It is pretty good news as Houston EB-5, in the next few days, will be coming to Lagos, Nigeria. The expectation is that the trip to this city-the country’s commercial nerve centre and home of real estate will present a new opportunity for real estate immigrant investors.
Certified by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) as an EB-5 Regional Center, Houston EB-5 has worked diligently to provide 100 percent project success for clients on I-526 and I-829 approvals.
The company is vertically integrated with a leading Texas-based development firm, DC Partners and, with over 20 successful EB-5 raises and projects valued at $1.5 billion, its projects have sponsored more than 1,400 green cards with a 100-percent capital repayment history.
Houston EB-5 works with a local partner known as 3Invest which is its African Representative. Ruth Obih, 3Invest’s CEO, explained to BusinessDay that the Lagos trip tagged ‘EB-5 Lagos Investors Connect’ is aimed to introduce ‘The Frederick’, a new priority processing EB-5 investment project.
Obih added that the trip also tagged ‘Meet The Frederick’ was aimed at educating EB-5 potential investors on the new priority processing policies and the real advantage of the EB-5 Visa programme.
“The Fredrick is located in Fredericksburg, Texas, between Austin and San Antonio, the two fastest growing cities in the state. The area hosts over 1.2 million tourists a year and is consistently named ‘top travel destination’. The multi-use development comprises a 200-room full-service luxury hotel and event center, 42 condominiums, 240 multi-family rental units, and nearly 3,000 square meters of retail space,” she disclosed.
Read also: Excise duties hike stun manufacturers
Expected to speak at the closed-event scheduled for May 11 in Ikoyi, Lagos, according to Obih, would be Macho Azuike, COO at DC Partners; Jordan Lawrence, Director of Operations, Houston EB-5, and herself.
She recalled that during the Houston EB-5 team’s last visit, pre-covid in 2019, investors who met one-on-one with them had the opportunity to understand the intricacies of the EB-5 programme and the strategy to access the real advantage of the immigration investment programme through a trusted, reputable, and authorized EB-5 regional centre.
Roberto Contreras, Founder/ CEO of Houston EB-5, said that following the March 2022 enactment of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA), which witnessed major updates to the programme, including investment amounts, investor protections, and transparency measures, as well as strict oversight of the regional centers, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme has opened up more opportunities for rural investors who now have a viable route forward for speedy processing of the EB-5 petition over non-rural investors.
“Achieving a faster EB-5 processing time is possible now, thanks to the new law passed by the US Congress,” he noted, warning however that “faster doesn’t always mean better. Investors should not turn a blind eye to risky projects simply because they have priority processing. Since the EB-5 programme is a hybrid immigration-investment vehicle, investors must also weigh the benefits and risks associated with each project.”
He assured that with the new EB-5 reforms and policies, rural investors could bypass extensive waits caused as a result of visa retrogression which has been an issue for non-US nationals.
Azuike added that the first I-956F approval for a rural EB-5 project has been issued by the USCIS and only took 9 months as opposed to what was expected to be years. “This is a groundbreaking sign showing that more efficient and timely processing is to come,” he said.
According to him, The Frederick, which is the most recent Houston EB5 project, had received EB-5 Priority Processing designation, ensuring some of the fastest possible processing times in the EB-5 programme.
Among Houston EB-5 projects portfolio, he said, were over $180 million in foreign investment across Texas totaling over 400,000 square meters as well as luxury projects such as the Astoria, Arabella, Marlowe, Chateau Ten, 4411 San Felipe, The Arts Residences at Thompson San Antonio, and Residences at The Allen and Thompson Houston.