Korda says they did not look forward to slogging through the London rain, so he made a lifestyle choice: He was going to immigrate to the U.S. and live in a place where you could get a real tan.

Korda found pretty quickly, though, that the last thing the U.S. needed was more lawyers, so a standard or employment-based visa was unlikely. But then he saw a shortcut to becoming an American in a small, obscure federal program called EB-5, designed for people like him to get into the country — if they had enough money.

“It looked too good to be true,” he says.

All Korda had to do was cash out most of his savings — about $500,000 — and invest in an American business. If he could help create 10 jobs, then he would get a green card.