The US and Canada both have immigrant investor programs that lead to permanent residency. The two most popular are the US EB-5 program and the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP). Below is a brief overview of the programs, highlighting their similarities and differences. To talk about which program is right for you, contact us.
How much money is required?
US EB-5 program: Passive investment of $500,000 U.S. (USD).
QIIP: Passive investment of $800,000 Canadian (CAD). Use this tool for the current conversion rate. You must also show that you have net assets of at least $1.6 million CAD.
Can I get financing?
While you cannot finance your investment in the US, Canadian financial institutions will lend you the amount required. They will pay the province of Quebec $800,000 CAD in your name for a one-time fee of $220,000 CAD.
How long is my money tied up?
US EB-5: Your money will be invested for a term of around five years and is then returned to you. You pay the money to a private regional center project (a commercial enterprise) and the money is at risk. There is a chance that you could lose some or all of your investment, though this is very rare.
QIIP: The money is paid to the Quebec government. The province returns the money to you at the end of the investment’s term (currently 5 years). Important: If you choose the financing option above, you do not receive any money back. Your $220,000 is kept by the bank. Therefore the choices are: invest $800,000 and see the money after 5 years, or spend $220,000 and never get it back.
Where can I live?
US EB-5: Your green card allows you to settle anywhere in the country.
QIIP: You must persuade Quebec officials that you intend to live in the province of Quebec. Note that the prevailing language of Quebec is French, though there are no language requirements for the program. Later, due to the freedom of movement provision in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, many investors migrate to other parts of the country.
How long is the application process?
US EB-5: About 2 years. The US does a due diligence review on the $500,000 USD being invested. However, they do not expand the inquiry into all other finances of the investor.
QIIP: About 3 or 4 years. The Quebec government reviews all of the financial affairs of the investor.
How do I maintain permanent residency?
US EB-5: You must show that you have been in the United States for one day out of each six month period. You can eventually get citizenship after being a permanent resident for five years, provided you show you have been physically present for at least 2.5 years.
QIIP: To maintain permanent residency in Canada, you must prove that you have been physically present for 730 days in each five-year period. For citizenship, you must show that you have been physically present for four out of the last six years, and that you were not away from Canada for more than six months in any one of those years.
Can I bring my family?
US EB-5: Spouses are acceptable, but children must be under 21.
QIIP: Spouses are acceptable, but children must be under 19.
Are there any other conditions for achieving permanent residency?
US EB-5: You initially receive a two-year green card that is conditional on showing that you (or, the regional center project) created 10 jobs or more in that time. Then you can renew that green card for the regular green card.
QIIP: In Canada, there is no conditional period of residence. You simply get permanent residence.
Recently, because of the large number of investors coming from China, there has been a retrogression of applications from that country to both the U.S. and Quebec, but this delay in processing is not affecting investors from other countries.
Most investors decide which country they prefer based on factors such as family members in the US or Canada, educational opportunities, climate preferences, ethnic ties, and more. Please contact us if you have any questions about the US EB-5 program, the Quebec Immigrant Investor program, or any other permanent residency considerations.