Enticing Foreign Investors – Buy a home get a Visa?


Recnetly,  U.S. Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Mike Lee (R-UT)  introduced a bill that would allow foreigners who spend at least $500,000 on residential property to obtain visas allowing them to live in the United States.  The “Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America Act”, or VISIT-USA Act is similar to an existing program that puts foreigners on a fast track to a green card if they invest at least $500,000 in an American business that creates at least 10 jobs.

The legislation would create a new homeowner visa that would be renewable every three years, but would not be a path to citizenship.  There are a number of stipulations and restrictions, however:

  • To be eligible, a person would have to buy a primary residence of at least $250,000 and spend a total of $500,000 on residential real estate.  Other properties could be rented.
  • The purchase would have to be in cash, no mortgage or home equity loan allowed.
  • The property would have to be bought for more than its most recent appraised value
  • Buyer would have to live in home for at least 180 days each year, requiring paying US Income taxes on any foreign earnings.
  • Visa eligibility would be revoked if property was sold.
  • Work visas still must be obtained to hold a job.
  • Neither buyer nor dependents would be eligible to receive Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security benefits.

Some brokers say that a visa incentive to foreign buyers could potentially even triple sales in their markets. 

“California, Florida, New York, Colorado, Hawaii, and Texas — those states will see a huge increase in demand,” Sandra Miller, a broker at Engel & Volkers in Santa Monica, told the Los Angeles Times.

Source:  Los Angeles Times story

Categories : Buyers, Foreign, The Process

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