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Investment Limits set to Increase for US Golden Visa

February 2018, 03
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The US Congress has announced an extension to the deadline for the EB5 visa to February 8, which permits foreigners to apply for a Green Card by investing in the US. Some experts feel that the investment limits under it are likely to be increased during February.

The previous deadline had expired on January 19. EB5 visa program was Introduced in 1990, and allows persons to invest $500,000 either in Targeted Employment Areas which is an area of high unemployment in any US metropolis, or a rural area located outside the limits of a metro -- or $1 million in a non- target area which can create ten (or more) jobs. This helped them to obtain US citizenship in a short time when compared with the H1-B visa holders.

President Trump has opted for strict norms for issuing H1-B visas, which are popular with the Indian IT firms. Hence the EB5 visa witnessed increased demand as a short route to attain citizenship. This visa program has become controversial and the critics see it as a step of US citizenship put for sale. Authorisation for this program has been done temporarily on Congress spending bills for the past two years.

Experts are of the opinion that, after the expiry of the present deadline, investment limits of $500,000 and $1 million will be increased. Three proposals are being speculated.

The first demands, calls for raising the $500,000 limit by $300,000 additional funds and $1 million limits to $1.2 million. The second proposal calls for raising the limits to $925,000 and $1.025 million. The third proposal expects an increase to $1.3 million and $1.8 million.

If there is an increase, the number of Indians, who apply for the EB5 visa, will decline depending on the level of investment demanded. In case it is set at $1.3 million, there will be a substantial fall.

China, Vietnam, and India are the major countries applying for an EB5 visa. 10,000 visas are issued every year in this category and the limit per country is 700. The number of Indian clients opting for it is likely to exceed 500 in 2017. There are two ways for the investor to apply for this visa. The first is through regional centers, which have licenses and are vested with the authority to implement projects and the second is seeking them outside the regional centers. In The regional centers, the jobs which are created under the scheme can be counted.

Experts in the field feel that Indian applicants should be diligent regarding the investments to be made in the US projects. The approval rate for applicants from India was 65 percent but the global approval rate was way more at 82 percent. Indian applicants are likely to enter the process of returning to the earlier state, and the waiting period for the Green Card would become long when the cap of 700 applicants is reached. The applicants must take advantage of the accelerated process approval when the opportunity is available. Applications requesting expedited process are approved when the national interest, emergency situations, and humanitarian need, are involved.

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