Consulting firm helps foreign nationals obtain green cards through an investment program that creates jobs in the U.S.
Irina Rostova is Russian-American having grown up in the former Soviet Union, so she knows how many people from the country have a desire to move
to the United States. The attorney has made it her life’s work to help Russians and other foreign nationals get their green cards through a program that allows them to invest in America.
Dubbed the “green card for money” program, the EB-5 (Employment Based Visa- Category 5) sets a minimum investment of $500,000. Investors must be able to prove that their money has created at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers. In return, the investor receives a green card.
“The program allows the affluent to earn their way into the United States by making these investments,” says Rostova, a Miami attorney who focuses her practice exclusively on the EB-5 investor program. Her prior work experience was in management at Chase, the country’s largest banking institution. She received her undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Michigan and graduated with honors from the University of Miami School of Law.
Rostova Consulting provides a full range of EB-5 related services. Her consulting firm also offers consultation on matters related to immigrating and establishing a business in the United States. She says the goal of the company is to provide personal and professional service to clients so that they have the knowledge and necessary legal guidance to succeed in America.
“There are many Russians and other people who have the means to afford this program. However, very few of them know that it exists,” she says.
This knowledgeable attorney speaks fluent Russian and regularly travels to Russia to
meet with clients. She is also aware that there are many people from Latin America who would be interested in this program. “We are prepared to assist our Latin/Hispanic clients,” she says, pointing out that she has Spanish speakers at her consulting firm, and
is putting her efforts into helping people from those countries, as well.
The EB-5 program allows investors to create their own businesses, or they can invest in a regional center — a company that receives a special designation from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) to work with the program. Regional centers pool funds together from multiple investors to develop job-generating projects such as hotels, medical facilities, and schools. Five years ago, there were only 25 regional centers in the United States; today there are 379 — with some recognizable names, including Hilton and SLS — involved in projects.
“My company provides full legal support for the investors, from preparing their immigration petition to helping them select the right project. Green cards and return on investment are not guaranteed by the government, so it is very important to select the
ight project that qualifies for the program and has a good chance of success,” says Rostova. CNBC recently reported that Miami was
becoming the “Russian Riviera” because of the influx of Russians, and Rostova says she has seen a rise in the last five years of affluent Russians who want to make South Florida their home. “This is a place for them to have the lifestyle they want, where they can raise their children in a safe environment, and where there are lots of opportunities,” says Rostova.
Each year, more and more foreign nationals are choosing the EB-5 program. Last year, 8,700 EB-5 visas were issued — up from 158 in 2005. With current wait times, an investor can expect to receive an approval for an initial green card in approximately 12 to 14 months. Each investor receives a green card for himself or herself, a spouse, and all minor, unmarried children (under 21 years old). Two years after receiving a conditional green card, they can file a petition for a permanent one.
“This is a very satisfying program,” says Rostova. “It is very important, however, to use competent legal counsel to be guided through the process.”