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Look beyond traditional visas for US! This option may give you valid 2-year stay; check details

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By Ajay Sharma

A number of investors seem to be lining up to capitalize on business opportunities in the US through the EB-5 Investor program or as we say the million-dollar green card program. Under this particular conditional visa category, you along with your spouse and unmarried children (under 21 year of age) are eligible to apply for a US green card. Anyone successful under the EB-5 fifth preference visa category will be granted a conditional permanent residence status that is valid for two years.

Just to put it in simpler term, one can say that EB-5 is a paid green card visa category, where an investor is likely to create a minimum of 10 jobs by investing at least $500,000 through a regional center for 2 years (which is also your conditional PR validity). The overall expected cost along with the investment and processing fee may lead to a total of $575,000. The EB-5 green card has been available for over two decades now, but it is not open for all.

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Since the affirmatives are well known already, varied aspects strictly highlighting the adverse conditions that the program offers are listed below:

1) Green cards under the EB-5 green cards issued subject to strict conditions and they must be met within 24 months of issuance. After 21 months, the beneficiary must prove that required number of minimum 10 jobs have been created through are his investment. To qualify for the permanent green card, it must be proven to the immigration department that the investment is still holding and that the RC has created 10 jobs for the venture. If that cannot be proved convincingly, then the green card can be revoked. What makes the situation more uncertain is the fact that one if dependent on the regional center in which investment is done – to create these jobs and the beneficially has rarely direct control over day to day operations of such centers.

2) The investors are not directly involved in the activities of the venture, which is a no-go for any able-minded entrepreneur.

3) If a person is opting for EB-5 green card to US, he/she have to keep this thing in mind that he/she has to maintain a specific amount of turnover to maintain a business for consecutive 2 years initially to retain the status and the visa thereon.

4)Taxation aspects ought to be carefully looked at for those planning to take Green card. US agencies tax worldwide incomes. One needs to check with an international tax consultant of repute and with their accountants on long-term ramifications of having a US green card.

5) Immigration authorities are more suspicious towards applicants from countries that have exhibited an array of fraudulent activities.

6) Getting a green card is one thing, meeting the residency requirements is a different issue. Normally, if one is not able to stay — in USA — for at least 6 months in a year, he can face some tough questioning from US immigration when he applies for citizenship. Invest under EB-5 green card program only and only if you can make US your residence. Simply having a house and a phone connection or once or twice in a year visit to USA will not be enough to get the much-valued US passport.

Since EB-5 Visa is a much costlier visa everybody cannot afford it. One can take other investor visas also to start a business in the US which are as follows:

1) The EB-1A Extraordinarily Ability petition is a great alternative for China- and India- born entrepreneurs who are looking for relief from the quota backlogs that plague most other green card categories. Many permanent residence paths have significant backlogs for these applicants.

The EB-1A Extraordinary Ability category typically has no backlog. Not only is there not a backlog, but the EB-1A petition is eligible for premium processing service, meaning that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will issue a decision within 15 days from filing, allowing entrepreneurs to quickly know the results of their petition. Once a petition has been approved, the individual and dependent family members typically can immediately apply for permanent residence.

2) Indian Nationals can expand their existing business to the US using the L-1 visa route. If a person has owned a business that he or she has worked at for over a year, the person may be able to obtain an L-1 non immigrant visa by opening a branch in the US. After one year an L-1 visa holder may be able to apply for a green card as an international manager or executive through EB1-C programme.

Green card quota backlogs and risky investments don’t have to be a part of every entrepreneur’s road to permanent residence. The EB-1A Extraordinary Ability, EB-1C Multinational Manager/Executive categories provide alternative paths that resolve many of the issues surrounding the more traditional EB-5 investor immigration program.

Immigration through these alternative paths does not always require a large up-front investment, resolves the issue of backlogs and eliminates the burden of having to remove “conditions” on permanent residence years after the conditional green card is obtained.

The U.S. requires EB-5 investors to bet both a significant investment of capital and their and their family s residency status on whether their investment will result in a significant amount of verified job creation in a narrow window of time. This risk is enormous compared to any other program in the world.

It is critical for U.S. policymakers to keep these competitive realities in mind as they increase intentionally or unintentionally the cost, time and risk associated with each EB-5 investment.

Based on the above findings we see that the EB-5 is great option for you but the risks associated with it is far greater.

The author of the article is President of Abhinav Outsourcings Pvt. Ltd.The views are the author s own.