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U.S. EB-5 applications to become dearer

For Targeted Employment Area projects, fee to rise to $1.35 mn from $500,000

July 01, 2019 10:44 pm | Updated 10:44 pm IST - Mini TejaswiBengaluru

EB-5 is probably the quickest legal route for immigrants 
to get permanent residency in the U.S.

EB-5 is probably the quickest legal route for immigrants to get permanent residency in the U.S.

The United States has decided to effect a steep increase in the application fee for its Immigrant Investor Visa Programme, EB-5.

Although a hike was under consideration since January 2017, the U.S. administration kept pushing the decision, at least half a dozen times, until the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) took a final call on June 29, 2019 after it completed its review of the EB-5 modernisation regulations.

Under the revised scheme, the application fee for projects under Targeted Employment Areas, will go up to $1.35 million from the current $500,000. The standard minimum investment will also rise to $1.8 million from the existing $1 million.

The date of the new fee implementation and details of the final regulation will be known in the next 60 days through a publication in the Federal Register.

As of now, EB-5 could probably be the quickest legal route available for immigrants to get Green Card and permanent residency in the U.S.

Mark Davies, global chairman, Davies & Associates, said: “Large number of Indians are motivated to apply for EB-5 in order to improve their children’s education and employment prospects. Since a whole family could receive green cards from just a single application, the arithmetic of an EB-5 investment might still make sense in the event of a fee hike.”

The normal waiting period used to be less than two years, but with India recently reaching retrogression (investors from the country fully utilised the existing cap of 700 EB-5 visas for the October-September fiscal), the waiting period is likely to get longer up to five years or more.

EB-5 investments that go into various sectors in the U.S., including hospitality and realty, are monitored and regulated by the U.S. Immigration Services and Securities Exchange Commission. India has a large number of families and entrepreneurs who are keen to take this route, especially when H-1B visa is under stringent scrutiny. However, the fee hike might cool off the investor interest for EB-5 adoption, opined immigration professionals.

Mr. Vivek Tandon, Founder & CEO of immigration advisory firm EB-5 BRICS said, “We know that this regulation change will impact Indian investors immeasurably. It is certain that the investment amount will be raised to more than double of what it is now. But, the date of implementation is yet to be announced, so this could be the last window of opportunity for Indian visa seekers.”

As per CanAm Investor Services, some 50% of the Indian applicants of EB-5 are either students or parents who want their children to build their career in the US. Indian students under EB-5 visa can attend U.S. public elementary, middle, and high school institutions at no cost and can save on university tuition at public universities by paying in-state tuition fees. Most EB-5 Indian applications are high-networth individuals, entrepreneurs and students from Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad Kochi, Kolkota, Punjab, Delhi NCR, and Chandigarh.

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