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  • For most of the world, getting a long-term visa into the United States can take as long as 10 years, and involves countless roadblocks and hurdles to overcome.

  • But for some wealthy foreign nationals, the path to citizenship can be as easy as cutting a million-dollar check, and the process is perfectly legaleven encouraged.

  • So how exactly can somebody buy their way to U.S. citizenship?

  • Well, the current system for investment-based visas is known as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program.

  • In 2014 nearly 11,000 investors from around the world have taken advantage of this programroughly 85% of them Chinese nationals.

  • This has sparked outcry in recent years that entry into the United States has become more of a commodity than an equal opportunity.

  • But in fact EB-5 is nothing new.

  • This visa category was established as part of the Immigration Act of 1990.

  • The act was a major overhaul of a long outdated immigration policy, and increased the number of yearly immigrants from 500,000 to 700,000, as well as providing allocations for immediate family members of existing nationals.

  • It also removed restrictions on homosexuality, English language requirements, and introduced a series of new visa categories.

  • Among them was a priority on significant investors in the US economy known as the EB-5.

  • As part of this new category, not only would applicants have to invest 1 million dollars, or $500,000 if in an economically struggling area, they would also have to guarantee employment for at least 10 American workers.

  • Thereby promoting a foreign influx of capital and economic growth for the United States.

  • In exchange, these financiers would receive green card status, and most of the time, they'd make back their money within a few years.

  • After five years, these green card holders are eligible for full US citizenship.

  • But in spite of this lucrative opportunity, golden visas have only become popular within the last decade.

  • Between 1990 and 2007, the program never came anywhere close to its yearly 10,000 applicant quota.

  • According to Fortune, in 2003, the government only issued 65 EB-5 visas to foreign investors.

  • So why such an influx today?

  • Well, two factors dramatically increased the number of applicants.

  • The first was the global economic crisis in 2008.

  • Banks in the United States suddenly tightened up both the criteria necessary to lend money to businesses as well as the amount of money available to lend.

  • This made the EB-5 program an attractive venue for businesses to raise capital.

  • Additionally, in the last decade, China's economy has skyrocketed with the number of Chinese millionaires jumping by nearly 900 percent when compared to 2006.

  • But while this system has generated a significant amount of economic growth and American jobs, the controversies surrounding the program's preference for the wealthy remains.

  • In February 2017, senators Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein introduced legislation to end the EB-5 visa system, calling it inherently flawed and pointing to fraud abuse and threats to security.

  • But the United States isn't the only country to implement such a golden visa program.

  • To learn where else it's possible to buy citizenship outright, check out this video.

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For most of the world, getting a long-term visa into the United States can take as long as 10 years, and involves countless roadblocks and hurdles to overcome.

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How To Buy US Citizenship | NowThis World

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