Many Brazilians feed their dream of living abroad, and a destination that stands out among the rest is the United States. Despite the will, a good portion of the people is discouraged by the inherent bureaucracy in this process.
Among the four general categories of permanent visa issues that the American consulate makes available to immigrants, according to Godke Silva & Rocha Advogados, the investor visa is the one that has been the most requested by Brazilians. With headquarters in São Paulo and Branch in Miami, the office advises Brazilian and foreign clients with the desire to invest in the American country. “Brazilians love traditional destinations such as Florida, New York, and California. But there is no differentiation in the documentation because the requests are based on federal laws, not state laws, “said Jeffrey Marathas, an American partner at the firm and a specialist in this type of processing.
For those interested in obtaining this endorsement of US Immigration Law, the alert is posted on the consulate’s own website: “We advise applicants to get the most information about US immigration laws, regulations, and policies.” Therefore, planning and knowledge of local legislation avoid unforeseen and misunderstandings that can generate unexpected costs or even make the dream fall apart.
However, there are numbers that prove that Brazilians have been successful in their endeavor. The office says that in Florida, 75% of properties above USD 500,000 last year were purchased by Brazilians. Still, in the state, approximately 47% of all properties bought by foreigners came from Tupiniquins lands. But one factor ends up delaying many of these acquisitions: the form of payment. The difficulty of obtaining financing (which is often due to a lack of knowledge of the functioning of the real estate financing market in the US), makes investors prefer cash transactions, which of course requires more time to reserve the necessary amount.
“We have contact with 5 banks willing to grant loans to eligible Brazilian clients. Interest rates range from 4.5% to 6.5% per year. On average, an entrance of 30% of the value of the property is required, “explains Marcelo Godke. The process consists of demonstrating the ability to pay, which is done by preparing a dossier that will include the credit history of the loan applicant to be presented to US banks. “We, in some cases, receive the money in escrow and declare to the consulate that fact. After, the grant of the visa, we make the disbursement for the seller of the business that was acquired “, completes the lawyer.
E-2 Visa Investor Visa (E-2 Treaty Investor Visa)
This option is intended for entrepreneurs who wish to open a business in any branch of activity in the United States, as well as actively manage and direct the business.
Such entrepreneurs must be citizens of countries that maintain trade and shipping agreements with the United States (Spain, France, Italy, Paraguay, Argentina, for example), and should invest a sufficient amount of money to ensure the proper functioning of the business, and to be able to support their families – somewhere around $ 50,000 to $ 60,000 would be enough, depending on the case and the way of making the request.
Finally, it is important to remember that this type of Visa, while granting its applicant the possibility of living indefinitely in the US, does not mean that it has won US citizenship because for this would depend on granting the so-called “Green Card.”
But would it be worth asking the Green Card once the investor already has an immigration visa granted? The answer is: it depends on the aspirations of the person. “If the goal is to become a permanent resident, the Green Card will be the best option, as it may lead to the application for citizenship. Otherwise, that is, living in the United States for a few years, the best is something that has a temporary nature, because the applicant may have negative tax consequences, “says Jeffrey Marathas.
Visas and the Green Card
The American legislation offers some options of visa according to the characteristics of the business that will be developed by the immigrant. The conditions to obtain it also vary with the nationality (in the case of applicants who have citizenship other than Brazilian the visa can be given more easily) and the amount invested.
EB-5 Immigrant Visa (Visa)
This Visa program is intended for people who wish to obtain permanent residence in the United States and still be able to earn income from their investment.
The EB-5 Regional Centers are entities that administer foreign investment projects in the US to promote increased national capital, job creation, improved regional productivity, and increased economic growth. To participate in this program the investor must be prepared to invest US $ 1 million in the US economy in sectors and projects previously selected by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service.
The value of the investment can be reduced to U $ 500,000 if it is destined to foment companies in the territory with a low level of economic development (mainly in rural areas) and high rate of unemployment. Typically the centers finance the business project, which is then refinanced by the banks so that the investor ultimately pays the lenders. At this stage, relying on expert support is important. “The problem here is choosing the right EB-5 center, as there are many who will go bankrupt in the future. One option that we consider safe, for example, is that of centers that invest in the real estate market of New York, which is very heated, “suggests Jeffrey Marathas.
This type of Visa is granted not only to the investor but also to his relatives (spouse and children under 21 years of age) and it takes an average of eight to nine months to be granted.
L-1 Transfer of Executives and Managers
With this permission, companies with units inside and outside the US are allowed to transfer managers and key professionals from their overseas units to America. In the same way, this professional can be used to start a new subsidiary or branch in North American soil.
A major advantage of L-1 is that it can be converted into a Green Card without the need for the applicant to undergo the grueling process of Job Certification. Usually, the process to obtain this Visa delay of 1 to 2 months; which is valid for one year, with the possibility of renewal of one year, and after that, the Green Card may be granted.
In order to obtain the L-1 Visa, the professional must have been employed abroad with a position and management or have highly specialized knowledge for at least six months. Similarly to the previous case, spouse and children under 21 years old can join this type of visa.