Opportunity is the beating heart of the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program. For underserved and underdeveloped communities across the U.S., EB-5 investment stimulates both job creation and economic expansion. For foreign nationals the world over, EB-5 facilitates their participation in the American Dream and provides a pathway to U.S. citizenship.
Although the minimum amount required to invest in EB-5 enterprises has doubled (effective November 21, 2019), the program’s long-term health is in good hands: investors from emerging markets. Traditionally, a “Big 5” — China, Taiwan, Vietnam, India, and Mexico — have accounted for more than 80 percent of all EB-5 funding.
But Civitas Capital Group has recently observed a significant uptick in investments from South America, Africa, and Asian countries outside of the “Big 3” (China, Taiwan, and Vietnam), with visa usage from those parts of the world increasing by 10 percent YOY between 2017 and 2018. Meanwhile, South Korea, Brazil, and Venezuela have doubled their shares of EB‐5 visa usage over that same period.
Since its founding in 2009, Civitas has committed itself to building trust with its investment partners, and no matter their country of origin. “Cultivating truly international cultural competency is one of our top priorities,” says Manuel Ortiz, Civitas Capital Group’s Director of EB-5 Investor Relations. “We work hard to offer opportunities that appeal to investors in particular markets in terms of size, structure, and timing. We pride ourselves in offering niche, differentiated solutions — nothing off the shelf.”
Civitas and its EB-5 partners have invested in more than 30 properties in Texas, and directed over $30MM in partial financing to three separate multifamily apartment properties across the greater San Antonio metropolitan area:
Many of the EB-5 holders instrumental to the success of these developments entered the U.S. from emerging markets. Of the three developments, the luxury Rivera Apartments can claim to have been funded by the most diverse group of investors — 22 of them from 8 different countries including Argentina, Bolivia, Turkey, Jordan, and Nigeria.
According to Manuel, San Antonio — one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. as well as one of the engines powering the thriving Texas economy — was a near-perfect match for Nigerian investors. “They know Texas,” he explains. “The Lone Star State is one of the most popular destinations for Nigerians seeking EB-5 visas, thanks to its climate, ties to the oil industry, and existing communities of African-born immigrants. Nigerians also understand the value of land, and property is often well-represented in their asset mix.”
Civitas entered emerging markets early, in 2014, and has developed their team and strategy around a set of core values that includes an unshakeable sense of global citizenship. “We did not pivot to new markets because the landscape changed,” says Manuel. “We’ve been working hard for years to educate investors in these countries.” Consequently, Civitas’ employees collectively speak over a dozen languages, their 1,400-plus investor base now spans more than 40 countries, and the firm’s investments now range from California to New York City.
Relying on the same principles that built the firm’s brand in EB-5 investments, Civitas Capital Group has expanded its investor base to include family offices, institutions, and foreign nationals who are interested in investing in U.S. real estate but might not need to pursue immigration through investment in EB-5.
About Civitas Capital Group
Civitas Capital Group is a global alternative investment manager with $1.7B AUM. Civitas offers compelling, niche opportunities in U.S. real estate, lodging, and alternative credit designed to create opportunities that enrich communities, investors, and employees alike. Driven by relentless creativity, Civitas digs deeper to uncover opportunities that others miss. Civitas was founded in 2009 by Daniel J. Healy and Rafael Anchia and is proudly based in Dallas, Texas.
About the EB-5 Program
The U.S. government’s EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows foreign nationals to obtain U.S. permanent residency for themselves and their immediate family members by investing in American businesses that create at least 10 new American jobs.