Have doubts about the EB-5 Visa scheme and don’t know whom to ask? We’ve got you covered. We asked the man in charge directly and he clarified all our doubts. Meet David Gunderson, the Chief Investment Officer at USFC Freedom Capital. Mr. Gunderson’s previous commercial real estate companies have been recognized as Dallas 100 Fastest Growing Companies (twice) and Fortune 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Companies. Over his 25-year career, Mr. Gunderson has managed investments of over $950 Million of real estate for clients such as the US Government and Fortune 500 companies.
Mr. Gunderson was trained as an architect, graduating from a US top-10 graduate architecture program at the University of Texas at Austin and maintained an active Texas architecture license until 2014. In addition, he is a licensed general contractor in Louisiana and California (currently inactive) and a LEED-certified green building professional.
How old is the EB-5 scheme?
The EB-5 Investor Visa Program has been in place since 1990. EB-5 is designed for HNI’s seeking US Permanent Residency through passive investment. It’s the only Green Card (Resident Visa) available without being sponsored by an employer or a family member.
Given its advantages over the traditional student visa, why is it not as popular yet?
As a matter of fact, the EB-5 is now greatly catching up in popularity among students and skilled migrants over the H1-B thanks to the new restrictions increasingly imposed on the latter.A large number of Indians are queuing up to invest in businesses in the US through the EB-5 Investor Visa which assures migration with a quicker eligibility for acquiring the Green Card. According to News18, the EB-5 visa is now seen as a fool proof way to gaining a green card for children of rich and middle-class individuals.
In the past four years or so, the number of high net worth individuals, corporate executives and businessmen opting for the EB-5 visas has nearly tripled, with over 350 applications in 2016.
A prominent expert and Managing Director of US Freedom Capital, David Gunderson, says though the 2017 figures are awaited, EB5 — also known as the “golden visa” — is gaining huge popularity due to “tightening of other visa categories, a more transparent EB-5 process and more Indian HNIs showing appetite for a global footprint”.
Is it an India-specific programme?
It’s applicable to any non-US investor. Currently, India ranks third after China and Vietnam in terms of investors under the EB-5 Visas, with China cornering a lion’s share of around 85 percent of all applicants.
If not, then what are its salient features for Indians?
Compared to H1-B, the EB-5 Visa is a direct path to legal permanent residency (LPR) commonly known as the Green Card. No other Visa categories available to Indians which lead them to a direct Green Card in less than 2 years.
As we know, H1-B Visa norms are getting tougher, Indians are 1 of the most affected communities. EB-5 is the most viable alternative.
– Most of the H-1B filings are for citizens of India
– Since 2007, India and China have remained first and second with respect to number of petitions
– Majority of petition beneficiaries in the H-1B program were between the age of 25 and 34 and made up 69% of the total number of applicants
– Computer science and engineering fields (STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) makes up for 68% of the total applicants.
“We intend to provide higher targeted returns than an Indian fixed deposit, which will allow the investors get Green Cards for self-and-family plus an attractive return on investment,” Gunderson said. He said Freedom Capital‘s proposal is virtually tailor-made for Indians who prefer smaller projects with low risks but high yields.
Is there an age limit to apply?
No. At present, under the EB-5, an Indian is required to invest for self, spouse, and any number of unmarried children. In fact there is no minimum education or income requirements, except to prove that the investment amount is legitimately earned from business, profession, inheritance, gift or even a loan against collateral,
Does it require a one-time investment? Please elaborate on the overall investment required from the applicant.
Yes, it’s a 1-time investment. The investment required is $5,00,000 plus legal/admin fees.
- There is a source of funds check done by the Lawyers on the $5,00,000 invested.
- After about 2 years, the investor receives his Green Card.
- After holding the Green Card for 2 years, there is 2nd filing to be made to US Immigration after which the investor becomes eligible for a permanent Green Card.
- After receiving the permanent Green Card, the investment of $5,00,000 is returned to the investor along with US Savings Bank interest.
How do you ensure a minimum annual income for the visa holder?
There is no minimum annual income provided to the investor. This is a path to Green Card for High Net Worth Individuals, who must have sufficient means to provide for their living expenses in US. After getting the EB-5, the applicant is free to live and work anywhere in the US — like any other US national — while the Green Card is processed, currently averaging at almost two years, depending on volumes. With a 100 percent approval rate to its credit, the US Freedom Capital also helps investors and their families with introductions and assistance for their relocation to the US, right from tax planning to getting a cable connection.
How many applications have come in for it yet? Is there a limit to the number of annual EB-5 visas that you will be approving?
There are 10,000 EB-5 visas issued per year, and in the last 5 years, the USCIS has received over 12,000 applications annually.
Given the current US government’s conservative immigration policy, how beneficial is the EB-5 in the long run?
US Government’s immigration policy is targeted to reduce illegal immigration and to protect American jobs. EB-5 investment is targeted at increasing economic opportunities to Americans, and is welcomed by both Democrats and Republicans. EB-5 has bipartisan support in the House and the Senate. Unlike H1-B and other visa categories which provided Temporary permit to reside in US, EB-5 leads an investor and their family to direct Legal Permanent Residency (LPR) status, which is at par with any American Permanent Resident.