fbpx US of A: Why is EB-5 program a popular route to obtain permanent residency in the USA?

US of A: Why is EB-5 program a popular route to obtain permanent residency in the USA?

February 7, 2024 / Hursh

In October 2023, USCIS revised its policy on the minimum investment period required for EB-5 visa applicants.

Nicholas A. Mastroianni, President and CMO, of the U.S. Immigration Fund (USIF) in an exclusive interview shares key insights into the EB-5 program.

The EB-5 Visa Program is one of the paths a foreign national can take to obtain a green card and become a permanent resident of the United States of America. The EB-5 program primarily attracts wealthy families and high-net-worth individuals who want to live in the United States.

Of late, there have been several policy changes in the EB-5 program. Nicholas A. Mastroianni, President and CMO, of U.S. Immigration Fund (USIF) in an exclusive interview with Financial Express Online shares key insights into the EB-5 program and why it is the most popular route to obtaining US permanent residence.

What do you think are the recent policy announcements by the USCIS that have made the EB-5 program more attractive for Indian investors?

The USCIS has rolled out several enticing updates for the EB-5 program. The introduction of concurrent filing enables investors, especially those on F-1 or H-1B visas, to simultaneously pursue their Green Card alongside their EB-5 applications, offering interim benefits like work authorization and travel documents.

The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 significantly strengthens the program’s integrity and transparency, enhancing investor protections with stricter background checks and improved oversight. Additionally, investments in Targeted Employment Areas are now fast-tracked, expediting the process. The two-year minimum investment mandate clarifies investor commitments, and the creation of reserved visas under the 2022 Act accelerates the process for new investors.

In October 2023, USCIS revised its policy on the minimum investment period required for EB-5 visa applicants. What is the investment period now and how does it impact the investors?

The USCIS’s October 2023 policy revision has redefined the EB-5 investment landscape. The new regulation stipulates a clear two-year investment requirement, starting from when the funds are infused into the job-creating entity. This policy brings much-needed clarity and stability, ensuring that investors can be eligible for a Green Card post a two-year job creation period. It’s a significant stride towards enhancing the program’s efficiency and integrity.

Recently, they have introduced the online visa application system. How do you think it will enhance the visa processing speed?

The launch of the online visa application system is a game-changer, poised to accelerate visa processing significantly. This digital move streamlines the entire process, reducing processing times, enhancing accuracy, and providing real-time application status updates. It’s a leap towards modernizing the visa system, ensuring faster approvals and a smoother experience for applicants.

2023 has seen a notable uptick in the EB-5 visa application processing speed. There’s been a surge in Form I-526 approvals, indicating quicker processing of both new and existing applications. The acceleration is particularly evident in the processing of I-526E applications within the set-aside categories, with some approvals happening in under three months. This marks a significant improvement in processing efficiency, balancing speed with thorough evaluation.

Could you share the number of visa applications in 2023 as compared to the last 5 years? Has the number increased?

In Fiscal Year 2023, the number of EB-5 visa applications showed a significant increase compared to previous years. Specifically, there were 1,687 applications submitted in the first three quarters (October 2022 to June 2023), followed by an additional 945 applications in the fourth quarter (July to September 2023).

USIF also noted demand for EB-5 visas for Indian Investors rose 400% between 2016 and 2019. The program then lapsed, throughout Covid, and now that the program is back, the program is still on a sharp rise. In 2019, there were 756 EB-5 applications filed by Indians. In 2022, there were 1,381 applications filed by Indian Investors reflecting the growing interest in the program following the loosening of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

What is the future outlook for EB5 adoption in India; people of what profile and income group are interested in this program? The country has how many EB5 investors so far? What is the cost of the program right now?

The EB-5 program in India is on an upward trajectory, primarily attracting high-net-worth individuals and affluent families seeking U.S. residency. These are usually business professionals or individuals aiming for enhanced opportunities in education and careers for their families. With around 676 EB-5 visas issued to Indians in FY 2023, the program’s popularity is evident. The current investment requirement of $800,000 caters to this specific economic segment in India.

USIF has held 2 roadshows in 2023 in India. What do you think was the business outcome of those roadshows?

The USIF roadshows in 2023 across India, including dynamic cities like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Delhi, have indeed marked a significant milestone in our outreach efforts. These events, meticulously designed and executed, have served as an invaluable platform for the U.S. Immigration Fund team to engage in both introductory and follow-up interactions with prospective clients, keenly interested in the EB-5 program.

These roadshows did a great job of getting people interested and excited. We shared lots of information and helped people make connections, which boosted the number of investors who wanted to be part of the program. Seeing how successful 2023 was, we’re super excited for our next roadshow in February 2024. We’re expecting even more people to join us and learn about this great opportunity!

Do you think the EB-5 program is the most credible and sought-after path to obtain permanent residency in the US? How?

The EB-5 program stands out as a credible route to U.S. permanent residency. It offers a straightforward path to a Green Card for investors and their immediate families. Its alignment with U.S. economic goals and the recent reforms, such as the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, have strengthened its transparency and reliability. Additionally, policy changes like concurrent filing and TEA processing prioritization have made it an increasingly accessible and efficient residency option, especially for current U.S. visa holders.

The article was originally posted by The Financial Express

Authored by Sunil Dhawan

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