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Over the years, the US EB-5 immigration investor program, a program which allows an investor, the investor’s spouse, and children under 21 years of age at the time the application is submitted, to obtain their US Green Cards through a fast-track process – has become popular amongst Indian nationals.
What is Visa Retrogression for Indian Nationals for the EB5 Program?
Since each nationality participating in the EB-5 investor immigration program is allotted 7% of the 10,000 US EB-5 visas issued each fiscal year, those nationalities with the highest number of applicants will surpass the 7% allotment, and when the number of applications exceeds the number of visas available, the government sets a cut-off date, a process known as a retrogression or backlog. This backlog applicant must wait until a visa becomes available in a queue to land in the US as a permanent resident and citizen. It is important to note that this only applies to Indian nationals born in India.
How can you Avoid Indian Retrogression Delay?
Before March 2022, the EB-5 visa program only consisted of one visa category, which is now termed “unreserved visas”. On March 15, 2022, the US government introduced new “reserved visas” split into three set-aside visa categories: high-unemployment targeted employment areas (TEA), rural, and infrastructure projects. Since each of these reserve categories will be processed in its queue, the allotment of visas has not yet been surpassed. Therefore, this important new legislative change to the US EB-5 investment program now allows Indian-born applicants to bypass retrogression.
Cutoff Dates for India Visa Bulletin
Below is the most current visa bulletin released by the US government. This bulletin is released each month to show approximate processing times or backlogs. As we can see in the 5th category (EB-5) set aside “rural” and “high-unemployment” we see that the chart indicates C. The letter C indicates current, meaning that processing times in those categories for all nationalities are current and being processed as per normal processing time, if not faster. Investors should not wait to invest in these reserve categories, as it is reasonable to assume they will also become backlogged in the future.
What are the Benefits for Indian Nationals of Applying for an EB-5 Visa Now?
The benefits for Indian nationals applying for an EB-5 visa include faster processing times, lower investment amounts, and the opportunity to secure a U.S. green card for themselves and their immediate family, allowing for residency and potential future citizenship in the United States. Additionally, as the EB-5 program undergoes periodic changes, and applying sooner may help avoid any future regulatory adjustments that could impact eligibility or investment requirements.
EB-5 Capital Investment for Indian Investors
To participate, individuals must invest a minimum of $900,000 in a targeted employment area (TEA) or $1.8 million in a non-TEA project, creating or preserving at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying U.S. workers. This investment provides Indian investors and their immediate family members with the opportunity to become lawful permanent residents of the United States. The EB-5 visa immigration program can be an attractive option for Indian investors seeking to diversify their investments and gain access to the economic opportunities and educational resources available in the United States.
How to Begin the EB-5 Process?
The US licensed lawyers and immigration specialists at Step Global DMCC provide you with active guidance through the entire immigration process. With a 100% track record of approvals over 10 years in the GCC, Step Global has assisted hundreds of families from the region to successfully obtain US green cards and avail all the benefits of permanent residency in the US.
Step Global offers a wide range of exclusively reserved category projects, including high-quality rural and high-unemployment (TEA) projects with a strong capital structure and ample potential for job creation. These may provide a secure fast-track option to EB-5 approval and a US Green Card, as well as eventual US citizenship.
Indian investors may experience backlogs in the EB-5 immigrant visa program due to high demand. The EB-5 investor program has an annual quota, and a backlog occurs when the number of applicants from a specific country exceeds the allocated visas. India has seen increased interest in the EB-5 immigrant investor program, leading to a backlog in visa availability for Indian investors. Additionally, the per-country limitations contribute to delays in visa processing for nationals of countries with higher demand, including India.
EB-5 visa backlogs are primarily caused by high demand exceeding the annual quota set for the program. The annual limit for EB-5 visas is fixed, leading to backlogs when the number of applicants, especially from certain countries, surpasses the available visa numbers. Per-country limitations further contribute to delays for nationals of countries with heightened demand for EB-5 visas.
The preference for a Green Card over an H-1B visa depends on individual circumstances. Generally, a Green Card provides permanent residency and citizenship, allowing indefinite stay and work in the U.S., while an H-1B visa is temporary and tied to employment. Green Card holders have more flexibility in choosing employers and occupations, aren’t subject to H-1B visa caps, and can pursue citizenship. However, obtaining a green card can be a lengthier and more complex process compared to obtaining an H-1B visa.
Applying for an EB-5 immigration visa now may offer benefits for Indian nationals due to potential changes in program regulations or increased demand, which could lead to longer waiting times and higher investment amounts in the future. Starting the EB-5 process sooner may provide the opportunity to secure a place in the queue and potentially benefit from current program requirements and investment thresholds.
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