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For HNIs, EB-5 investor visa better than F-1 student visa, say experts

The EB-5 investor visa programme would be a superior alternative to the traditional F-1 student visa, say experts especially since they can enjoy the reduced cost benefits offered by the participating public universities.

David Gunderson, Principal and Executive VP, US Freedom Capital said that students can also continue to reside and work permanently within the US during and after graduation, without restrictions as there are no work limitations under the EB-5 visa program.

US Freedom capital is a premier EB-5 investment firm that assists non-US individuals and their families with immigration-focused investments in the US, in both, sound real estate development projects and job-producing projects optimized for the EB-5 Investor Visa program.

Students under this program do not require any sponsorship from the host company they have an edge over other international students to secure a better job. EB-5 visa allows the parent to the sponsor.

For high net-worth individuals, the EB-5 Programme has been in effect since 1990 as an opportunity for the immigrant and their family to obtain permanent residency to the US. The EB-5 Investor will receive almost all of the same benefits as anyone who is a US citizen, and the family will have the opportunities available to their children and succeeding generations.

The United States benefits under the EB-5 Investor Visa require the immigrant to invest a minimum of $ 500,000 (Rs 3.17 crore approximately) in a new business that creates at least ten US jobs.

Gunderson said that the investor does not have to work in the business day-to-day. “Working with your immigration attorney, we manage the investment of your behalf, as investment advisors,” he said.

He explained that EB-5 is an effective mechanism and even allows the mother to be the investor, if the father is not interested in getting a green card, With this, the dependent child is also able to get into an university of their choice without restrictions imposed on foreign students. Further, the investor gets returns on their investment in the 3-5 years. The investor can choose from a list of projects to invest.

Companies like US Freedom Capital assist individuals in the EB-5 investment programme. For instance, US Freedom Capital also offers investment management apart from conditional green card and concierge services. For the VIP Club, they also offer assistance with selecting and applying for the child’s school or university.

At present, approximately 10,000 such visas numbers are allocated annually to EB-5 investors. It is believed that the Barack Obama-led government is planning to increase it to 40,000 so that more number of investors and their dependents can make use of this scheme.

Further, Gunderson explained that the investment limit is soon to be increased to $ 800,000 which will again gradually go up. “We are targeting chartered accountants, lawyers and wealth managers who have a close relationships with HNIs in India and creating awareness about this scheme. This would an easier route to gain a US citizenship,” he said.

Data shows that India has had 162 such visas issued between FY2009-2013. “Compared to the number of HNIs, there is a huge opportunity available. China currently tops the list and we expect Indian HNIs to go through this route,” Gunderson said.

He explained that investment returns may not be very high and that dissuades some HNIs. However, he added that obtaining a green card through this route is its biggest benefits since dependants who would want to pursue their education in the US would be able to do so, in an easier manner.

What is EB-5

  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (US Department of Homeland Security IS administers the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors
  • Under a pilot immigration program first enacted in 1992 and regularly reauthorized since, certain EB-5 visas also are set aside for investors in Regional Centers designated by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth
  • All EB-5 investors must invest in a new commercial enterprise, which is a commercial enterprise. This does not include non-commercial activity such as owning and operating a personal residence
  • Job Creation Requirements: Create or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs for qualifying US workers within two years (or under certain circumstances, within a reasonable time after the two-year period) of the immigrant investor’s admission to the United States as a Conditional Permanent Resident
  • Create or preserve either direct or indirect jobs: Direct jobs are actual identifiable jobs for qualified employees located within the commercial enterprise into which the EB-5 investor has directly invested his or her capital. Indirect jobs are those jobs shown to have been created collaterally or as a result of capital invested in a commercial enterprise affiliated with a regional center by an EB-5 investor
  • Your spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may be admitted to the US with you on a two-year conditional period. If your I-829 petition to remove conditions is approved (after you have made the investment and created jobs), the conditions will be removed from your spouse and children’s Green Card status.
  • As a lawful permanent residents (Green Card holders) your spouse and children will be authorized to work or attend school in the US


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