Foreign Investments in the U.S.

Although there are no substantial restrictions imposed by the federal government on foreign investments in the US, a few industries do impose restrictions. These industries are those that involve the exploitation of natural resources, aviation, communications, shipping, nuclear and other power-generating facilities.

Substantial reporting requirements for foreign investments in the US are imposed by the Commerce and Agriculture Departments. Most foreign investments in US business enterprises wherein people of foreign decent who own at least 10% of the voting interest must be reported to the Bureau of Economic Analysis of the Commerce Department under the International Investment Survey Act of 1976. Small investments are sometimes viewed as exceptions to the reporting rules. However, if over 200 acres of US land are purchased, the acquisition must be reported regardless of the total cost. Violations of the reporting rules and requirements can result in civil or criminal penalty treatments.

The Agricultural Department requires foreigners who acquire or transfer interests in agricultural land to report their ventures. While all information gathered under the International Investment Survey Act is kept confidential, information reported to the Agriculture Department is not.