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April 12 2018

Indian EB-5 News and New Social Media Rules

EB-5 India

For some time, there has been an increase in EB-5 applicants from India.  In the past, Indian EB-5 investors almost exclusively sought out “direct” investments rather than regional center projects.  This is because one may earn a high rate of return with a business one owns or in which one has substantial ownership.  But all businesses have challenges, and there is the central issue in all direct cases as to who will manage a direct investment during the 2 to 2½ years it takes to immigrate via the EB-5 visa program.  Today, many are investing in regional center-sponsored projects.  There are a number of important issues specific to Indian EB-5 cases.

  • Indian EB-5 source of funds can be challenging, as the investment funds often come from multiple sources such as savings over time, gifts from parents or siblings, and sold or refinanced real estate.
  • Real estate sale documents may not reflect the full selling price.  [The same is true in the U.S. for the sale of businesses when intangible goods are inflated.]
  • While EB-5 is not a quick way to immigrate, it is far faster than the employment-based 2nd and 3rd preferences for India-born immigrants.  The EB-2 is taking about 12 years, while the EB-3 is taking about 20+ years, for a visa number to become available for applicants to complete the process.  We have assisted many people with pending EB-2 and EB-3 applications by helping them file EB-5 petitions in order to immigrate in a reasonable timeframe.
  • There are monetary restrictions on remitting capital out of India.  Now it is $250,000 per person per fiscal year.  In the past, the law was as low as $75,000 per year.
  • The State Department is now estimating that in 2020, the India EB-5 quota will retrogress at the end of the fiscal year and then jump back to current as with all other countries, except China and Vietnam.  This should not impact processing times.


Social Media and Visas

The government has issued a notice that may require both applicants for temporary visas and immigrant visas to disclose their social media handles for the past five years on visa applications.  This is required for those subject to the travel ban. But now, it may not just apply to those subject to the travel ban alone.  The impact this will have on visa applications is not known.  However, it is anticipated that the government’s review of applicants’ social media history may delay visa issuance.