Parents across Brazil dream of their children studying in the United States, learning English, and working in America. Becoming bilingual, bicultural, and employable in top global markets like Brazil and the U.S. are among the greatest gift’s parents can provide their children. As globalization continues, ensuring your child becomes internationally competitive provides them with a tremendous advantage. In fact, Brazil is consistently a top 10 country of origin for all international students in the U.S. – with America being the No. 1 choice for Brazilian students studying abroad.
Increasingly, sophisticated Brazilian parents are using the EB-5 visa to make these dreams a reality for their children. EB-5 is a permanent solution for Brazilian students and provides them maximum flexibility to study, live, and work in the United States. The EB-5 program allows Brazilians to invest USD500,000 in a job-producing U.S. project and receive permanent residency for their spouse and unmarried children under age 21.
While there are visas, such as the often-used F-1 Student Visa (F-1), that allows foreign nationals to study in the U.S., these visas contain many limitations on where – and for how long – a visa holder can study in America. For example, foreign students must apply to their preferred university, be accepted, and show proof of ability to pay the international student fees or sponsorship to cover all costs just to simply apply for their F-1 visa. Even after all this effort, there is no guarantee that the U.S. government will grant the visa. International students on F-1 visas must study for the length of time stipulated and, after graduating, must either immediately find a job (and apply for another visa such as a H1-B), continue their studies, or return immediately to their home country.
Each year there are hundreds-of-thousands of international graduates who are desperate to stay in America to begin their career. Often, they risk losing status if they do not find an employer sponsorship and win a highly competitive lottery to receive an increasingly limited number of work visas. To put it in perspective, of the more than 200,000 people who applied for an H-1B visa, only 85,000 can be accepted. And even if the foreign graduate wins the lottery, they must renew their visa periodically and are subject to denial by the U.S. government.
With the EB-5 visa, however, there are no restrictions on location or type of university, most important, there are no restrictions on the length of study or stay in the United States. EB-5 visa holders are free to study at any institution once accepted. Due to their permanent resident (green card) status, they are not required to leave America upon graduation. Becoming a permanent resident of the United States also unlocks academic and financial benefits for your child that are not available to F-1 students, such as scholarships and government aid toward academic fees or costs. Another significant advantage of U.S. residency is that many universities have different fee structures depending on the status of the student applying. Fees, in general, are lower for permanent residents and citizens than they are for international students, often by thousands of dollars.
Most top U.S. universities maintain limited admission allocations for international students, often capped at 20 percent of the total student enrollment. The most selective American universities usually admit no more than 5 percent of international students. Rather than competing in a pool that will receive only 5 to 20 percent of spots in a university class, Brazilian EB-5 students can compete in the pool that will comprise 80 to 95 percent of the incoming class.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is among the top-rated engineering and technological universities in the United States and costs an average of USD70,000 per year or USD280,000 for an undergraduate degree. Unlike an F-1 visa holder, a Brazilian student who has become a permanent resident under EB-5 is eligible for need-based financial aid. In 2018-19, the average need-based award from MIT was about USD50,000 per year. Over a four-year undergraduate degree, the financial aid awards for permanent residents versus an international students can be hundreds of thousands of U.S. dollars.
EB-5 permanent residency may also entitle Brazilian students to receive in-state tuition versus paying international student rates. The rate of tuition that an international student pays at an American university is often two to three times higher than that of a U.S. resident. At University of California Berkley, among the top public universities in America, undergraduate tuition and fees for residents is approximately USD14,409 in the 2019-2010 school year. International students pay more than three times as much in tuition and fees at about USD46,472 per year. Over a four-year period, the difference in rates is approximately USD130,000. If a Brazilian family has three children who form part of the EB-5 visa petition, the savings can represent an amount equivalent to the EB-5 investment itself.
Attending schools in the United States also provides Brazilian students with opportunities to participate in internships at some of the world’s biggest and best companies – many of them Fortune 500 companies. After graduation, Brazilians can interview and work with any employer throughout America without having to renew a visa or rely on a sponsor organization.
Brazilian parents do not need to wait until college to realize the benefits of EB-5 for their children. Brazilian EB-5 students can also attend high-school in the U.S. prior to college. Whether the student attends an elite boarding school or graduates from a U.S. public school, benefits can be substantial. If attending a U.S. college is the goal for many Brazilian families, then getting ready at a U.S. high school is the best option. Whether it is English language training, pre-college counseling or adapting to U.S. teaching styles and expectations, there is no substitute to attending U.S. high schools.
Families across the world seek out elite U.S. boarding schools to prepare their children for top-tier universities. These elite boarding schools cost almost as much as colleges, but acceptance rates from these schools, especially in the Ivy League, is particularly high. A Brazilian student using EB-5 stands a much higher chance of being admitted to these schools as a U.S. resident rather than an international student. U.S. resident tuition discounts and financial aid may also apply.
Attending U.S. public schools is free and these school can offer more academic opportunities like advanced classes and courses in subjects like technology and the arts. Specialized academic options might include English as a Second Language, Gifted and Talented programs, International Baccalaureate programs and Advanced Placement classes. Brazilian students who want to excel will find various chances to do so, while those less inclined to academic acceleration will find choices at their skill level as well.
In addition to the desire by Brazilian families for a different kind of education for their children, and the drive to attend the world’ s best universities, there are less tangible, but equally valuable, reasons to attend public high school in the U.S. Brazilian EB-5 students will have a U.S. experience, make friends, exchange cultures, trade languages, and, simply put, see a different world. In addition to the choices in the classroom, students in public school often have more options in activities after class. From sports, to music, and theatre, most public schools offer a variety of extracurricular activities to allow for broad exploration.
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