A new bill proposed by the US Senate would offer residential visas to immigrants purchasing eligible property in the US.
The bill would require foreign nationals to purchase real estate for $500,000USD or more. At least $250,000 of that total must be used to purchase a primary residence; the remainder of the money could be spent on investment properties.
Authors of the bill, Senator Charles Schumer of New York and Senator Mike Lee of Utah, believe the bill will increase foreign investments in the US.
"Our housing market will never begin a true recovery as long as our housing stock so greatly exceeds demand. This is not a cure-all, but it could be part of the solution," said Senator Schumer.
The legislation would create a new homeowner visa that could be renewed every three years for as long as the individual owned the house in the US. If you wish to work in the US you will need to apply for a work visa.
The bill holds several stipulations for future foreign homeowners. The purchase would have to be in cash, with no mortgage or home equity loan allowed. The property would have to be bought for more than it's most recent appraised value, and the owner would have to live in the house for at least 180 days per year, which means they would also need to pay US income taxes on their foreign income.
"This bill supports a free market method for increasing demand for housing at a time when so many working-class Americans are underwater on their homes, are desperate for prices to rise again, and big-government programs have failed to work," said Senator Lee.
International purchases accounted for over $82 billion in U.S. residential real-estate sales last year, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
This may be a simpler and easier alternative for someone wishing to obtain a US visa versus an existing program that allows foreigners to receive a "Green Card" if they invest at least $500,000 in an American business that creates at least 10 jobs.