Many families, particularly from Europe, have spent some great holidays in America over the years – they often first made the trip with their children on family holidays enjoying the theme parks and then when the children have flown the nest, long to rekindle happy memories and enjoy all the sun and other advantages particularly of Florida and California on a permanent long term basis in retirement.

Until recently their retirement dreams have been frustrated due to a lack of a suitable visa. The USA has no retirement visa as such and so all too often unless they applied through the E2 or L1 visa programs and bought a business their hopes remained a pipedream – and as both these visas were for fixed terms and did not provide permanent residence they often had to pass on their hopes and either remain in their homeland through those dreary winters, or opt for other countries and the potential language difficulties. However, at long last, there is finally a proven alternative visa option that has satisfied those dreams of year round sunshine and the advantages of the American way of life – the EB-5 visa pilot program.

If you are planning to retire permanently to the USA and are interested in the EB5 regional center pilot program please click here for contact details.

 

Cases studies from those who used the EB-5 visa for retirement.

Let’s look at a case study taken from one of our previous 300 plus clients, that relates to a couple who achieved their lifelong dream to retire permanently in the USA.

A British couple who had spent many happy holidays with their children in Orlando Florida over the past twenty years had been looking at ways they might be able to retire permanently but were concerned that their only options apparently related to the E2 and L1 visas – which either did not allow or guarantee permanent residence. They were also concerned that the Attorneys they spoke to focused only on the legal aspects but were not really listening to their personal requirements including their wide ranging concerns on living their retirement in America.

After a meeting with Andrew Bartlett in 2005 they decided to look at the EB_5 visa in more detail and with the husbands retirement in 2006 they decided, after making further enquiries, to choose a project in one of the few approved and proven regional centers that was available at the time. The program was for the improvement of a commercial warehouse project in a developing area of a major US City; the building has subsequently been renovated and leased, generating a rental income of $30,000 a year.

The couple decided on a clean break from the UK selling their British home and the rental properties they also owned which provided them  with total net worth well in excess of the required (by the US government) million dollar figure, along with ongoing pension income from their years of employment.

The I-526 approval took several months and the couple were then interviewed at the U.S. Consulate in London and granted immigrant visas.

Following a further briefing with us covering key issues such as medical insurance, doctors, driving tests, shipping of their possessions and the pros and cons of different locations they relocated to Venice Florida on the basis of the things to do, the quality of life and very competitive housing costs.

The couple have subsequently had their I 829 removal of conditions granted in 2008 and have settled very happily in the Florida way of life. Playing a lot of tennis and golf and making friends has as they say made them more active and busier than they were in the UK – their grown up children and families visit them at least twice a year and they return to the UK for holidays when their grandchildren are on school holidays.

We have continued to keep in touch and checked out issues that have cropped up with them for the benefit of new clients, a key one being the exit strategy of the program they opted for in the light of the world downturn and subsequent interesting projects becoming available.
If you are planning to retire permanently to the USA and are interested in the EB5 regional center pilot program please click here for contact details.

This British family had travelled extensively throughout the USA both for business and holiday reasons over the past twelve years and wanted to relocate permanently – the family consisted of three groups – the grandparents – their two grown up married children and their wives plus their children – thus three EB5 investor cases in total.

They had extensive assets following the sale of various business interests and were looking for a visa providing secure permanent residence in the USA that would allow them to establish businesses in the USA but would not be tied to restrictive conditions, which would be the case with the E2 and L1 visa.

Having looked at the range of alternative regional center programs with us their specifications included, a clear and specific exit route after five years, preferably a program that loaned the funds rather than something more speculative, a program working with government agencies and a program likely to be processed quickly, given that they wanted the younger children to be relocated in time to start school at the beginning of the term.

They decided on a well established center that had an existing program loaning development funds over five years for the expansion of a major state/city conference centre – they were less concerned about the modest interest rate on the loan as their focus was on minimizing risks regarding the return of funds. The I-526 approval took two months and the families were then interviewed at the U.S. Consulate in London and granted immigrant visas six weeks later. We continued to keep in touch and checked out issues that have cropped up with them for the benefit of new clients, they raised a couple of issues which are worth passing on to those of you considering the EB-5 visa.

 

The couple have subsequently had their I- 829 removal of conditions granted in 2012 and enjoy the American way of life.
If you are planning to retire permanently to the USA and are interested in the EB5 regional center pilot program please click here for contact details.

 

In-depth case study of client using the EB-5 visa to retire in the USA

We started planning a retirement move from our home in Essex about 1998, originally thinking of the South Coast of England. However, this was discounted for two reasons:

(1) we couldn’t find an area that was warm or sunny enough
(2) no significant difference in property values that would enable us to capitalize on a ‘down-size’.

We then had a brief thought about France/Spain but this was dismissed primarily because of the choice between a language difference or living in a Brit enclave which didn’t appeal to either of us.  By this time our minds were constantly going towards moving abroad so we went to an ‘Emigration’ show in 2003 to see what our options were.  We were considering the US as we had been for a few holidays and made some friends there, but at this stage we thought that emigrating there would be impossible.  However, our luck changed when the following year we met Andrew Bartlett. He was very knowledgeable and helpful in giving us information about the possibility of moving to the USA.

In 2006, after much consideration we believed that the EB5 visa was the ideal route for us to take. We needed to sell our house to raise the money for the EB5 investment and by Easter 07 we had found a buyer. Our own investment had to wait until June when our house sale was completed. All the proceeds were converted into dollars at that time using a foreign exchange service. In the UK we decided to go into rented accommodation so that when the time came to move, there wouldn’t be a delay. This has been helped by renting from friends so that the period could be flexible.

How did you choose the area where you made your purchase?

After many emails and telephone conversations with Andrew Bartlett, we asked him to give us one of his briefings.  After lengthy discussions with him we decided on Sarasota as being the area where we wanted to live. We had visited this area on previous occasions and felt that it offered what we were looking for – friendly, safe & clean community, within 1 ½ hours of an international airport, close to beautiful beaches with good value & affordable properties.   Another of our requirements was that we wanted to live amongst American people and not solely within a Brit expat community.

How long did it take you to find the right property?

At our briefing with Andrew, apart from answering our many questions, he gave us the name of a realtor who he thought we would enjoy working with. After numerous emails flying across the pond to the realtor we were able to short list our requirements before we met with her in August 07. We had arranged to spend 10 days in the Sarasota area & looked at short- listed properties that fitted our requirements. Very quickly we decided on Lakewood Ranch which is 10 miles NE from Sarasota and is planned community with all facilities on the site – golf courses, fitness centres, swimming pools, nature trails etc. Within 6 days of our visit we bought an off plan home there.

How much did you pay for your new home and how did you fund the purchase?

It was $500,000 which came from the sale of our UK house.

Can you describe your property?

It is a detached single storey, 3 bed, 2 ½ bath, 2200 sq ft with pool in a gated no-maintenance community.  The rear overlooks a small lake and beyond that is a nature preserve.  We agreed to buy the plot of land and house in August 07 & it was all built and the keys handed over to us in August 08.  We are absolutely thrilled with the standard of our home – we arranged to have a property inspector keep a check on its progress and he confirmed that everything was done to a very high standard.

At last…………..the light at the end of the tunnel.

September 08.  We received notification that our visa had been approved.

December 08.  Spent 3 weeks over Christmas at our new home – now fully furnished after arranging with an interior designer to completely furnish our home.  She has been worth her weight in gold and was introduced to us via one of Andrew’s contacts.

January 09.  At last we received a letter from the US embassy asking us to contact them to arrange medicals and interview.

February 09.  We had successful medicals and interview resulting in our visa applications being approved.  One week later we received an email from our lawyer saying that it was advisable for us go to the USA as soon as possible to make sure our passports were stamped at our port of entry which would activate the issue of our “green cards”.  This urgency was due to the EB5 visa pilot programme being due to expire on 6 March 09.  A good excuse to have a weekend trip to New York!

March 09. And finally, we have a few last minute details to overcome – resigning from our UK jobs and then booking flights/shipping etc with a view to moving permanently to our Florida home in May 09.

May 09. On our way at last -flights booked and last minute goodbyes arranged – look out Florida the Brits are coming!

A few tips.

Be patient –

Network – pick the brains of as many people as possible. Andrew Bartlett has been immensely helpful and knowledgeable throughout our journey – without him and his contacts we don’t believe that we would be on our way to realise our American Dream.

Open a US bank account as soon as possible.

Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted.

Brian and Jane Thompson

 

2012 Update – The Thompsons have now very much become British Floridians enjoying the year round outdoor Florida lifestyle.

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