A Fast-Growing Market for the EB-5 “Green Card” Visa

Duncan Hill is marketing director at Davies & Associates LLC. Duncan is not a lawyer and nothing in this blog constitutes legal advice.


D&A’s global chairman, Mark Davies, will be visiting South Africa next week to meet with existing and prospective clients and to present at the Global Investment Immigration Summit 2019.

South Africa has become an increasingly important market for our firm. The country has a strong business and entrepreneurial spirit coupled with a growing tradition for global mobility. South Africa has more high-net-worth individuals than anywhere else in Africa, and a recent survey by FNB Estate Agents found that 18% of property sales by this group were prompted by the owners’ plans to move overseas.

Although South Africans have traditionally been attracted to the UK, Europe and Mauritius, we are seeing a growing interest in the United States. US student visas are up by a third over five years as more South Africans opt to study at American universities, and issuances of the H-1B visa for highly-skilled workers has registered a 50% increase over the same period.

Yet it is the EB-5 Investor Visa that has experienced the sharpest growth of any visa category among South Africans. There has been a six-fold increase in the number of EB-5 visas issued to South Africans since 2014. This visa is the fastest route to a US Green Card for individuals or families that are able to make a $500,000 investment. A Green Card offers a whole range of benefits, including the freedom to live, work, retire or study anywhere in the United States.

There has also been growth in the number of L visas issued to South Africans, albeit at a slower rate than EB-5. The L1 visa allows for the intracompany transfer of employees between the South African office and an American office of the same company. Davies & Associates specializes in helping companies set-up a new American office for the purposes of transferring employees on an L1 visa.

We are also seeing increasing number of inquiries from South Africans seeking a second passport to allow them to travel more seamlessly around the world. One popular option is the Grenada passport, which allows for visa-free travel to 50% more countries than the South African passport, including to the UK, the EU, Hong Kong, Singapore and the People’s Republic of China.

The Grenada passport also makes South Africans eligible for the United States E-2 Visa, which allows the holder to live in the United States for the purpose of owning and operating a business.

Mark Davies is a leading US immigration attorney with experience of successfully filing hundreds of EB-5 applications for our clients around the world. Please contact me to schedule a free consultation with Mark to determine the best immigration solution for you.

Mark will be in Johannesburg from June 20th – June 23rd and in Cape Town on June 24th. If you cannot make these dates or cities, please contact us to set up a telephone consultation with a view to meeting on his next visit.