Status and Highlights of the Visit USA Act

As previously reported on our blog, last week two senators introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate providing foreigners with the opportunity to obtain a visa when buying a pricey home in the United States. The title of the bill is “Visa Improvements to Stimulate International Tourism to the United States of America Act.

The bill was referred to the Senate committee on October 20, 2011. Currently it has been read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

Section 8 of the bill – Increasing Home Ownership by Priority Visitors – outlines the new measure which will offer visas to any foreigner making a cash investment of at least $500,000 on residential single-family houses, condos or townhouses. The text of Section 8 is presented below and the most pertinent parts have been highlighted in bold print.

(a) Nonimmigrant Status- Section 101(a)(15) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by section 5(a), is further amended by adding at the end the following:

‘(X) subject to section 214(t), an alien who, after the date of the enactment of the VISIT USA Act–

‘(i)(I) uses at least $500,000 in cash to purchase 1 or more residences in the United States, which each sold for more than 100 percent of the most recent appraised value of such residence, as determined by the property assessor in the city or county in which the residence is located;
‘(II) maintains ownership of residential property in the United States worth at least $500,000 during the entire period the alien remains in the United States as a nonimmigrant described in this subparagraph; and
‘(III) resides for more than 180 days per year in a residence in the United States that is worth at least $250,000; and

‘(ii) the alien spouse and children of the alien described in clause (i) if accompanying or following to join the alien.’.

(b) Visa Application Procedures- Section 214 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by section 5(b), is further amended by adding at the end the following:

‘(t) Visas of Nonimmigrants Described in Section 101(a)(15)(X)-

‘(1) The Secretary of Homeland Security shall authorize the issuance of a nonimmigrant visa to any alien described in section 101(a)(15)(X) who submits a petition to the Secretary that demonstrates, to the satisfaction of the Secretary, that the alien–
‘(A) has purchased a residence in the United States that meets the criteria set forth in section 101(a)(15)(X)(i);
‘(B) is not inadmissible under section 212; and
‘(C) will comply with the terms set forth in paragraph (2).

‘(2) An alien who is issued a visa under this subsection–
‘(A) shall reside in the United States at a residence that meets the criteria set forth in section 101(a)(15)(X)(i) for more than 180 days per year;
‘(B) is not authorized to engage in employment in the United States, except for employment that is directly related to the management of the residential property described in section 101(X)(i)(II);
‘(C) is not eligible for any form of assistance or benefit described in section 403(a) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (8 U.S.C. 1613(a)); and
‘(D) may renew such visa every 3 years under the same terms and conditions.’.

For more information on the Visit USA Act and other Immigration Law inquiries, please contact us via email at or via phone at 704.333.5230.


(c) Picture:

Best regards
und viele Grüße aus Charlotte
Reinhard von Hennigs