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A Potential New Bill in the Senate: Buy a House, Get a Visa

In response to a weakened housing market, two senators are preparing to introduce a bipartisan bill that would give foreign residents visas if they spend at least $500,000 to buy a house in the U.S. This provision is a small part of much larger immigration measures. These measures were authored by Senator Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Mike Lee (R., Utah). The purpose behind these measures is to encourage more foreign investments in the U.S. The proposed measure would offer visas to any foreign investor making a cash investment of at least $500,000 on residential real-estate. This includes single family homes, condos, or townhomes. Applicants would be able to spend the entire amount on one house, or can spend as little as $250,00 on a residence and invest the remainder in other residential real estate, which may be used as a rental investment. This measure would complement existing visa programs that would allow foreigners to come to the U.S. if they invest in new businesses that create jobs. However, foreigners immigrating to the US with the potential new visa would not be able to work here unless they obtained a work visa through regular working visa programs. They would, however, be allowed to bring a spouse and any children under the age of 18. If the investor proceeded to sell his/her property, he/she would not be able to remain legally in the US on the new visa.