August 24, 2022

Grenada, also known as the Island of Spice, is a true Caribbean paradise. The island country is quite famous for the calming vibes it offers. What if you come to know that it can be your second home?

It is possible to get the coveted passport of Grenada. The government of Grenada offers a fantastic opportunity to those interested in getting settled in Grenada. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the process of how to get citizenship by investment in Grenada. So, let’s get started!

Grenada citizenship by investment requirement

If you choose the path to citizenship by investment, you don’t have to be in the country, take any kind of exams or know the language to apply for citizenship. The Grenada citizenship by investment program is a government initiative designed to attract foreign investors and their families to the country. The program offers two investment options:

  1. The applicant has to invest a minimum of $220,000 in government-approved real estate projects in the country. Additional costs like due diligence, submission, and processing fee are the ones the applicant must bear. The locking period for the property purchased is five years after which it can be sold by the applicant.
  2. The applicant must make a non-refundable contribution of $150,000 to the National Transformation Fund (NTF). The investment depends upon a confluence of factors like the number of dependents on the applicant and the dependents’ age. Additional costs like due diligence, filing fee, and review fee are the ones the applicant must bear.

Who is eligible for the program?

To be eligible, you must be a foreign national having attained an age of 18 years, and you must invest as mentioned above. You must also have a clean criminal record and be able to provide proof of your net worth to show that you have the financial resources to support yourself and your family.

If you meet all the requirements, then you’re in luck! The process of applying for citizenship is relatively straightforward, and acquiring Grenada citizenship for Indian is easy. The processing time is approximately six months. It might be a little more than that.

Benefits of Grenada citizenship

Well, for starters, you will have access to all the benefits of being a Grenadian citizen. The finest one is that you become eligible to apply for an E2 visa (issued for up to five years) in the United States of America. That means the investor and his family have the right to do work or business or study there. Your Grenadian passport can even get you a B1/B2 visa for up to 10 years.

You can travel visa-free to over 146 countries, including the UK and the Schengen area. Even China allows citizens of Grenada to stay up to 30 days per year without a visa.

Another huge perk is that any kind of capital gains, wealth and inheritance, and revenue earned outside Grenada by you is not taxable. And you will be able to pass on your citizenship to your children and grandchildren.

Conclusion

The citizenship of Grenada offers a relaxed lifestyle and financial freedom, which can be a boon to investors having funds, to enjoy a better life and their hard-earned money.

July 25, 2022

Understanding Investing in EB-5  and different financial structures?

The pathway to USA Green Card by investment, also popularly known as the EB-5 investment visa program, is considered the easiest and safest way to obtain a Green Card. The law behind the EB-5 investor program is very simple but the creative financial structures set up by investors and related professionals make investing in EB-5 look like a very complex process.

The simple EB-5 law

  1. An EB-5 investor may make an investment of US$ 800,000 in a new commercial enterprise / new business which will create 10 new jobs provided the business is located in a rural area or high unemployment area or the project is an infrastructure project. In all other cases, the investment amount shall be US$ 1,050,000.
  2. The investment should be a business risk.
  3. The investment amount should come from a legitimate source, including earned money or a loan, or a gift.

This simple EB-5 regulation has been converted into complex financial structures, making the investment process seem very complicated for investors.

Here are the direct and indirect EB-5 investment scenarios:

Direct Investment

An investor can start on his own or partner with someone in the USA for a new business located anywhere in the USA, make an investment of US$ 1,050,000 and create 10 jobs. The investor will then qualify for a visa under the EB5 program. If this business is located in a rural area or high unemployment area, the investment amount will be US$ 800,000.

Investors who are capable of operating and managing a business may opt for this type of direct investment.

Indirect investment

In this case, several geographical areas in the USA may be combined and approval from USCIS is obtained to declare the area as a Regional Centre.

It is under this type of indirect investment, various financial structures are offered to investors for making an investment.

Here are some simple examples:

EB-5 Equity investments

A developer in the USA approaches USCIS to receive permission to declare a certain geographical area of the USA as a regional center. The developer then starts his project in this area and uses the EB-5 program to raise funds. The project will also be financed by a bank loan and the developer’s equity in the regional center as well.

In this type of project, the developer invites investors to make an investment as equity or as preferred equity partners.

Very few developers in the USA use this model. In such cases, there is one project and one developer.

EB-5 Debt model 

A company raising funds for a business or project in the USA may approach USCIS to receive permission to declare a certain geographical area of the USA as a regional center.

Once the area is declared a regional center, the company may approach developers or businesses to set up a project there.

Rather than making a direct investment in the project company, in this case, a second company is created in which EB-5 investors make an investment as equity partners. This company then gives a loan to the project company to carry forward the project. Hence this is known as the Debt model.

This is the most popular model for EB-5 investment.

It is interesting to note that US companies assisting to raise funds for US developers or businesses also undertake marketing for EB-5 projects outside of the USA to attract EB-5 investors.

In this case, too there is one project and one developer but there is also an intermediary company, such as a fundraising company and/or EB-5 marketing company.

EB-5 Fund / Mutual Fund model

A company raising funds for a business or project in the USA may approach USCIS to receive permission to declare a certain geographical area of the USA as a regional center or the company may rent a regional center from another company who has already received approval from USCIS for a regional center.

Once the area is declared a regional center, the company may approach several developers or businesses to set up a project there.

The EB-5 fund may be created for just one project or business or several projects or businesses in a regional center.

Using EB-5 funds for several projects reduces the risk by diversifying the portfolio as in the case of regular mutual funds in financial markets.

This model is used by very few companies in the USA.

To protect EB-5 investors, the US government has introduced the new EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act. Thanks to this new regulation, we may see a major shift in the EB-5 marketplace. Many companies marketing EB-5 projects or raising funds or renting regional centers may face financial viability issues due to a long list of compliance requirements.

Depending on your personal aptitude, investors may decide to invest in EB-5 to receive a USA green card.

Legal disclaimer:

This blog is written in a very simplified manner for the purpose of making investors understand the various models related to EB-5 investment. Investors are advised to consult a qualified US immigration lawyer before making any decision regarding an EB-5 investment.

For Indian investors – Investing in an EB-5 visa from India is a legal matter and as per Indian law, only Indian lawyers having expertise in the EB-5 program must be consulted. 

June 17, 2021

The Golden Visa Program of UAE is the latest program to join the Residency by Investment bandwagon. Launched in May 2021, it is welcome news for many wealthy expatriates living in the UAE and outside of it. These expatriates, with plans to secure permanent residency in the United Arab Emirates, have been eagerly waiting for such a program to be introduced by the UAE government.

This program will offer a lot of flexibility, freedom, and security to investors, especially those living in the UAE, who previously had to adhere to very stringent do’s and don’ts when it came to doing business in the UAE.

The Golden Visa Program essentially grants people who fall into the following categories long-term residency (5 to 10 years): Investors, Entrepreneurs, Individuals with exceptional talents such as researchers, Medical Professionals, and those in the scientific and knowledge fields, and exceptional students.

The greatest advantage would most likely be security; by issuing the Golden Visa, the UAE government has demonstrated its commitment to offering expatriates, investors, and virtually anyone wishing to make the UAE their home with an additional reason to feel comfortable about their future.

Eligibility for a 10-year visa:

The following categories are entitled to apply for a 10-year residence visa in the UAE.

1. Investors in public investments of at least AED 10 million

The investment may take many forms such as:

  • A deposit of at least AED 10 million in an investment fund inside the country
  • Establishing a company in the UAE with a capital of not less than AED 10 million
  • Partnering in an existing or a new company with a share value of not less than AED10 million
  • Having a total investment of not less than AED 10 million in all areas mentioned, on condition that the investment in sectors other than real estate is not less than 60 percent of the total investment.
Conditions:

Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

  • The amount invested must not be loaned.
  • The investment should be retained for at least three years.
  • There should be financial solvency up to AED 10 million.

Visa can be extended to include business partners, on the condition that each partner contributes AED 10 million.

The long-term visa can include the spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor.

Investors from abroad may apply for a multiple-entry permit for a six-month period.

2. Persons with specialized talents

This includes specialized talents and researchers in the fields of science and knowledge such as doctors, specialists, scientists, inventors, as well as creative individuals in the field of culture and art. The visa advantage extends to the spouse and children. All categories are required to have a valid employment contract in a specialized field of priority in the UAE.

Conditions:

Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

  • Scientists must be accredited by Emirates Scientists Council or holders of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence.
  • Creative individuals in culture and art must be accredited by the Ministry of Culture and Youth.
  • Inventors must obtain a patent of value, which adds to the UAE’s economy. Patents must be approved by Ministry of Economy.
  • Exceptional talents must be documented by patents or scientific research published in a world-class journal.
  • Executives must be owners of a leading and internationally recognized company or holders of high academic achievement and position.
  • Doctors and specialists must meet at least two of the following conditions:
  • A Ph. D. degree from one of the top 500 universities in the world (refer to the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship website for information)
  • An award or certificates of appreciation in the field of the applicant’s work
  • Contribution to major scientific research in the respective field of work
  • Published articles or scientific books in distinguished publications in the respective field of work
  • Membership in an organization related to the field
  • A Ph.D. degree, in addition to 10-year professional experience in his/her field
  • Specialization in areas of priority to the UAE

Eligibility for a 5-year visa

The following categories are entitled to apply for a 5-year residence visa in the UAE

1. Investors in a property in the UAE

Conditions:

Granting a visa is subject to the following conditions:

  • The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than AED 5 million.
  • The amount invested in real estate must not be on a loan basis.
  • The property must be retained for at least three years.

2. Entrepreneurs

This category includes those having an existing project with a minimum capital of AED 500,000, or those who have the approval of an accredited business incubator in the country.

The entrepreneur is allowed a multi-entry visa for six months, renewable for another six months. The long-term visa includes the spouse and children, a partner, and three executives.

3. Outstanding Students

This includes:

  • Outstanding students with a minimum grade of 95 percent in public and private secondary schools
  • University students within and outside the country having a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation.

The long-term visa includes families of outstanding students.

Program benefits

  • Foreign nationals can live, work, conduct business, and study in the UAE without the need for a national sponsor under the Golden Visa Program
  • Foreign entrepreneurs and investors are also permitted to own 100% of their businesses in the UAE
  • These visas will be issued for a time period of 5 or 10 years and will be renewed automatically
  • Investors can enjoy a very high quality of life in UAE
  • Due to its strategic location in the Middle East, UAE is extremely well connected to all major cities and business hubs in Asia, Europe and North America, making it very easy for investors to travel and conduct or expand their business

This article is contributed by Ms. Dishita Sheth, Intern at Ajmera Law Group

June 1, 2021

By removing the Trump administration proposal that aimed to kill the initiative, the Biden administration wants to resurrect an immigration program that allows foreign entrepreneurs to operate in the United States.

The International Entrepreneur law, which was then proposed by President Barack Obama’s administration three days before he left office in 2017, enables foreign entrepreneurs to work in the United States for up to five years if their start-ups can raise at least $250,000 from the venture capital in the United States, recruit ten employees, or meet other criteria.

As part of its attempts to revive the program, the Biden administration intends to market it. These actions are in response to demands from venture capital firms, which want the administration to support a program that would encourage thousands of foreign start-up founders to relocate to or stay in the United States to expand their ventures.

The Biden Administration is unlocking an enormous job growth opportunity by incorporating the International Entrepreneur Rule, which will help the United States remain the global leader in innovation,” said Bobby Franklin, the group’s president and chief executive.

“Immigrants in the United States have a long history of entrepreneurship, hard work, and creativity, and their contributions to this nation are incredibly valuable,” said Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Tracy Renaud.

Currently, there is no visa available for start-up founders in the United States, despite the widespread bipartisan support for the concept. Other visa types must be used for foreign entrepreneurs, but none are ideal.

Between 2017 and 2019, USCIS received only 30 applications for the program, with only one being accepted, according to a USCIS official.

According to USCIS, if the program is properly implemented, about 3,000 international entrepreneurs would qualify per year, resulting in the creation of about 100,000 jobs over a ten-year period.

This article is contributed by Ms. Dishita Sheth, Intern at Ajmera Law Group 

February 10, 2019

 


How to select your EB-5  project and make a safe investment in the EB-5 project?

Regional Centers, Broker dealer, Agent, and mortgage broker who is showing you EB-5 project, you should ask the following questions.

  • What year was the Regional Center first approved by USCIS?
  • How many EB5 projects has the Regional Center completed?
  • How many I-526 and I-829 approvals obtained by the investors in the Regional Center.
  • May I have a copy of the PPM _ Private Placement Memorandum) so I can review the credit agreements for the senior bank loan and the other loans?
  • Is it true that the EB-5 loan is the last loan to be repaid because the Senior Bank Loan will be paid first?
  • Does the EB-5 loan have a security interest in real estate or in the assets of the developer or Regional Center?
  • May I have a copy of the EB-5 insurance policy?  Does the policy cover the 3 primary reasons for application denial: fraudulent statements, criminal background and source of funds issues?
  • If the project doesn’t sell as quickly as expected, could the EB-5 loan be extended beyond 5 years?
  • If the project sells for 15% less than expected, could I lose all or a portion of my investment?
  •  Where is the money coming from to pay the interest on the bank loan?
  • Does the Fund provide the letter from the senior bank loan and the private loan as well as the Targeted Economic Area?

Find out these answers and consult our law firm to compare answers with Regional centers we work with and answer provided by them to these questions.

Email: prashant@ajmeralaw.com

July 28, 2018

Cyprus real estate market is ready for Indian investors and developers alike.

Cyprus is small island country in the Mediterranean region south of Turkey.  The island’s natural beauty and its dynamic real estate market has attracted the attention and investment of HNIs and businessmen all over the world. The most attractive facet of investing in Cypriot real estate is that it can get you and your family residency or citizenship of this country. Hence you can become a resident of the EU by purchasing real estate in Cyprus thus gaining automatic access to the huge European market.

It is true that the Cypriot economy was heavily affected during the economic crisis of 2013 that brought many European economies to the brink of collapse. But interestingly, Cyprus was one of the few countries that was able to turn the tide around rather quickly. Now the Cypriot economy is thriving under its able administration.

The real estate market of any country directly reflects the overall performance of its economy. After the 2013 crisis, the government of Cyprus introduced the Residency & Citizenship program fornon-EU citizens. Under this program, investors making an investment of €350,000 in real estate are granted Cypriot residency and those making an investment of €2 million to €2.5 million in other various combined assets, including residential real estate of €500,000, are granted Cypriot citizenship.

The Cypriot Residency & Citizenship program is one of the most attractive and value-for-money programs in the world. It has garnered interest not only from investors but also reputed developers who have entered into joint ventures with local developers.

This has increased the confidence level of the local real estate market and consequently the economy. The GDP growth in 2017 was 3.4 % and International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts further GDP growth of 2.6% in 2018.

Due to strong market indication and high demand for real estate across Cyprus, there was a substantial increase in real estate transactions and new construction permits in 2017.

Interest from foreign buyers for high end properties (€1.5 million and above) has increased by 45% in 2017.

Growth in all property price indices was recorded during 2017, reflecting the increased demand and activity levels in the real estate sector.

Following are the highlights of the real estate market in Cyprus during the year 2017:

  1. There was 49% increase in the value of new building permits. The capital city of Cyprus accounts for 35% of the total permits or market share.
  2. There was 24% increase in sale contracts across Cyprus. Though the capital is Nicosia, Limassol is the country’s financial capital and it recorded 35% of the total transactions. At the same time, Famagusta recorded the highest annual growthof 44%in number of sale contracts during 2017. Nicosia recorded a growth of 42%.
  3. There was an increase of 33% in sale transactions by foreign buyers. Paphos and Limassol are the most popular destinations among foreign buyers. However, during my recent visit to Cyprus, I observed that the Ayia Napa area is not very popular among investors and is an attraction only for tourists. This area has great potential for foreign investors.
  4. There was a rise of 45% in the purchase of high end real estate as these purchases are directly connected with Cyprus passport/ Europe citizenship program.

Experts believe that the Cypriot real estate market will be doing really well in the coming years.

As attorneys, we assist Indian HNIs and developers to make suitable investmentsin Cyprus and manage all legal aspects associated with the process.

E-mail us at: info@ajmeralaw.com for more information visit www.ajmeralaw.com

July 10, 2018

 

Doing business or Investing in USA: Nine different options for Indian businessman

This is a very simple way to explain, how one can make an investment in the USA or do business in and with the USA.

  1. Simple export of goods and services to USA consumer or business.
  2. Making an investment into an existing business, land building, or farming land and become partner/investment. You do not any visa of the USA and you don’t get any visa by just making a simple investment.
  3. Purchase of Real estate in the USA – any type of visa not possible but can take benefit of rental income and capital gain.
  4. Register a company in the USA, open an office in the USA, a bank account in the USA in person, hire local people to run the business. No Person is transferred from India to the USA.
  5. Register a new company in the USA, open a subsidiary office in the USA, a bank account in the USA, hire local people to run the business with a definite business plan and KEY PERSON(S) IS TRANSFERRED from India to the USA. This is an L1 visa. A person is a senior executive and Technical Person to be transferred from the USA. The American company will be a  subsidiary of the Indian company.
  6. Indian company taking over 51% of the USA company and by join venture, Indian CEO or Key technical person transferred to the USA under EB-1-C Visa class.
  7. Starting a NEW business in the USA, hire 10 people and make an investment of 1 million US$ and investor, his spouse and children under 21 can get a green card of USA. – This is an EB-5 direct investment.
  8. Starting a NEW business in the USA, hire 10 people and make an investment of 1/2 million US$ and investor, his spouse and children under 21 can get a green card of USA. This business must be in an area where there is high unemployment or a population is less than 20,000. This is EB-5 under the Regional center class.
  9. You make an investment in Real Estate and become a citizen of another country like Grenada, Turkey, Canada and then apply for an E2 business visa of the USA to do business in the USA.

 

March 5, 2018

Very recently there were news articles online and in print media stating that Mr. Nirav Modi, a renowned diamond jewelry designer accused of defrauding state-owned Punjab National Bank of $1.8 billion, has obtained citizenship of a Caribbean country, namely, St. Kitts & Nevis.

How true are these reports?

For starters, let us understand some basics. There are five Caribbean countries which offer residency and citizenship of their countries (and a 2nd passport) to High Net Worth individuals who voluntarily make an investment in luxury real estate or donate a designated amount to the national development fund. This amount generally ranges from $200,000 to $400,000 US.

These five Caribbean countries are – Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis.

The primary reason why HNIs are willing to part with their fortune to obtain a passport of the aforementioned countries is because these passports grant them the liberty to travel to more than 130 countries around the globe without the hassle of obtaining a visa. This is due to the fact that many western countries have diplomatic treaties with these island nations that allow their citizens to travel visa-free.

However, just investing the required amount of money does not guarantee citizenship of these countries. Before residency and citizenship is granted or a passport is issued to the investor, a thorough and detailed background and security check is conducted by the government department in-charge of approving R&C applications. If the applicant has any criminal record or has been involved in dubious transactions or dealings in his/her home country, the application is instantly rejected.

A few days back I was speaking at two conferences on the subject of Residency & Citizenship by Investment, one in Dubai and another one in Mumbai. During this time I had the opportunity to meet some senior government officials of these island countries, including St. Kitts and Nevis.

These officials confirmed to me that Mr. Nirav Modi has not applied to their respective countries for citizenship nor has he been issued a passport of these countries. In fact, the government of St. Kitts and Nevis has issued an official press note denying the sensational claims made by the Indian media who has repeatedly quoted ‘a reliable source from the diamond industry’ as their informant.

It must be understood that is very important for these island nations to maintain the integrity and transparency of their citizenship programs as it brings valuable investment for their nations’ development.

Any country which opens its doors to potential investors and immigrants has a strict background check policy in effect ensuring that they do not harbor or give refuge to fraudsters, defaulters, terrorists and criminals from other countries. After all it is imperative that the reputation, integrity and economic future of their countries is protected.

January 5, 2018

 

Further liberalization of remittance of investment from India to foreign countries for Immigration purposes; including USA EB-5 investor visa:

Over a period of time, the Foreign Exchange Reserve in India has increased India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserve to $377.751 billion US, the gold reserve to $20.691 billion, SDRs (Special Drawing Rights with the IMF) to $ 1.512 billion and IMF reserves to $2.291 billion totaling US$ 402.246 billion as of September 22, 2017, as per Forex.

As per one survey, the government of India is aims to have a foreign reserve of $ 750 Billion dollars.

In view of the continued rise of the foreign reserve , RBI ( Central Bank of India) has further liberalized the remittance of foreign currency from India to abroad.

Following are the latest proposals included under the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS). 
Individual Indian citizens can avail of foreign exchange facilities for the following purposes, granted that they remain within the LRS limit of USD $250,000 on a financial year basis.

  1. Private visits to any country (except Nepal and Bhutan)
  2. Gift or donation
  3. Going abroad for employment
  4. Emigration
  5. Maintenance of close relatives abroad
  6. Travel for business, or attending a conference or specialized training
  7. Meeting medical expenses, or check-ups abroad, or for accompanying as attendant to a patient going abroad for medical treatment/ check-up
  8. Studies abroad
  9. Any other current account transaction is not covered under the definition of the current account in FEMA 1999.

This limit is US$ 250,000 per year per person, therefore a family of 4 can remit a million dollars in each financial year which is from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.
It is important to note that the Government of India has allowed the remittance of the fund for Immigration purposes, which opens the gate in India for all types of Residency and Citizenship programs around the world.

This will also allow the Indian citizen to make an investment in foreign business, real estate or unlisted securities and at the same time obtain residency and citizenship by investment.

December 5, 2017

USA green card by investment – EB-5 Visa:

Investment can be made as Debt or Equity or Fund

The EB-5 Visa provides the most flexible path to a Green card and is based on investment in the US. The EB-5 Visa does not require the applicant to manage the day-to-day affairs of a business. One may invest in an existing business or a new business. More than one person may invest in the same business. The EB-5 investor may be a minority owner of the business.

One may qualify for an EB-5 Visa by:

  1. Investing One million dollars and hiring ten employees anywhere in the USA.
  2. Investing $500,000 US and hiring ten employees in an area where the unemployment rate exceeds the national average unemployment rate by 150%.
  3. Investing in a regional center.

The INS has designated specific areas, called Regional Centres, as eligible to receive immigrant investor capital. The INS has approved over 520 Regional Centres. Regional Centre investors may rely on indirect job creation rather than directly hiring ten employees. A competent professional, such as an economist, must quantify the indirect employment. If the regional center is in a high unemployment area, the required capital is reduced to $500,000 US. Presently there are projects underway in many regional centers whereby making an investment of $500,000 in a limited partnership can qualify an individual for applying for a Green card through the EB-5 Visa program.

Out of the 10,000 Investor visas (EB-5 Visas) available annually, 5,000 have been set aside for those who apply under a pilot program involving an INS-designated “Regional Centre” To date, this quota has not been exceeded.

EB-5 investors include people from all walks of life – professionals, business people, persons wanting to facilitate a child’s education, and retirees. Because the EB-5 Visa permits employment in the US, many EB-5 investors become involved in charity or part-time work. Simply put, the EB-5 visa gives you the flexibility to do what you want in the USA.

Our firm has identified several regional centers that offer investment as Debt which is a loan to a business, Equity in which investor is a partner in the business, or Fund investment in which fund is created to loan several businesses and risk is minimized.

Make an investment in the EB-5 project with confidence.

Do not do an analysis of the EB-5 project but find the right immigration lawyer in India and the USA who can assist you to navigate the whole process of EB-5.