EB5 Visa for Indian Investors: Unlocking Pathways to U.S. Permanent Residency

What is an EB-5 Visa for Indian Citizens?

The EB-5 Visa is an immigrant investor visa that allows people from other countries to go to the US by investing at least $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or $1,050,000 in other areas in the United States.
The EB-5 visa was first launched in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment. An EB-5 investor can choose to make a direct investment or invest through regional centres designed by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

EB5 Visa Requirements for Indians

There are certain requirements an investor from India must fulfil to become eligible for an EB-5 visa aside from preparing the relevant documents that you would need to submit during your application.
Here are the EB-5 visa requirements investors must meet to obtain an EB-5 visa:
  • You must be able to prove the lawful source of your income and capital for the EB-5 investment.
  • You must invest at least $800,000 in a Targeted Employment Area or $1,050,000 in other areas.
  • You must invest in a qualifying new commercial enterprise.
  • You must maintain the investment for at least 2 years.
  • You must create at least 10 full-time jobs for qualified U.S. employees, excluding you and your family members.

Benefits of EB5 Visa for Indians

Like other immigrant visas, there are certain benefits you can experience when you apply for an EB-5 visa. We have highlighted some of them below:

  • Once your I526E or I526 application has been approved, you can apply for an immigrant visa to the United States.

  • Before your application is approved you may be able to use “concurrent filing” to lawfully live and work in the United States while your application nis pending

  • One of the benefits of an EB-5 visa is that spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 can accompany applicants in the US.

  • Investors and their families receive a conditional green card valid for 2 years. This status grants you the right to get a job or establish a business in the US, to travel visa-free to multiple countries, and to be protected by US laws.

  • After 2 years, the two year condition on your conditional green card can be removed. You can apply for the right to apply for US citizenship 5 years after obtaining your conditional green card. If you want to retain your Indian roots, you can also apply for an Overseas Citizen of India (“OCI”) status and enjoy dual citizenship.

  • Your children can have access to US education without restrictions, while your spouse can work anywhere.

Documents Indian Citizens Need

There are certain documents required for an EB-5 visa so you can qualify. During your application, here are some of the documents you can submit for your application:

  • Your valid passport and copy of the passport. If you are going to be accompanied by your family members, a copy of their passports will also be needed

  • Your marriage certificate, divorce certificates, and birth certificates of your children, if any

  • Proof that you have invested or are in the process of investing the minimum investment funds

  • Criminal record for the past 15 years (if relevant)

  • A copy of previous immigration applications

  • If you are using your business to source funds for EB5 then certain evidence is needed. This evidence incudes evidence of business ownership and a copy of all business licenses and relevant Business tax returns

  • Personal tax returns for the last 7 years

  • Relevant Bank statements

  • Evidence of other sources of capital

  • Financial statements

  • Evidence of the lawful source of the investment funds

  • A detailed business plan, if you are making a direct investment or evidence that you have invested in a designated Regional Center

  • If you invested in a Targeted Employment Area, Infrastructure Project or Rural Area, any evidence that the business was established in such an area

Please take note that this is not an exclusive list and the number of documents you may submit depends on your circumstances. You can seek the services of an EB-5 visa lawyer to ensure that you submit all the relevant and required documents.

Costs of EB-5 Visa

The EB-5 visa cost may differ depending on where you'll submit, but whether you'll invest in a Targeted Employment Area or not, here are the different costs of the program EB-5 investors may have to pay during their application:

  • US Government Fees

    • Form I-526 - $3,675

    • Form I-829 - $3,750

    • Form I485 fee (for applicants inside the US)

    • Immigrant Visa application (for applicants outside the US)- $345

  • Direct (non-Regional Center) Applicants Only:

    • Corporate Legal Fees – Varies by case

    • Business plan expenses – typically around $ 5,000

  • Regional Center Cases Only

    • Regional Center Admin Fee – Varies and is negotiable.

  • Legal fees

    • Immigration (EB5) Lawyer

    • Investment counsel or structured real estate lawyer

  • Independent Financiall Advisor

  • Translation fees

Process of EB-5 Visa

The demand for EB-5 visas increases each year, so being knowledgeable of its processes can benefit you during your application. Aside from preparing a minimum of $800,000 or $1,050,000 as your investment funds, there are different things you would need to do to jumpstart your application:

  • Hire and consult with a lawyer experienced with EB-5 applications who can help you during the process

  • Decide whether you will invest through an EB5 Regional Center or as a Direct Investor

  • Select your Direct EB5 Project or Shortlist Regional Centers, as applicable

  • Ensure that your funds transfer will be compliant with Reserve Bank of India rules, Exchange management Act (FEMA) and LRS

  • Document your Source of Funds

  • Establish your plan for the program and make the minimum investment

  • File a Form I-526 application with the USCIS

  • File a Form I-485 or DS-260

  • Acquire your 2-year Conditional Green Card

  • File a Form I-829 and remove the conditions on your status to acquire permanent residency.

EB-5 Visa Processing Time

Together with China India has become the world’s largest EB5 market. At the time of writing in early 2024 I526 approvals are starting to come as fast as 8 months in certain types of projects. Other types of projects can have processing times of 5-6 years, including the months of collecting the documents, filing the application, approval of petitions, and obtaining the conditional green card. Project choice is more important than ever.

Davies & Associates can help you avoid costly mistakes during your application through our experienced immigration lawyers. You can jumpstart your EB-5 journey today by requesting a free consultation.

EB5 Immigrant Investor Visa program

Where Our Indian Clients Come From

Davies & Associates has successfully represented not only Indian nationals but investors of multiple nationalities in India, Dubai, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, the UK, Australia, and Canada.

To date, we have successfully handled cases for clients from Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Calcutta, Mumbai, Pune, Gujarat, and Punjab with all of them receiving their investment back.

Direct vs. Regional Center EB5:

Every EB5 Investor can choose either to invest in a Regional Center or make a direct investment. From our experience, many Indian investors confuse the risks and control when choosing where to invest.

Please take note that since the Direct EB5 Program allows an investor to make a direct investment in their enterprise, this may tie your immigration goals to the commercial success of your business. This may be riskier than an investment in a Regional Center.

Direct EB5: Investing in your Business

A direct EB5 application allows you to invest in your own US business or enterprise. Only a few law firms have experience with handling direct investments due to approximately 90% of all EB5 investments being made through Regional Centers.

As compared to investments in a regional centre, direct investments follow strict job creation requirements and count only directly created jobs. You would also need to be directly involved and committed to the day-to-day operations of the enterprise.

Davies & Associates assists Indian investors in starting and investing in US private businesses. We have successfully assisted clients from every corner of India to open, expand, and acquire EB5-qualifying businesses of multiple and varied industries.

Click here to learn more about making a direct EB5 Investment.

Regional Center EB5: Investing through a Regional Center

An EB5 investment made through a Regional Center is a simple yet effective route to acquire a permanent residency in the US. It gives investors flexibility in meeting the requirements of the program, especially with the job creation requirement.

However, with over 1,000 Regional Center Registrations, there is only a small number of successful Regional Centers. We have clients who asked us to show them Regional Centers with the following qualifications, despite the small list:

  1. Repaid all the investors in multiple projects;

  2. Had thousands of I-526 approvals with no project-related denials;

  3. More than a decade of "trouble-free" history;

  4. I-829 approvals that extend across multiple projects with no project-related denials.

With over 600 Regional Center applications, it can be difficult to select a Regional Center that checks all the boxes for your financial goals. Click here for more information on selecting a Regional Center.

Funding your EB5 Investment:
The Reserve Bank of India ("RBI") and the Liberalized Remittance Scheme ("LRS")

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rules allow Indian nationals to remit funds abroad, but over time, these rules have become more complex. Under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS), the RBI has allowed Indian nationals to remit funds out of India up to a notified limit without needing prior permission from the RBI.

However, many investors don't know that there are additional restrictions that apply. With penalties reaching 300% of the transferred amount for failure to comply with the extra restrictions, you would need expert advice when making such transactions.

Recently, the RBI has diversified the amount of capital investment Indian nationals are allowed to remit abroad using the LRS. As it stands, the limit is $250,000 per person per tax year.

In addition, those not remitting funds in compliance with RBI regulations and FEMA are increasingly subjected to visa denials at the US consulate in Mumbai.

The RBI issued a circular in July 2015 that restricts the ability of Indian nationals to remit funds abroad for investments qualified for immigration. This was however changed in February 2016, but they still need to carefully structure their funds before they remit it abroad.

If you want to access the most recent published version of RBI regulations, you can access it through the link available on our website. While we are mainly a US immigration law firm, we qualified counsels who can assist you in transferring funds for EB5 or L1 investment purposes.

You can also click here for more information on moving funds abroad.

Preventing Unnecessary Taxes

Before you invest in the US, we encourage you to take the appropriate advice on tax planning. Otherwise, this can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax liabilities. An experienced advisor with familiarity with the terms of the dual taxation agreement between the US and India can help you.

Davies & Associates can help in making the transition from India to the US smooth for you and your family.

Obtaining Proper Advice

Since it involves an analysis of many laws and regulations, making an EB5 investment can be complex. As such, non-lawyers are not qualified to advise on EB5 investments, and any attempt to do so is considered a criminal offence in the US.

Many lawyers lack the required experience to properly advise clients concerning EB5 visas. This can unfortunately result in a disaster where investors lose all of their hard-earned money.

A qualified and experienced EB5 lawyer can properly guide you throughout your EB5 visa application and help you avoid the risks associated with the application. Davies & Associates has successfully helped all of our clients acquire an EB5 visa with all of their investments paid in full.

Processing Your Application

Your application must be filed in the US where a US-based law firm can address the questions and processes related to your application.

As it stands, all EB5 petitions are processed in Washington DC. Davies & Associates maintains an office in Washington DC where our experienced counsel can help you with your application.

You will be required to go to a consular interview at a US Consulate in India once your application has been approved. All consular interviews are either in Mumbai or Delhi. We have offices in both of these cities so we can help you with on-the-ground assistance related to your application.

With our offices based across the world, we can properly assist you concerning your application and increase your chances of getting approved.

EB5 Visa FAQs

Anyone who is over the age of 18 with no criminal record, with sufficient capital to invest, and with the ability to prove the lawful source of their income is eligible for an EB-5 visa.

Moreover, the spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of the investor are also eligible for a derivative EB-5 visa.

As it stands, there's currently an annual limit of 10, 000 EB5 visas with each country having a limit of 700 visas. Because of this, there is a limit of 700 visas issued for Indians each year.

The processing time of an EB5 visa can take from 8 months to 5 or 6 years from preparing the relevant documents for the application to the issuance of the conditional green card. Careful project selection and documenting your case to avoid unnecessary RFEs are both essential.

According to the requirements of the EB-5 program, the investment capital can be returned to the investor after 2 years. You have the option of selling your EB-5 business as soon as it is completed or having it refinanced by a project developer. Either way, you can get the money you invested back.

According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the average approval rate for the 3rd Quarter of 2023 is 71.7%, which is an increase from the 2nd Quarter. Meanwhile, 89% of Form I-829 petitions are approved, which is the form you file to remove conditions on your conditional green card.

Why make Davies & Associates Your EB5 Visa Lawyers

We were one of the first US law firms operating in India, exclusively supporting Indian clients with EB5 visa applications. Over the past decade we have helped hundreds of Indian families relocate to the USA under the EB5 program. We have regularly contributed to the Indian media on the subject. Our team, located in both India and the United States, can not only advise on the US immigration compliance, but also on relevant Indian laws such as the LPS regarding taking money out of India.


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