Thousands of Indians are planning to arrive in the U.S. and invest in a business or start up a new business. Why are they doing it? Why now?
The EB-5 program lets Indians and other immigrants invest in a U.S. business or development project. Investors and their immediate family members receive green cards in return.
WHO CAN OBTAIN AN EB-5 VISA?
The EB-5 visa program offers two basic investment options. Who can qualify?
1. Indians and other investors who can place at least $1 million in a U.S.-based business and create at least ten new full-time jobs can qualify for an EB-5 visa.
2. Indians and others who invest in a pre-designated “Targeted Employment Area” or “TEA” can qualify for an EB-5 visa with a minimum investment of $500,000.
A quarter of the Indians who sought EB-5 visas in 2016 chose the first option – investing at least $1 million.
That’s a far higher figure than the overall percentage of EB-5 applicants who choose that option – about five to seven percent.
HOW DOES A “TEA” INVESTMENT WORK?
To receive a TEA designation, the EB-5 investment must be made in a rural area or in an area where the unemployment rate is at least 150 percent of the national U.S. unemployment rate.
By providing permanent legal residency – a green card – to qualified Indians and others, the EB-5 visa program expands the U.S. economy by providing great investment opportunities.
EB-5 visa applications from India have tripled in just the last three years, a figure that reflects an increasing interest in the United States among Indian investors.
WHY ARE EB-5 VISA APPLICATIONS SOMETIMES REJECTED?
That interest is rising despite the rejection of about a third of the EB-5 applications originating from India – 34 percent in 2016. The three leading reasons for that high rejection rate are:
1. an inaccurate or incomplete EB-5 visa application
2. a lack of the required educational, financial, or employment records or other documents
3. choosing an investment option that does not qualify for the EB-5 visa program
EB-5 visa applicants also must prove that their investment funds were obtained legally. This requirement serves to keep criminal gains from going into legitimate U.S. investments.
HOW CAN A U.S.-BASED IMMIGRATION LAWYER HELP?
An experienced, U.S.-based Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney can help Indian investors:
1. complete an EB-5 visa application
2. identify the additional documents that will be needed
3. choose a qualified and appropriate investment option
4. prove that their investment funds were legally acquired
WHY IS INTEREST IN EB-5 VISAS INCREASING?
Some observers believe that the rising Indian interest in EB-5 visas is a consequence of the lengthy waiting lists for EB-2 and EB-3 employment-based visas.
In October 2017, the U.S. State Department reported that Indian applicants wait about nine years in the EB-2 advanced degree category and about eleven years in the the EB-3 skilled worker category.
India’s growing prosperity, combined with a rising awareness about the EB-5 program, are also cited as reasons for the recent increasing interest by Indian investors in the EB-5 visa.
WHAT SHOULD INVESTORS KNOW ABOUT THE EB-5 VISA PROGRAM?
Investors who are unfamiliar with the EB-5 visa program may welcome a brief introduction, so keep reading. The EB-5 visa category was created by the Immigration Act of 1990.
It is the only immigration category that allows Indians and other investors to enter the United States as legal permanent residents – green card holders.
In recent years, investors not only in India but around the globe have responded to the EB-5 program with rising interest.
For example, since 2008, the number of EB-5 visas being issued has more than quadrupled.
EB-5 investments surpassed $2 billion in 2014 and created over 16,000 new full-time jobs in the United States that year.
WHAT IMPACT ARE INDIANS HAVING IN THE UNITED STATES?
Indian immigrants in the U.S. have reached the top ranks at major corporations. Satya Nadella became the CEO at Microsoft in 2014; Sundar Pichai was named the CEO at Google in 2015.
In fact, the Migration Policy Institute tells us that about 90,000 immigrants from Indian now live in Silicon Valley, and most of them are employed in the tech industry.
The Indian-born population in the United States – which numbered barely 200,000 in 1980 – today exceeds 1.8 million.
At the present time, 10,000 EB-5 visas are offered each year to international investors.
HOW DOES THE EB-5 PROGRAM ENHANCE THE U.S. ECONOMY?
U.S. developers are coming to rely more frequently on EB-5 investments to finance projects that include posh new hotels, new stadiums with all the amenities, and luxury vacation resorts.
EB-5 investments have totaled more than $6.5 billion – and have created over 130,000 new jobs in the United States – in the last decade.
HOW IS THE EB-5 PROGRAM BENEFITING INTERNATIONAL INVESTORS?
Every qualified investor – from any nation – may apply for an EB-5 visa.
As the terms of the EB-5 program are met – ten new jobs must be created, for example – the investors and their immediate family members qualify for lawful permanent residence.
Acquiring an EB-5 visa and choosing just the right investment takes genuine time and effort, but scores of Indian investors are learning that the benefits of the EB-5 visa are worth that effort.
The EB-5 visa program makes the American Dream available to qualified investors.
It also provides developers and business owners in the U.S. with a vital funding option. The typical return on EB-5 investments is approximately eight percent.
However, many investors from India and elsewhere care more about acquiring green cards, a path to U.S. citizenship for themselves and their families, and university educations for their children.
TO ACQUIRE AN EB-5 VISA, WHERE DO YOU BEGIN?
Indian investors who are seeking a great investment opportunity in the U.S. should consult from the beginning with a U.S. immigration lawyer who routinely works with international investors.
The EB-5 visa program is an excellent path to permanent residence – and to eventual citizenship – in the United States.
Investors can learn more or begin the application process by consulting an experienced, U.S.-based Michigan or Ohio immigration attorney – online or by phone.
As mentioned previously, only 10,000 EB-5 visas are available each year, so many investors will have to wait two or three years and sometimes longer. And that means the time to get started is now.
To learn more, speak promptly – from anywhere in the world – with a U.S. immigration lawyer who can answer your questions and help you obtain an EB-5 investor visa.