Royal Diep Truc, “Trudi Hoang,” is the founder of Citizen Pathway Investment, an immigrant investment company in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. It provides immigrant visa services for a variety of countries but specializes in the EB-5 immigrant investor program, which she says accounts for about 70% of her work.
Hoang founded Citizen Pathway in 2021 but has been in this line of work since 2015. She estimates that she has successfully helped place about 400 Vietnamese high-net-worth individuals in the EB-5 visa program in United States.
Entering the investment immigration business
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in banking, corporate finance, and securities law, Hoang worked as a corporate relationship manager for Techcombank in Ho Chi Minh City. It was here working with her clients that she learned about their aspirations for their families to go to the U.S. and other developed countries.
“They shared their stories about how they would like for their children to have a better future in developed countries,” she says. “Some have already started their immigration process, so I became curious about the industry.”
She joined ImmiCa Immigration Investment in 2015, a company that specializes in immigrant investment programs, and worked there for more than five years taking on positions of increased responsibilities. She then joined a company in the U.S. that has a global real estate crowd-funding platform for a year and a half. Through her contacts and experience and with the trust of her clients, she formed Citizen Pathway Investment in November 2021.
The rewards of the job
Hoang says she loves servicing her clients and getting to know them and their families. When the investment ends successfully for her clients, she’s often invited to their celebrations.
“I have helped over 400 EB-5 investors to get their green cards and their money back,” she says. “In August, I’m attending a celebration party for one of my clients when they get their money back. The reason why I love being a service provider and consultant is because I see how meaningful investment services are. I work with wealthy people, entrepreneurs who are already successful. They see opportunities to expand their businesses and bring their families to a new country to ensure their future. They bring their business talent to the U.S. and in return they receive a passport that can help them with expanding their business.”
Regional center and direct investment options
“Mostly we offer regional programs,” Hoang says. “Last year, regional programs didn’t work so we also offered direct EB-5 programs.”
For regional centers, Hoang says she found that it is best to work with just a few skilled companies.
“We are working with one of the most experienced regional centers in the US: CanAm, EB5 United, and with Behring Co.,” she says. “We’ve been introduced to 10 projects already. We spend a lot of time on maintaining good relations with the project and regional center.”
Settlement services in the U.S.
In addition to standard immigration investment services, Hoang also provides settlement options for her clients. Most are in California but people are also moving to Texas and South Florida, so her company is expanding these services. To do this, Citizen Pathway works with real estate companies and others to secure proper homes for her clients.
“We have two business partners in California, and they are working in American-Vietnamese communities, so they are there to support our clients when they land in the U.S. We also provide tax advisors to explain how the U.S. tax system works,” she says. It’s really helpful for our clients and we work hard to show them how to protect their assets.”
She continues, “We take care of them from the airport, we provide rental housing and find schools within one month of when they land in the U.S. And we will help them buy a house.”
This service extends even further. “Even after they finish their EB-5, we find investment products for our clients.”
Challenges with the EB-5 program
Hoang says the two biggest challenges with the EB-5 program are the processing time and choosing quality investment projects, which is why she works with a few companies she can trust.
“With 800,000 applications it can take five to seven years to be processed. Now the goal (of USCIS) is to shorten the time to six months. If there are no more backlogs, then there will be more visas available.”
Now that the EB-5 program is opened again, Hoang says she can increase the number of her clients from 40 to 50 per year to upwards of 200. This expansion includes opening offices in cities outside Ho Chi Minh City.
“We believe this year we will be one of the most active agencies in Vietnam,” she says. “We’re going to be the top three in the market and will bring more services and target more people. We are really confident and really happy to bring good quality projects to our clients.”
Even with admission delays and other issues, Hoang says the EB-5 program is a way to change people’s lives.
“I still believe EB-5 is a great program for our clients, allowing for rich people and successful people to earn a better quality of life. We are really happy EB-5 is back this year so we can continue being successful and bring services and solutions for our clients.”