An all-new United States golden visa category is now open to Indian families living in the United Arab Emirates and surrounding Gulf nations.
What is the US EB-5 golden visa?
The EB-5 immigrant investor program is a US government investment immigration program providing a fast-tracked route for investors to obtain a US Green Card. The EB-5 program has been tremendously popular among Indian nationals since its inception in 1990. The US government created the US golden visa with the goal of increasing the injection of foreign capital into the US economy and boosting job creation in exchange for US residency and Green Cards for foreign investors.
Through the EB-5 program, a family, including the main applicant, spouse, and children under the age of 21, can apply for their US Green Cards by investing $800,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the US. The US government added to the appeal of the program in March of this year through a revamp that allows for expedited processing of applications through a new category of reserved US golden visas called visa set-asides.
What is Indian retrogression?
In essence, retrogression in the EB-5 process means that for a particular nationality, too many applicants exist so the government agency will slow down in reviewing applicants from that particular nationality. Prior to the passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) in March 2022, the EB-5 program only consisted of one visa category: unreserved visas.
Of the 10,000 US golden visas available for the EB-5 program in a fiscal year, foreign investors applying for their US golden visas would be placed in the same line given that all visas would fall under the “unreserved” category. Due to an annual cap placed on each nationality, those with large populations, including mainland Chinese and Indian-born applicants, are subject to retrogression and longer wait times under the unreserved visa category.
Essentially, Indian-born investors that applied prior to the passage of the new regulations must wait until a visa becomes available for their nationality before their file gets adjudicated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
This means that Indian nationals that have applied for a US golden visa in the unreserved category face longer wait times as compared to other nationalities. The long queue is “Indian retrogression” in the EB-5 industry. Nevertheless, new legislative changes to the program now allow Indian-born applicants to bypass retrogression.
How can Indian families bypass retrogression?
The RIA created a new category of US golden visas called “reserved” visas. According to the new regulations, of the 10,000 US golden visas available in each fiscal year, 10% are set aside for applicants who invest in high unemployment areas, 20% are set aside for applicants who invest in rural areas, and 2% are set aside for applicants who invest in infrastructure projects.
Given that USCIS and various EB-5 industry experts litigating the new legislation's interpretation, the EB-5 program was not accepting new applications for several months. USCIS began accepting applications only a few weeks ago and therefore not many Indian investors have filed their applications yet. This translates into shorter wait times for Indian families in the UAE applying under the reserved visa categories.
“Indian nationals looking to gain access to the US for their families in an expedited manner should take advantage of these visa set-asides,” says Shai Zamanian, Legal Director and Founder of The American Legal Center the leading US golden visa experts in the region. “The key is to beat the rush so that you can be first in line.”
Contact The American Legal Center for a free initial consultation
With over a decade of experience in the EB-5 industry, the team of US-licensed lawyers and professionals at The American Legal Center is laser-focused on the US golden visa for GCC residents.
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