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Using the EB-5 Visa to Attend Top US Colleges: Better than Student Visas

Some foreign national students are opting to apply for the EB-5 investment visa as opposed to a student visa to attend some of the US’s top colleges, for three main reasons:

1. An EB-5 investment may reduce overall costs

EB-5 holders are eligible for in-state tuition fees and rates; because these are typically lower than those of foreign nationals, this may be used to offset the cost of the visa.

Further, a parent that applies for the visa may receive a visa for each of their qualifying children; this could multiply the savings to the parent as each of their children would be eligible for in-state college tuition fees.

As such, though the initial investment is $500,000 per family to obtain the visa, this may be considered an at-risk investment that could return an interest and potentially offset the costs of education for the investor.

2. The EB-5 visa gives the student the ability to pursue work opportunities, both during their studies and after graduating, in any location and industry

Student visas are notoriously restrictive in their requirements such as those regarding to how long an applicant can study in the U.S. before they would have to renew the visa, the types of schools and programs pursued, the training and work opportunities students and graduates are allowed to pursue, as well as how long they can work in said fields.

Though less restrictive than the M-1 visa, and also generally allows students to pursue up to 4-year degrees, the specific college chosen must be approved by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In addition, working (employment) on this type of visa has many requirements and restrictions. Lastly, the H-1B visa also has several strict requirements, such as applicants having to be sponsored by their employers and restricted to working in specific industries.

3. The EB-5 provides investors, as well as their immediate family, a pathway to citizenship

An EB-5 has no additional requirements when applying for citizenship and is considered automatic. Other visa applications either have complex additional requirements, thereby making unattractive, or don’t offer a pathway to citizenship.

It is recommended that potential investors consult an experienced immigration attorney as well as perform their due diligence before they make any commitments. Furthermore, one should find out if they are eligible to invest in the EB-5 investor program, and then determine whether they have the risk-tolerance that presents itself before they invest.

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