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Can a person live in the US and get a GC in the process if they had large amount of money, took part of it, deposited it in any US bank and lived out of interests?

Or do they have to earn an active (i.e work-related) income in order to get a Green Card?

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No, neither having money in a bank account nor earning work income qualifies a person to immigrate to the US. You generally must be petitioned by a US citizen or permanent resident relative, or petitioned by a US employer who plans to employ you, to legally immigrate to the US (though there are some self-petitioning employment-based categories).

There is also the EB-5 investment immigration program, where you have to invest about $1,800,000 (or $900,000 for certain rural areas) into certain projects in the US, and create a certain number of jobs. This requires an actual investment, not having money in the bank.

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  • Ok, so making a preliminary holiday trip, buying a house in the while, and immigrate there it's not possible either? I'm talking hypothetically about 15 million dollars – us er Dec 26 '19 at 19:35
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    @user if you have 15 million dollars then you can start a business in the US and qualify for the EB-5 program. Otherwise, there is no route to a green card without a relative or an employer. Or being a refugee. User102008: you forgot refugees in this answer. – phoog Dec 26 '19 at 19:36
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    @user well with millions of dollars and no investment in the US you can spend just under half of your time in the US. A fair number of Canadian retirees do this. It's advisable to be careful of the amount of time spent in the US because of taxation: if you trigger the "substantial presence test" you will become a tax resident (regardless of your immigration status) and be liable for taxation on your worldwide income. So Canadian "snowbirds" as they are known are very careful not to spend more than 183 days in the US each year. – phoog Dec 26 '19 at 19:40
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    I also wondered whether there are sponsoring companies who sponsor people for an amount of money in return and for a living, there are a few in Japan. – us er Dec 26 '19 at 19:47
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    @user Might be a new question in there. – Mast Dec 27 '19 at 8:18
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Yes and no. There are ways to come to the US based on having a sizable amount of money to invest, but none of them allow you to "invest" it in your own bank account. You actually have to put the money at risk in a way that will substantially enhance the US economy.

If you are looking for a green card by investment, you would have to apply for an Employment-based Fifth Preference (EB-5) immigrant visa, which requires a plan to (1) start a new or substantially expand/transform an existing enterprise, (2) create at least ten full-time jobs for US workers, and (3) invest $1.8M USD ($900k if in a rural or high-unemployment area). Ideally this would be completed or substantially on track to complete with two years, because the initial green card is conditional and you must show to USCIS that you are meeting all the requirements at that time. There is an option to partner with a "regional center" which can allow you to count certain indirectly created jobs and receive help with your business planning, but these charge a fee for their services and the program is awaiting re-authorization from Congress.

Because these are real, active investments, and because you will be required to meet the job creation requirements and keep the full investment at risk for the entire two-year conditional residency period, you need to have some combination of extensive due diligence on the investment and/or willingness to spend time managing the business. Of course, the more you involve regional centers, hire people to manage the business, or invest in someone else's business, the more due diligence you need to do; the more you manage it oneself, you won't have to worry about scams but need to make a solid plan yourself (keep in mind you are planning to run a business in a country you have never lived in, so you will need substantial market and economic research) and take on the role of full-time management. Of course, if you are extremely rich and this is pocket change, I guess you can just throw it in the first opportunity you see if you are willing to lose it for the sake of getting a green card fast.

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