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Mon 9 Feb 2015 10:57 AM

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Gulf investors sign up to Miami tower project offering US citizenship

Exclusive: For a $500,000 investment, buyers get a green card, which can lead to a passport after five years

Gulf investors sign up to Miami tower project offering US citizenship

Up to nine investors based in the Gulf have so far signed up a property development scheme in Miami that offers the chance to earn US citizenship in return for a minimum investment $500,000, with dozens more expected to join in the coming months.

The SkyRise Miami project was launched in Dubai two weeks ago and Step America, the Dubai-based agent for the project, said it has seen a lot of interest from investors in the Gulf.

“From this region we have been getting a lot of traction and interest in the project as it is a very high profile project,” Preeya Malik, an attorney at Step America, told Arabian Business.

“It is a very relatable project for investors here. It is based in Miami, which has a profile as a glamourous city… In the past 10 days or so we have had 7-9 clients,” she added.

SkyRise Miami is a $430 million entertainment and observation tower being built on the shore of Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida by America real estate tycoon Jeff Berkowitz.

For a minimum investment of $500,000 investors can apply to be part of the EB-5 visa scheme, which leads to a green card and the chance of full American citizenship after five years.

“It is the fastest and easiest way to get a green card right now,” Malik claimed. “Once you make that investment you get the immigration application and that includes the project info you are investing in, as well as your source of funds and personal profile to send with the application. You wait about 9-10 months to get approval… It is a permanent resident status and once you have it for five years you are eligible for a passport.”

Malik reported that the chance to earn a green card and eventually qualify for full American citizenship was a strong endorsement for expats in the region and she is expecting it to see a lot of interest.

“This project we are looking to get the minimum $30 million and that is a $500,000 per investor… I am expecting it to sell out in the next 8 to 9 months,” she said.


While she said she wasn’t seen interest from locals, Indian and Pakistani expats living in the region were the main target audience.

The tower started construction last year and it is expected to be completed in 2018. The tower has some links to Dubai already in that the team who worked on the observation decks at Burj Khalifa will also be working on the observations areas on SkyRise Miami.

 As well as the usual residential and hotel elements, the tower will also have several observation platforms and the "SkyRise Drop" ride, which will involve 12 people at a time dropping 650 feet at a speed of 95 miles per hour. There will also be a "Flying Theater," where 72 riders can strap in and hang above the tower for views across the city.

The tower is aiming to be a tourist attraction for Miami and compete with global icons such as the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building.

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H.F. 4 years ago

Nope. This is completely false. Anyone who owns a 'home' valued over $500,000 in the USA as a foreign passport holder gets a residence permit so they can live there with a limited number of direct dependents and subject to also having a decent bank balance. It doesn't entitle anyone to citizenship. And the second you sell the property your residence status is void. Simple as that. It has nothing to do with this property. You can buy a home in Rancho Cucamonga or Miami and it still applies.

SSS 4 years ago

the process is not as straight-forward as the statements from the developer imply. for the investment to qualify one for a greencard, it must meet alot of requirements regarding the location (typically not major cities) of the project and the amount of jobs created. I would highly recommend that any potential investor do their individual research and obtain some form of guarantee that this investment would qualify if that's their primary goal of the investment.

P.M. 4 years ago

There are many caveats to a non-immigrant visa received through a real property purchase which makes it extremely different from the EB-5 program and dependant on the needs of an investor. First, owning a home at $500,000+ USD in the U.S. may grant a non-immigrant residence visa allowing an investor, spouse and children to live in the US for six months of the year in that particular property. However, since it is non-immigrant, there are no benefits attached like working, gaining domestic tuition for children, and so on. This is simply a "vacation" visa which allows an extended tourist type stay in the U.S.
For those looking for a U.S. status (permanent residence and eventually citizenship) whereby the various benefits of the U.S. can also be enjoyed, such as working, starting a business, and paying domestic tuition, then the EB-5 program is the more appropriate route to take.

P.M. 4 years ago

These days TEAs (Targeted Employment Areas) can also be in major cities such as Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City. The premise of the EB-5 program is to boost employment and contribute to the U.S. economy. Certifying an area as a TEA means looking at the census tracks directly contiguous to a certain geographical area (such as the City of Miami). If those census areas meet the required unemployment rate, then the central location will also be considered a TEA under the assumption that the project will provide employment opportunities for individuals from surrounding areas of high unemployment areas as well.

SkyRise Miami has been exemplar approved meaning their job creation methodologies, business plans, and all project documents have been looked at and pre-approved by USCIS. Job creation is one of the main requirements for obtaining a green card through the EB-5 program and anyone making such an investment should certainly do their own due diligence prior to investing.

Ezeelok 4 years ago

Dear HF , Does this entitle the Owner/Investor to get labour permit to work in US with a house of $500K & decent bank balance ? Would appreciate authentic input please. Thanks

tfg 4 years ago

This article implies that GCC citizens are not keen on it while South Asians are. There is no economic incentive for GCC nationals to take that route, especially the wealthier ones, as the IRS will tax their global income regardless of its source or where they live for life.

Mohammed Shaikh 4 years ago

It is quite likely that NONE of these investors will get their green card because in September 2015, regional centers will be kicked out of the EB-5 visa program. The only safe and quick way to get EB-5 visa is by starting or buying a Genuine Direct Investment Business.

MLR 4 years ago

In response to regional centers being kicked out of the EB-5 program - this is merely speculative and seems to only be your opinion without evidence of fact. There is no proof of this. I have looked this up and spoken to many U.S. lawyers whom I know. In addition, U.S. law does not work retroactively generally speaking. It seems that you may be only promoting your own business interests in recommending direct investment business as I have seen your company site and your company ONLY offers direct investments. The truth is that many people have received their green cards through regional centers and there are many regional centers which are safe bets. The truth is also that many people are denied their green card through direct investments if they are unable to prove up job creation and meet the requirements for a new commercial enterprise under USCIS regulation. The key is to pick a good investment regardless of if it is a regional center or direct investment.