GCC Indian expats get expedited US EB-5 golden visas

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Published: Thu 20 Oct 2022, 3:53 PM

Last updated: Thu 20 Oct 2022, 4:01 PM

The time is ripe for Indian expats living in the UAE and surrounding Gulf countries to apply for their US golden visas. The EB-5 immigrant investor programme was revamped by the US Congress in March of this year and now allows expedited processing of applications through a new category of reserved US golden visas called visa set-asides.

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The US golden visa, or the EB-5 programme, is a US government immigration programme designed to attract the injection of foreign capital into the US economy in exchange for US residency and green cards. A family, including the main applicant, spouse, and children under 21 years of age, can qualify for the US golden visa by way of an investment of $800,000 in a qualifying project meeting the requirements of the programme.

Previously, there was only one category of visas under the EB-5 programme. Of the 10,000 US golden visas available for the EB-5 programme in any given fiscal year, applicants would queue in the same line upon filing their applications. Because each country is subject to an annual cap, nationalities with large populations, such as those born in mainland China and India, were subject to retrogression and longer wait times as they would have to wait until a visa was made available for their nationality.

With the passage of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA), Congress created a new category of reserved visas under the EB-5 programme. The RIA specifies that of the 10,000 US golden visas available in each fiscal year, 10 per cent are reserved for applicants who invest in high unemployment areas, 20 per cent are reserved for applicants who invest in rural areas, and two per cent are reserved for applicants who invest in infrastructure projects. In simplified terms, there is no longer only one queue in which US golden visa applicants line up to receive their green cards. There are now four separate queues: one for unreserved visas, one for investors in high unemployment areas, one for investors in rural areas, and lastly one for investors in infrastructure projects. While there is a backlog for Indian nationals in the unreserved visas queue, Indian nationals have a chance to receive their US golden visas by being first in line in one of the other three queues.

“These visa set-asides are a saviour for Indian nationals looking to gain access to the US for their families in an expedited manner,” says Shai Zamanian, director of The American Legal Centre, the leading US golden visa experts in the region. “The key is to be first in line. We urge interested families to begin their application process now to benefit from shorter wait times.”

The American Legal Center is a top immigration consultancy in Dubai and is laser-focused on the US golden visa for GCC residents. The team of US-licensed lawyers and professionals at this firm have over a decade of experience in helping individuals and families apply for US residency via the EB-5 programme. As a leading advisor in the EB-5 industry, The American Legal Centre has filed the most EB-5 applications out of the region and is readily available to assist expat families looking to obtain their US golden visas.

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