Moving to the U.S. for education and subsequent work opportunities has been the most common route for migration. According to the 2021 Open Doors Report, Indian students comprised nearly 20 percent of the total immigrant students, with 1,67,582 students enrolled in the 2020-2021 academic year.
Traditionally, students opt for an F1 /M1 visa to pursue their education and then apply for an O.P.T. and H1B when they seek employment in the United States. However, in recent years, the H-1B became very controversial and competitive. The H1B is a lottery-based visa allotted to 1 out of 3 applicants. With absolutely no connection to one’s merits, the program requires the applicant to receive a sponsorship from an employer and thus limits opportunities for immigrants.
Many Indians are now exploring a pathway that could land them their dream job/college and provide them with the flexibility to work and reside in the U.S. A long-term, fast, relatively safe and legal way to achieve this is by investing in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program. The EB-5 visa provides a residence permit (a Green Card), allowing individuals to live, work, and study in the United States just like any other U.S. residents. The investor visa program requires the applicant to invest a minimum of $800,000 in a target employment area either through a regional center or directly. A complete qualifying family unit, including the primary applicant, a spouse, and any children under the age of 21, could be included in a single EB-5 application.
Although an EB-5 visa is one of the best possible routes to obtain U.S. Green Card, a few things need to be kept in mind while applying for an EB-5 visa. First, you’ll have to encounter various people like immigration advisors, immigration lawyers, education advisors, etc. For affirmative immigration, it becomes imperative to choose the right immigration advisors and lawyers. Selecting the best EB-5 advisors can be exhausting as the services offered and the fee charged can vary. The key here is to find EB-5 advisors that provide end-to-end services, the right representation, and the ability to file a successful EB-5 application.
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Choosing an advisor with a successful conversion rate specializing in the visa category you are applying for is critical. Due diligence is vital to the entire application process, and investors should prioritize it from the beginning. For students, it is crucial to start thinking about an application well before they are 21. This is because if they reach the aforementioned age between the I-526 petition approval and consular interview process, they’ll need to restart their application with a separate investment. Applicants should also ensure no conflict of interest between the ensemble of advisors they work with during the application process. Each partner should proceed with their leg of work unbiasedly and focus on delivering the best for the client. Credibility in the market is one of the most important things to consider while choosing your immigration advisors. There should be a thorough run-through over the advisor’s success rate, conversions, number of applicants, rate of investors, and reimbursement rate.
When developing a viable business plan, keep the ROI in mind. Investors may lose money if the business does not succeed. The investment’s terms and conditions must be well defined, and it must directly hire 10 lawful U.S. workers, comply with US labor laws, maintain payrolls and tax records, and provide insurance, among other things. Immigrant investors, their spouses, sons, and daughters, and any alien in any nonimmigrant status (such as an H-1B nonimmigrant) or who is not authorized to work in the United States are not included in this description. When choosing a EB-5 Regional Center project, don’t trust any advertisement or sale pitch by its face value. Do your homework and read through the legal documents, conduct due diligence on the issuer and its past projects, and look out for those too-good-to-be-true offerings.
Moving to another country is one of the most significant decisions you’ll make for you and your family. You can’t be more careful. However, retaining a reliable advisor, an experienced immigration attorney and working with a trusted EB-5 Regional Center will help make your immigration and investment journey easier to navigate.