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How can I use the Saint Kitts and Nevis investment passport program or any other program to beat the EB-5 backlog for Chinese nationals?

I am a Chinese national and I am interested in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, but the backlog is horrible. I am thinking of participating in the investment passport program at Saint Kitts and Nevis to get a passport and then use that passport to apply for the EB-5 program to get around the backlog. Would this work? The Saint Kitts and Nevis investment program is $250,000 by itself.

Answers

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The place of birth, in this case, China, causes the EB-5 investor to be subject to the retrogression and not citizenship of another country.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes, since your ultimate goal, presumably, is to obtain Lawful Permanent Residency in the U.S., you can commence that process by filing an EB-5 petition on Form I-526 recognizing that it will take 3-4 years or even longer before visa numbers are available and you could apply for your immigrant visa or for Adjustment of Status. The advantage of acquiring St. Kitts and Nevis citizenship is very limited vis a vis the U.S. If you acquired Grenadian citizenship, however, you could possibly seek an E-2 non-immigrant Treaty Investor visa allowing you to live and work physically in the U.S. in connection with such investment. By definition, that investment would have to be a very different investment than one would normally make through an EB-5 regional center since, in order to qualify for a Treat Investor status, you must show that you or other nationals of Grenada have a majority ownership interest in a new enterprise in which you have made a substantial investment. The term "substantial" is not defined, but it normally means at least several hundred thousand dollars or more creating jobs for at least several or more prospective employees. It may be more advisable to qualify for your Lawful Permanent Residency or so-called "green card" status through an existing EB-5 regional center so you do not have the pressure of creating a business that creates and maintains 10 full-time jobs over a period of years.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No, you cannot. The country of chargeability for an immigration visa allocation is based upon country of birth, not citizenship. A Chinese citizen could become a dual citizen (China and a treaty country) and directly invest in the U.S. under the E-2 Treaty Investor Visa (note that this will NOT work for investment in a regional center). The E-2 visa requires the investor to own at least 50% of the commercial enterprise and it would allow for much faster entry into the United States (no annual quota or limit). Although E-2 is not a green card and does not automatically lead to U.S. permanent residence, it does have certain advantages over EB-5 and should be considered in any consultation you have with your immigration counsel.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Unfortunately, that would not help since the chargeability rule is that a person is charged according to his/her country of BIRTH, not citizenship. So, as far as the EB-5 program is concerned, you would be counted as a Chinese National for backlogs.

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    Michael A Harris

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Unfortunately, having citizenship from St. Kitts and Nevis or any other country will not help you work around the Chinese quota. This is because principal investors are generally counted or charge for an immigrant based on their country of birth. This is the concept of chargeability, which you could easily read about on the U.S. Department of State website. The only other conceivable way to work around the Chinese immigrant visa quota system would be if your spouse were born in a country other than China. In this type of scenario, if your spouse were not born in mainland China, then the U.S. Department of State could charge your EB-5 visa as the principal investor to the citizenship of your spouse. This would be under the governments rules for cross-chargeability.

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    Rebecca Singh

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Unfortunately, you cannot bypass the backlog by obtaining citizenship through another country. The quota is based on your country of birth, not the country of citizenship. However, if married and your spouse's county of birth is someplace other than Mainland China, you can bypass the backlog that way. This is known as cross-chargeability. Please note that children''s country of birth will not satisfy the requirement; only the spouse.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Unfortunately, the visa cap per country is based on the country you were born, not where your current citizenship is located. If you were born in China, the country chargeability dictates that you will be subjected to the current backlog of the visa categories in most of the EB categories. Unless Congress eliminates the per country quota of visa numbers, the sheer population size of countries such as China and India and the number of people who wish to come to the U.S. from those countries, the immigrants from those countries will always have a problem with the available visa numbers.

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    Ying Lu

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No, it will not work. The visa bulletin looks to the place of birth, not the country of citizenship.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No, because the U.S. quota system is based only on country of birth, but you can cross-charge to a spouse from another country.

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    Dale Schwartz

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You cannot do this. What counts is the country of your birth.

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    A Olusanjo Omoniyi

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This may not work as your suggested process will likely violate the EB-5 principal qualification for foreign nationals. Generally, each EB-5 petitioner is considered based on his or her country of origin. In your case, it means that your country of origin is China but you will be treated as a mere resident of St. Kitts and Nevis. Therefore, you will still be treated as a Chinese national. Thus, in the end, you may not be able to avoid the long waiting process. Advisably, talk to an EB-5 attorney before proceeding further.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No; the backlog is based on place of birth which you cannot change. If you married a person from somewhere other than mainland China, such as Hong Kong, then your wait is removed. Alternatively, you could do the Grenada program and possibly be eligible to apply for an E-2 treaty investor visa that is valid for up to 5 years at a time.

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