Positive reforms allow Indians to receive their US Green Cards without delays
The all new United States EB-5 golden visa allows Indian nationals to benefit from shorter processing times. With positive reforms to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in March of this year, Indians can receive their US Green Cards without delays by retrogression.
The EB-5 program is one of the most sought-after routes to obtaining US residency and Green Cards for families in the United Arab Emirates and surrounding Gulf countries. The program requires families to invest $800,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the US with lawful funds. Through passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) in March 2022, Congress created a new category of reserved visas under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. “With COVID delays in government processing, these visa set asides are a savior for Indian nationals looking to gain access to the US for their families,” says Shai Zamanian, Director of The American Legal Center, the leading US golden visa experts in the region.
The RIA provides that of the 10,000 visas made available for the EB-5 program in each fiscal year, 10 per cent are reserved for applicants who invest in high unemployment areas, 20 per cent are reserved for applicants who invest in rural areas, and 2 per cent are reserved for applicants who invest in infrastructure projects.
One of the reserved categories is high unemployment areas, which is allocated 10 per cent of visas available for the EB-5 program, equal to 1,000 visas. The US Secretary of Homeland Security may designate a census tract, or contiguous census tracts, as a high unemployment area, in which the new commercial enterprise is principally doing business and the weighted average of the unemployment rate for the census tracts is not less than 150 per cent of the national average unemployment rate. A designation of high unemployment area by the Secretary of Homeland Security will be effective for a two-year period. A designation may be renewed for one or more additional two-year periods by the Secretary of Homeland Security.
Another reserved category is rural areas, which is allocated 20 per cent of visas available for the EB-5 program, equal to 2,000 visas. A rural area is any area that is not located within a metropolitan statistical area as designated by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget or within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more. The new EB-5 regulations provide that investors in rural areas will receive priority processing.
The last reserved category is infrastructure projects, which is allocated 2 per cent of visas available for the EB-5 program, equal to 200 visas. The Secretary of Homeland Security will determine whether a specific capital investment project qualifies as an infrastructure project. An infrastructure project must be administered by a government entity.
Investors that had been previously backlogged and subject to retrogression, including those born in mainland China and India, can now benefit from shorter wait times given the new visa set asides. There are no backlogs for new investors filing for their US golden visas in the reserved categories. This is great news for investors born in mainland China and India.
According to the November 2022 Visa Bulletin published by the United States Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, all EB-5 visa set asides are now current. The final action dates for the unreserved category for mainland Chinese applicants is March 22, 2015 and November 8, 2019 for Indian nationals, meaning that both Chinese and Indian nationals that have previously filed in the unreserved categories are backlogged. To bypass retrogression, Chinese or Indian nationals can invest in a project that qualifies for a visa set aside. Therefore, a Chinese or Indian national applying today can benefit from much quicker processing times under the reserved categories.
Previously filed EB-5 petitions are not subject to the new visa set aside categories and there is no mechanism to upgrade a previously filed petition to be eligible for one of these reserved categories. However, investors are not barred from withdrawing their previously filed petitions and investing in one of the new visa set aside categories and filing a new petition to take advantage of the reserved categories. That said, investors must be mindful of other factors, such as any age out issues, prior to withdrawing their petition.
Contact The American Legal Center today to discuss your options.
Given that the needs of each family are different depending on their nationality and varying circumstances, consultation with EB-5 experts prior to initiating the US golden visa application process is crucial.
The American Legal Center is composed of a team of US licensed attorneys and professionals that have been active in helping individuals and families apply for US residency via the EB-5 program for over a decade. Under the leadership of Shai, the team has successfully filed the most EB-5 applications out of the Gulf region and continues to maintain an excellent track record with 100 per cent approval rate of their filed applications.
If you are ready to start your migration journey with The American Legal Center of Dubai, contact their team today for more information. With their extensive experience in US golden visa filings, the US licensed lawyers at this firm work closely with various experts in the EB-5 industry to present you with the best available opportunities for your EB-5 visa application.
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