US Visa for Buying a House?

Categories: Immigration Lawyer Blog San Diego

A new proposed bipartisan Senate bill would allow foreign nationals who spend at least $500,000 on a residential property to obtain a visa to live in the United States. The idea behind this bill is to help the housing market and provide increased investment in the United States.

In its current form the investor will have to invest at least $250,000 in a dwelling that will be a primary residence and a total of $500,000 in residential real estate. So this could include a personal residence and an investment property such as an apartment complex or rental house. The purchase must be made with cash or equivalent and not include a mortgage on the property. The buyer must live in the home for at least 180 days each year, and therefore have to pay U.S. income taxes on any foreign earnings. The spouse and children of the buyer can also live in the U.S. and attend school, but may not work without a separate employment visa.

This program is notably different from the current EB-5 visa program, as it is only a temporary visa, whereas the EB-5 program provides a path to permanent residency. However, under this new proposed program the investor’s home purchase counts as an investment and the investor does not have to worry about trying to create 10 jobs.

Given Congress’ inability to pass much of anything these days we are not optimistic that this will actually pass. Nevertheless, if it does pass this bill should provide a win-win opportunity for both America and foreign investors.