offered the most secure investment and return in terms of job numbers.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Can you briefly describe what the EB-5 process was like from an investor’s perspective?
David: CMB made the process very smooth. From the beginning, I spoke directly with Kraig at CMB. Having that contact with someone from high up in the organization helped with peace of mind through the process – when you are investing half a million dollars, you want to be able to know what is happening with that money and when.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Based on your experiences, were there any aspects throughout the EB-5 application that were particularly difficult?
David: Being from Northern Ireland, we had to apply for EB-5 with British passports, so we had to make several trips down to London. It was those unexpected costs that you do not think of that really add up – things like doctors visits for paperwork and visits to the embassy. Finally, for our Consulate interview we had to fly all six of us down to London.
EB5 Investors Magazine: When did you obtain your permanent green card? Were your investment funds repaid? Are you satisfied with your life in America?
David: Altogether, the application process took about two years. We started the process in 2008, and were able to move in 2010, when we received permanent residency. Yes, we received an email from Patrick Hogan in April or May of this year saying that the project was ready to liquidate, and that we would need to complete the paperwork to receive our investment. It took a few months for all investors to get the paperwork in and processed, but we received the final check around August 2015. We ended up receiving a little bit less than we had invested because of administrative fees, but that was to be expected and we had been informed of that from the beginning.
EB5 Investors Magazine: What was the most challenging part of moving to the United States and getting situated once you arrived?
David: The move itself was fairly smooth. We coordinated beforehand with the teachers at our childrens’ school, and were in touch with them about six weeks before we got here. We bought a house, we are just South of Daytona Beach, and I started looking for a job. That was something that we needed to do once we had the ability to work here, which was a factor in our decision, because we could not have moved here without work or a source of income, and for planning for retirement. I first got a job at Disney and worked there for about five years, and just this year I moved to another job. My wife and I both work to support our family, and I also manage our rental properties here in Florida. Our home in Northern Ireland is now a rental.
EB5 Investors Magazine: Are you thinking of applying for citizenship? Why?
David: Yes, we will likely start that process next year. The green card has to be renewed every 10 years, and we think it would be easier for our kids if they have citizenship. ★