The price to pay for the US Green Card has gone up. The latest EB 5 Visa news may not go well with most non-US citizens, including Indians. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has brought out a new set of rules and regulations and also increased the minimum investment limit under the EB-5 program. Under the US immigration rules, the EB-5 visa essentially lets individual apply for a permanent residentship in the United States if they make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States and create or, in certain circumstances, preserve 10 full-time jobs for qualified United States workers.
The EB 5 program is popular in China and lot of chinese individuals opt for this route to make US their home. Indians too have been showing increasing interest in this immigration model.
EB 5 Investment Amount
The amount of investment required depends on the nature of the employment area in the US. As per the new, EB 5 Visa rule effective November 21, 2019, the standard minimum investment level will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million. This will be the first increase since 1990 and it accounts for inflation. The minimum investment amount in a targeted employment area (TEA) is to be increased from $500,000 to $900,000 and will automatically adjust for inflation every five years. It means for the non TEA, the minimum limit will stand at $1.8 million. The rule also keeps the 50 per cent minimum investment differential between a TEA and a non-TEA. In rupee terms, the minimum investment for a TEA and a non TEA will be approximately Rs 12 crore and Rs 6 crore respectively.
But, will there be a window of opportunity for those who wish to latch on to the lower investment limit before the last date of EB 5 Visa USA. “Since the fee hike would be put in place with effect from 21st November 2019, it gives applicants approximately 3 months to invest in the program at the current price. It is therefore crucial for interested applicants to speed up their decision-making process – as the procedure of validating their source of funds would also take a significant amount of time,” says Rogelio Caceres, Co- Founder and CCO of LCR Capital Partners.
“Indians considering submitting an EB-5 application ahead of the price increase need to be aware that proving the source of their funds takes an average of two months, which effectively reduces the amount of time available for applicants wishing to lock in the current rate, says” Mark Davies, Global Chairman of Davies & Associates.
Talking of other reforms, Vivek Tandon Founder and CEO of EB5 BRICS informs, “States can no longer designate Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) at their own discretion. The Department of Homeland Security shall be the central designation authority and it shall apply uniform parameters for TEAs all over the country.”
EB 5 Process
The investment can be made directly into a commercial enterprise or it may be routed through Regional Centers, which are private entities set up as an economic unit and approved by USCIS. The Regional Centre, in turn, may have their own infrastructure project or could have a tie-up with developers. Even after the green card gets issued, it’s conditional for a two-year period. In these two years, the conditions which primarily are related to the creation of jobs needs to be met and the investor has to get the conditions removed by submitting the requisite forms.
Similar to any other investment, there will also be risk involved. Not all projects will end up generating a regular source of income or appreciate in value. Going ahead, instances of TEA projects in big cities are unlikely to pass the muster as locations situated inside a Metropolitan Statistical Area cannot be designated as a high-unemployment area,” says Tandon. A close look at the background of promoters of the Regional Centre including the approval for their project is a must. Thorough due diligence must be done by asking for all documentation regarding the project and also checking the promoter and his background. There have been cases of projects and promoters being banned in the past.