Citizenship of the tiny Caribbean island opens doors for investor visa.
The story about how hundreds of thousands of highly skilled Indians are stuck in unfathomably long lines for green cards is the stuff sappy immigrant movies should be made on.
But a few Indians who can afford to invest millions of dollars have found a quicker way to attain the coveted American permanent residency or the green card.
With reports of ever increasing wait time and backlog, affluent Indians looking at EB-5 or investor visa to the U.S. are now choosing to become Grenadian citizens instead, according to immigration lawyers.
Sounds strange, right? But the thing is that for some Indians a Grenadian citizenship actually works as the first step towards American residency.
Immigration attorney, Mark Davies from Davies & Associates, LLC says his firm introduced the E2 treaty investor program to India about seven years ago.
E2 is a non-immigrant U.S. visa that allows nationals of treaty countries to set-up or operate an existing business in the U.S.
Now the problem is that Indians are not directly eligible for the E2 visa unless they are married to a qualifying national or are citizens of a treaty country. The solution is for an Indian national to first obtain the passport of an E2 qualifying country.
To begin with Indian clients with Australian or Canadian passports who were frustrated with poor business environments there began to apply for the E2 visa in low numbers. But obtaining an Australian or Canadian passport can take up even a decade or more.
“A solution came to this problem when in 2013, Grenada, an island nation in the Caribbean, revised its nationality by investment program,” Davies said.
This resulted in Indian clients obtaining Grenadian citizenship by donating either $150,000 for an individual or $200,000 for a family to the Government of Grenada, he said.
Earlier this year investment requirement for Grenada citizenship was reduced for the real estate investment option from $350,000 to $220,000.
“Yet further recent changes in 2019 allowed Indian nationals to file one Grenadian naturalization application covering themselves, their spouse, unmarried siblings and dependent parents and grandparents,” Davies said.
“Needless to say, 2019 has become an extremely busy year for the program.” he said.
When Indians with a new nationality obtain an E2 visa, they will not show-up in the India E2 visa count. Rather they will show-up in their new country of nationality such as Grenada, Turkey, Canada or Australia.
Grenada citizenship has become attractive for Indians for other reasons too. For one Indians can obtain a new passport within four months entitling them to visa free travel to 127 countries including Europe, UK, Russia and China.
If you thought that was great, wait there’s more — there can be very significant tax savings too for Indian applicants.
“We have filed for U.S. E2 visas based upon a client obtaining Grenadian Citizenship by investment and to-date all of these applications have been successful,” Davies said.
The idea is catching up with Indians, he says and with each successful application comes another flurry of Indian investors keen to obtain a Grenadian passport and a U.S. E2 visa.