About 30 Nigerians are said to have indicated interest in securing the United States EB-5 foreign investor visa.
The Managing Director, Emerging Markets (Africa) for Atlantic American Partners, Daniel Ryan, disclosed this in an interview with journalists in Lagos on Monday.
Ryan, an equity fund management firm in charge of the programme, explained that an applicant would be expected to pay $500,000(N180m) to qualify for the visa.
The amount, which is the least investment in the programme, is under the category tagged ‘Targeted Employment Area investment’.
The standard investment category is $1m.
The programme, operated by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, was established in 1990 to facilitate increased investment in the US economy.
It enables foreigners who make an investment in a US business to obtain a green card and become lawful permanent residents, and eventual citizens of the US.
The investor can permanently live and work in the US with their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21.
Ryan said three Nigerians had been issued the visa since April when he started promoting the programme in the country.
The 30 Nigerians, who have indicated interest, according to him, will have to undergo background checks to ascertain the legitimate source of funding and ensure they have not been convicted of any crime.
He said once the investment was made and initial application (called I-526) had been submitted, it would take 18 to 24 months for approval.
“At a point, a conditional green card is issued, providing all the benefits of a full green card until job creation is proved. Twenty-one months later, the applicant can file the second part of the application (I-829).
“Upon approval of the I-829, the conditional status is converted to a permanent green card. The whole process should take five years.”
Ryan disclosed that the money is returned to the investor with interest and a token after they had settled in the US and money had been realised from the property they have invested in.
He hinted that there were discussions around increasing the investment threshold.
This was confirmed by an immigration alert sighted by our correspondent on Monday which indicated that a new rule increasing the EB-5 (TEA) investment amount from $500,000 to $900,000 will come into effect from November.