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New visa rule changes could affect South Carolina

In existence since 1990, the EB-5 visa allows those who invest more than $500,000 in the United States to get a green card. While relatively unpopular in most parts of the world, many Chinese citizens use it as a way to gain entry into the country. Once an individual gets his or her green card, he or she can then bring other family members to the United States from China.

Roughly 10,000 people are awarded this visa each year, and 85 percent of these visas go to Chinese citizens. On average, it takes two years to complete the visa process. However, new rule changes that went into effect in May 2015 may result in a three-year wait. This is because there will be more applicants than visas available for those applicants.

Critics of the EB-5 visa claim that the government is essentially selling visas, but advocates say that the program brings in people who create jobs and stimulate the American economy. In fact, some investors have poured large sums of money into new shipyards and other real estate ventures. While he was in office, former New York Governor David Patterson traveled to China and used the visa as an incentive to get Chinese investors to come to the state.

Business professionals who wish to become permanent residents in the United States may have many options available to them. One such way to get a green card is to make a large investment within the country. An immigration attorney may be able to help those looking to live and work in the United States apply for an EB-5 visa. Having an attorney review paperwork and answer an applicant's questions may enable an individual to have the visa processed and approved in a timely manner.

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