A Path To Quicker US Citizenship And Passport

Introduction of a new reserved visa category is especially effective for Indian nationals

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Published: Thu 30 May 2024, 10:19 AM

Last updated: Thu 30 May 2024, 10:31 AM

Residents of the UAE and expats from neighboring GCC countries can benefit from priority processing of their United States EB-5 Golden Visas. Thanks to recent reforms to the program, there is now an introduction of a new reserved visa category, which is especially effective for Indian nationals who had traditionally been subject to longer wait times given the high number of applicants from India and other regional nationalities.

Moreover, there are new options that allow families to file their applications and move to the US immediately, as opposed to the previous rules which required the approval of their petitions before they could migrate.

The primary reason why there has been great popularity with expats in Dubai, Doha, and across the region is because this golden visa unlocks tremendous benefits for education in the United States. By virtue of the $800,000 investment, parents are assured that their children can attend schools at no cost, and even their teens can access low or no cost university.

Shai Zamanian, Legal Director, The American Legal Center
Shai Zamanian, Legal Director, The American Legal Center

Especially in the last decade, more families from the GCC are opting to send their kids to the US for studies. Once families are approved through this program, they gain access to free education in public schools from Kindergarten to the final year of highschool in the US.

Upon applying for universities, their kids would be counted as US persons as opposed to international students and benefit from better acceptance rates along with free or low cost tuitions. The US has a national policy of providing access to education regardless whether parents can finance them or not. Thus, once approved through this Golden Visa program, children can attend US universities and obtain US government funds to pay for all costs associated with being a student which includes tuition, housing, books, transportation and other necessaries. Hence, parents are not out of pocket for education expenses for their children.

Ishan Ram, a Dubai resident of 15 years works for a multinational company with dreams of sending his two children to US universities. “I was frightful of the costs of sending my kids to Uni.” He obtained the US Golden Visa because he wanted to set up his kids properly for their studies abroad. “Sending them as an international student has drawbacks, they cannot stay and work afterwards so that’s another reason I got them the US Green Card through the investment.”

Ishan filed his family petition under his wife’s name so she would also obtain the Green Card along with their kids. “Eventually, maybe 5 or 10 years later we will all be in the US. But for now I’m working here in Dubai and don’t need the Green Card.”

By filing the family petition, Ishan was able to save out of pocket costs for his kids’ education, along with securing multigenerational planning since ultimately the family would want to stay together.

Ishan, along with many other GCC residents filed their application with the American Legal Center in Dubai, a team of US licensed lawyers that have filed the most US Golden Visa applications within the region. “I met Shai Zamanian and the team of US lawyers in one of their seminars in Dubai. That was two years ago. My older daughter is starting Uni this September in Chicago. It worked out well, I feel good about my decision.”

Besides children and university studies, it appears that GCC residents are also turning to the US as job prospects appear to be robust. With the Unemployment rate below the four per cent threshold, US companies are having a harder time finding skilled workers. Companies like IBM are feverishly interviewing, but only persons that are US nationals obtain the right jobs. This is another reason why parents are turning to the EB-5 US Golden Visa as parents themselves can gain employment or start companies of their own in the US.

Lastly, this program grants the entire family a path to quicker US citizenship and the US passport. Obtaining that coveted US passport has been especially important for expats in the region as tensions rise globally. Many have stated that their job prospects increase and salary offers are on the higher end of the scale with the US passport if they choose to continue working in the GCC.


The EB-5 program was implemented by the US Congress in 1990 as a way to boost the US economy through the injection of foreign capital and job creation. The program requires an investment of $800,000 with payment plans in qualifying government pre-approved real estate projects. Compared to other U.S. immigration routes, the EB-5 program is one of the fastest and easiest ways to obtain a Green Card. In exchange for the $800,000 investment, a family including spouse and children under 21 years of age are provided with US residency and Green Cards. The capital investment is eligible for return to the family after approximately five years.


The EB-5 program experienced an overhaul with passage of new legislation called the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA) in March 2022. RIA implemented a number of key positive changes enhancing the appeal of the program for prospective immigrants. One such change is the introduction of concurrent filing allowing investors to live and work in the US while they await the adjudication of their EB-5 applications. Concurrent filing allows investors to have lawful status in the US before they receive their Green Cards. Hence, many Dubai expats have been filing their application with payment plan terms and moving to the U.S. immediately.


Many skilled workers residing in the U.S. are at risk of deportation given high levels of layoffs in the tech sector. The professionals affected by these tech layoffs are mostly of Indian nationality. Some of these individuals have been residing in the US for decades and would face serious hardship in going back to their own countries. Despite this, they cannot stay in the US without a sponsor and therefore have 60 days to either find another employer or must leave their homes in the US. Many affected by these layoffs are turning to EB-5. A Green Card allows them to continue living in the US without having to depend on an employer.


A Green Card unlocks many educational benefits, including but not limited to:

1. lower tuition fees compared to international students,

2. higher chances of acceptance into US universities and institutions,

3. better access to paid internship and research opportunities,

4. access to government grants and scholarships, and

5. greater chances of obtaining employment upon graduation.

Given all of these benefits, many parents are proactive in obtaining the US golden visa for their children pursuing education in the United States.


The United States is known as the land of opportunities, being host to one of the highest numbers of Fortune 500 companies in the world. Navigating the immigration laws and dealing with extensive paperwork many times averts US employers from hiring international candidates. Therefore, Green Card holders fare better in the US job market compared to their international counterparts given that employers prefer to avoid the hassles of hiring an international candidate.


As the best hospitals in the world are located in the United States, the country offers its residents top quality healthcare. US hospitals are generally well-funded and have world-leading medical innovation and advancement ensuring that patients receive the best care and treatment. Additionally, the top pharmaceutical companies in the world have their headquarters in the US and are successful in developing leading edge technologies and medicines. With the US Green Card in hand, families can ensure that they have access to world class healthcare.


The American Legal Center is hosting their next seminar on Sunday, June 2nd at The Address Sky View Hotel, Downtown Dubai at 3:00pm. To start your migration journey to the U.S., reserve your spot for the upcoming seminar by contacting +971 52 446 6095 or media@america.ae

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