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US EB-5 Visa for Indian Investors: Path to Green Card

By SANJEET KUMAR

Updated on:

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US EB-5 Visas for Indian Applicants: The EB-5 visa program is a popular choice for Indian investors seeking permanent residency (Green Card) in the United States. It offers a faster path to citizenship compared to traditional employment-based routes. However, recent data shows a slight decline in EB-5 visas issued to Indian applicants in 2024. Despite this, the program remains a viable option for those who qualify. This article explores the EB-5 program for Indian applicants, including the recent decline, eligibility requirements, and key benefits.

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US EB-5 Visas for Indian Applicants

Eligibility for Indian Investors under the EB-5 Program

To be eligible for an EB-5 visa as an Indian investor, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Make a qualifying investment: Invest a minimum of $800,000 in a USCIS-approved Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or $1,050,000 in a non-TEA project.
  • Create jobs: Your investment must create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified US workers within two years.
  • Investment source: The investment funds must be lawfully obtained.

EB-5 Investment Requirements

FactorDescription
Minimum Investment Amount (TEA)$800,000
Minimum Investment Amount (Non-TEA)$1,050,000
Job Creation RequirementCreate or preserve 10 full-time jobs for US workers
Investment Source RequirementFunds must be lawfully obtained

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Source: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) https://www.uscis.gov/working-in-the-united-states/permanent-workers/eb-5-immigrant-investor-program

The processing time for EB-5 visas for Indian applicants can vary depending on individual circumstances. However, it generally takes several years, with estimates ranging from five to six years.

While the overall EB-5 program saw growth in FY 2024, there was a 22% decline in visas issued to Indian applicants between October 2023 and May 2024. This decrease could be due to various factors, such as increased competition from other countries or temporary backlogs in processing.

Benefits of the EB-5 Program for Indian Investors

Despite the recent decline, the EB-5 program offers significant advantages for Indian investors seeking US residency, including:

  • Fast Track to Green Card: Compared to employment-based visas, EB-5 offers a faster path to permanent residency.
  • Pathway to Citizenship: After obtaining a Green Card, you can apply for US citizenship after five years.
  • Freedom to Live and Work Anywhere in the US: Unlike some employment-based visas, EB-5 grants you the freedom to live and work anywhere in the United States.
  • Benefits for Family: Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 are also eligible for Green Cards through your EB-5 application.

Important Considerations for Indian Applicants

While the EB-5 program presents a valuable opportunity, it’s important to consider some key aspects:

  • High Investment Amount: The minimum investment amount is substantial, requiring careful financial planning.
  • Complex Process: Navigating the EB-5 application process can be intricate, and consulting with an immigration attorney is highly recommended.
  • Long Processing Times: Be prepared for a multi-year wait for visa processing and adjudication.

Is EB-5 Still a Viable Option for Indian Investors?

The recent decline in EB-5 visas for Indian applicants shouldn’t necessarily deter qualified investors. The program remains a valuable option for those seeking permanent residency in the US.

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Here are some steps to maximize your chances of success:

  • Work with an experienced immigration attorney: Their expertise can significantly improve your application’s strength.
  • Choose a reputable investment project: Select a project with a strong track record of job creation and USCIS approval.
  • Prepare a comprehensive application package: Meticulously document your investment funds and job creation plan.

Conclusion

The EB-5 program remains a valuable pathway to US permanent residency for qualified Indian investors, despite the recent decrease in issued visas. While the investment amount is substantial, and the process complex, the benefits of a Green Card, including the freedom to live and work anywhere in the US, are significant.

For those considering the EB-5 route, careful planning, professional guidance from an immigration attorney, and selecting a reputable investment project are crucial steps to improve your chances of success. Remember, the temporary decline shouldn’t discourage serious investors from exploring this opportunity to build a future in the United States.

What are the alternative options for Indian investors seeking US residency?

There are other visa options available, such as the EB-1C visa for multinational managers or the L-1 visa for intracompany transfers. However, these options may have stricter eligibility requirements or offer different benefits.

Can the EB-5 investment be financed?

Yes, under certain circumstances, the EB-5 investment can be financed. USCIS allows for financing as long as the funds are secured by personal assets other than the EB-5 investment itself. This could involve a loan from a bank or other financial institution. However, it’s crucial to consult with an immigration attorney to ensure your financing plan meets USCIS regulations.

What are the tax implications of investing in the EB-5 program?

There are potential tax implications for EB-5 investors, both in the United States and in India. It’s important to consult with tax advisors in both countries to understand how the EB-5 investment might affect your tax obligations. They can advise you on potential tax benefits, such as reduced capital gains taxes or exemption from inheritance taxes.

Sanjeet Kumar is a graduate of Journalism, Psychology, and English. Passionate about communication - with words spoken and unspoken, written and unwritten - he looks forward to learning and growing at every opportunity. Pursuing a Post-graduate Diploma in Translation Studies, he aims to do his part in saving the 'lost…

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