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Despite decline in numbers, EB-5 visa remains popular among Indians

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The US EB-5 program, which offers a path to American Green Cards for foreign investors, remains popular among Indians. India, along with China, Vietnam, Taiwan, and South Korea, makes up almost 92 per cent of all EB-5 visas issued this fiscal year up to May.

However, data from the Department of State shows that only 512 EB-5 visas were issued to Indian applicants in FY24 so far, marking a 22 per cent decline compared to the previous period. This is despite an overall increase in EB-5 visa issuances.

The EB-5 program, managed by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), requires investors to put money into a US commercial enterprise and create or preserve 10 full-time jobs for US workers.

From October 1, 2023, to May 31, 2024, 7,173 EB-5 visas were issued through consular processing, a 42 per cent increase from the same period in FY2023. Yet, the number of visas issued to Indians declined by 22 per cent.

In December 2023, visa processing picked up at the US Consulate in Mumbai. Despite processing 50-60 visas monthly, only 4 EB-5 visas were issued in May. For FY2024, 392 EB-5 visas were issued to Indians through Mumbai, indicating that 120 Indian applicants received their visas outside India.

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While 512 EB-5 visas were issued to Indian applicants from October 2023 to May 2024, this only accounts for consular processing. Many Indian investors secure their green cards through adjustment of status (AOS), not reflected in these numbers. Thus, the decline in consular processing does not mean a drop in overall EB-5 visas for Indians.

May 2024 saw the second-highest monthly visa issuance rate in FY2024, with 1,222 EB-5 visas issued via consular processing. Out of the 7,173 EB-5 visas issued in the first eight months of FY24, over 1,990 were through AOS, under the Unreserved category.

The EB-5 program remains a key route to American Green Cards for Indian investors, despite a decline in consular processed visas. The overall increase in EB-5 visa issuance shows the program’s popularity, though Indian investors face unique challenges that need attention.

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