American Legal Center Dec 15 FOR WEB
Shai Zamanian, Legal Director, The American Legal Center addresses visitors at a U.S. EB-5 session

In a welcome development for existing EB-5 applicants from India, the United States Department of State has recently released its January 2024 Visa Bulletin, revealing a significant advancement for those navigating the intricate landscape of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program – the U.S. golden visa equivalent. This latest update has seen India leap forward by two years, from the previous December 2018 final action date to December 2020, offering a ray of hope to Indian families and individuals who have eagerly awaited their turn in the EB-5 queue.

Background on the EB-5 program

The EB-5 program provides a unique pathway for foreign investors and their families to obtain permanent residency and Green Cards in the U.S. To qualify for the EB-5 program, applicants must invest the prescribed amount of $800,000 in a government pre-approved real estate project in the U.S., creating a minimum of ten full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The investment amount is eligible for return to the investor after approximately five years from the initial date of investment.

The program offers a highly sought-after route to U.S. residency given its less stringent criteria as compared to other immigration routes to the United States. The EB-5 golden visa has been particularly popular among Indian expats residing in the Middle East, given the many benefits that a U.S. Green Card provides, particularly educational benefits for children. Many families with school-aged children apply for the EB-5 program to unlock these educational opportunities and benefits, including but not limited to higher acceptance rates, lower tuition fees, access to government grants, loans, and scholarships, as well as better chances of finding employment upon graduation.

Insights from latest U.S. government statistics

The release of the January Visa Bulletin is a pivotal moment for existing EB-5 applicants, as it dictates that there has been great progress in the adjudication of EB-5 applications for Indian nationals. The Visa Bulletin serves as a guide for applicants to gauge the progress of visa processing and anticipate potential wait times. The leap of India from December 15, 2018 to December 1, 2020 is particularly noteworthy, signifying substantial headway in visa allocation for Indian EB-5 applicants.

This means that there are EB-5 visas available for all applicants that have filed prior to December 1, 2020 and therefore they are eligible to receive their EB-5 approvals.

For those who have filed under the traditional unreserved visa category, this advancement is a beacon of progress. “Applicants who have been patiently awaiting their turn in the EB-5 process will now find themselves closer to realizing their American dream,” says Shahriar Zamanian, known by Shai Zamanian, Legal Director of The American Legal Center. The American Legal Center is the top immigration firm in the GCC region with over a decade of experience in the EB-5 industry. They have assisted numerous families in filing their EB-5 applications and in successfully navigating this intricate process.

Indian families applying for the EB-5 Golden Visa now

“The recent shift in the January visa bulletin, propelling India two years forward in the EB-5 queue, is undoubtedly a cause for celebration among Indian EB-5 applicants with pending applications,” explains Shai. “That said, new EB-5 applicants are in an even better position given the introduction of three new visa categories called visa set asides that allow for expedited processing.” Visa set asides are a new category of reserved EB-5 visas introduced in March of last year. “Indian families considering the U.S. golden visa should consider this new route.”

In addition to faster processing, prospective applicants can benefit from concurrent filing, which is a new feature of the EB-5 program allowing for applicants to file their applications and move to the U.S. immediately. Previously, EB-5 investors were required to remain outside the U.S. while their file was being reviewed by the U.S. immigration office, but now with the option of concurrent filing, EB-5 investors can live and work in the United States while they await the adjudication of their file. This is a great feature for international students residing in the United States on an F-1 visa or those working on an H-1B visa.

In addition to a work permit, applicants will also receive travel papers allowing them to travel outside the United States without losing their immigration status.

Contact The American Legal Center

As the premier EB-5 consultants in the Middle East, The American Legal Center is ready to assist all those interested on their EB-5- journeys. The American Legal Center is composed of a team of U.S. licensed lawyers and professionals laser-focused on the EB-5 program. For more information on the EB-5 program and how to qualify for the new category of the U.S. golden visa, you may contact their team for an initial complimentary consultation.