The U.S. Immigration Fund witness more EB-5 visa demand as result of speculation concerning increase in minimum investment amounts


Hyderabad: America’s leading EB-5 Regional Center, U.S. Immigration Fund (USIF), is encouraging Indians to apply for their EB-5 visasas early as possible given a possible change to the EB-5program later this year and a tightening of other visa categories.

EB-5 has been under congressional review and the investment amounts are expected to increase.According to the latest reports from the US, the US Congressmay hike the minimum investment amount for EB-5 from $500,000 to close to $1 million and from $1 million to $1.8 million per applicant respectively.

Andrew Graves, the head of USIF’s India Operations, said, “It is an ideal time for people of India who desire to gain permanent access to the U.S., includingstudents and senior executives,to take advantage of today’s low investment amountfor theEB-5 visa. The requirements to be a qualified investor include one million dollars of net worth and alegitimatesource of funds for the principal investment. The EB-5 Programcould be expected to receive significant legislative changes by March 23, 2018. Now is the time to invest at the lower investment amount.”

The U.S. Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to enable high net worth foreign investors to obtain a U.S. Visa for the investor and their immediate family by investing a minimum of $500,000 in a U.S. business that will benefit the economy by creating a minimum of 10 permanent US jobs.

When compared to other immigrant and work visa categories,EB-5 is a superior option to work and stay in the U.S.and become a U.S.citizen. The EB-5 visa enablesstudents and families to acquire a permanentU.S.Green Card in a shorter time than H1-B, EB 1A/B/C, EB-2, and EB-3visa holders.In addition, theEB-5 visa allows students and immediate family members to obtain conditional U.S. residency within 16-18 months, which can potentially give them access to lower in-state tuition rates and higher acceptance rates for prominent universities around the country. For example, per,the 4-year cost savings of tuition and fees for US residents amount to $99,480 for the University of Texas and $106,728 for UC Berkeley, greatly offsetting the cost of the investment.

Shan Chopra, Managing Partner of The Chopras Groupand partner of USIF states, “We’ve witnessed growing interest since our launch from families wanting to expand their business operations into the U.S. or for their children to have greater freedom and mobility in their professional lives without having to rely on an employer to sponsor them. We’ve seen over 3000 enquiries since we started and over 600+ meetings via seminars and one-on-one interactions in the last 5 months.”

Currently Indian or U.S. companies bring senior executives to the U.S. through various avenues like an L1 or H1-b visa and latersponsor the individual for a permanent Green Card. The current waiting list for Indiansthrough these typical visa programs has grown to 10 years or more, however, there is currently no waiting list for EB-5 investors from India. Moreover,employment sponsorship is not required for EB-5 investors, and the investors have the freedom to live and workanywherein the U.S.

The EB-5 Programwas seldom used until the global financial crisis in 2008-09 where many real estate developers looked for alternative sources of cheaper capital. Per USCIS data, Indian EB-5 visa applicants have consistently increased in recent years with174 petitions filed in 2017, a 57% increase from 2015.

USIF plays a key role in the EB-5 process. The investment firm poolsEB-5 capital from individuals and invests the pooled capital in highly qualified EB-5 projects in real estate with leading developers from New York City, New Jersey,California and Florida.

USIF holds the exclusive rights for raising and investing EB-5 capitalforseveral large-scale residential and commercial real estate projects. USIF’s 24 EB-5 projects will total roughly 18,000 EB-5 green cards arising from 6,000 investors and their families, numbers unmatched within the EB-5 industry.

The number of USIF Indian investors quadrupled from 2016 to 2017. Graves said, “We expect that the number of investors in 2018 will increase to more than 200, assuming the minimum investment amount remains at $500,000. Should the minimum investment amount increase, a portion of the potential investors could be priced out. A change in the overall EB-5 market is inevitable if investment level does go up.”

Shan Chopra added, “It is no coincidence that USIF has worked to deliver successful outcomes to 6,000+ investors through 24 projects. USIF has a proven methodology inthe selection of the strongest projects and robust governance, which is why we choose to work with USIF exclusively and no other EB-5 Regional Center. Theystructure these investment offeringsto best protect the interests of our investors. These are multi-billion dollar projects that are developed by some of the largest and most reputable developers in the U.S., who have access to numerous large U.S. financial institutions to round out their capital requirements.Ittruly is a predictableand seamless journey.”

Graves added, “For those currently considering the EB-5 Visa, time is of the essence. Waiting to invest could require them to invest an additional $500,000, potentially putting this opportunity out of many potential investor’s reach. It is time to act now and take full advantage of this great opportunity.”

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