Indians look for new route to US immigration as EB-5 visa investment jumps to $900,000

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E-2 treaty investor visa seen as alternative even though Indians not directly eligible.

With an increasingly hostile environment even towards lawful immigration in America, many Indians, who could afford it, began looking at the EB-5 investor Visa to immigrate to the U.S.

But with an increased wait time and retrogression experienced in the EB-5 category in recent times, some Indians are now looking at the E-2 visa route to immigrate to America.

The EB-5 or the Immigrant Visa Investor Program introduced by the Immigrant Act of 1990, has been extremely popular in India in recent years as it is one of the fastest routes to a Green Card.

The program offered green cards to immigrants investing at least $500,000 in a new commercial venture to create and sustain ten full-time American jobs. But new regulations introduced earlier this year have raised the price of an EB-5 visa to $900,000 effective November 21.

This is the figure for investments inside a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). The minimum investment requirement rises to $1.8 million from $1 million outside of these areas.The new regulations also tighten restrictions on what qualifies for a TEA by moving responsibility for determining this from individual states to the DHS.

Five years ago, in 2014 only 55 EB-5 Visas were issued to Indians.This increased to 394 in 2018. Demand grew significantly this year and India exceeded its annual cap of 700 visas to such an extent that there is now a waiting list.

Driven by these factors, some Indians are looking at an  EB-5 visa as an alternate route even though they are not directly eligible for it. However, they are going the route by first taking up citizenship of an E-2 eligible country.

An E-2 visa is often looked upon as a great way for entrepreneurs looking to start businesses in the U.S. as it does not require a massive investment and is often obtained in less than 15 days.

It sounds like an awesome idea for anyone with means to migrate to the U.S. However, there is a catch, it’s only for E-2 visa treaty countries. Nonetheless, some Indians are finding ways to be a part of the program by legal means.

Mark Davies, Global Chairman, Davies & Associates LLC says, “With the EB-5 Visa Category facing longer waiting times and increased costs, our Indian clients are now looking to the E-2 Visa.

“Although Indians are not directly eligible for the E-2 Visa, we have successfully managed to help clients obtain an E-2 Visa by first taking Citizenship by Investment of an E2-eligible country like Grenada in the West Indies.”

On why E-2 visa may work for an Indian seeking a green card through an investor EB-5 visa, Davies says, “The E-2 visa is highly complementary to the EB-5 application.

“It allows a person to live and work in the United States while facing retrogression delays, and if the underlying E-2 business becomes large enough, it is possible to transition it to a Green Card under the EB-5 route.”

ALSO READ:

Indian American Anshoo Sethi sentenced to three years in prison for EB-5 visa fraud case (February 22, 2017)

EB-5 visas: Here’s everything you need to know about immigrant investor visa program (April 18, 2019)

Indian applicants to be now on waitlist for EB-5 visa (July 8, 2019)

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