January 12, 2024

**Navigating the New USA EB-5 Landscape: Understanding Regional Center Ownership Models**

The recent changes to the EB-5 program have brought about significant protections for investors, but caution is still advised. Understanding the ownership models of Regional Centers (RC) is crucial, as it plays a pivotal role in the success and compliance of EB-5 projects.

**1. Developer-Owned RCs:**

– Leading developers or business owners establish their RCs to raise funds for their projects. This model provides direct control but demands a deep understanding of the EB-5 process and compliance requirements.

**2. Financial Intermediaries:**

– Finance companies, commercial mortgage brokers, or broker-dealers may seek RC approval to raise funds for small to medium-sized businesses or developers. They can either establish their RC or rent an existing one.

**3. EB-5 Marketing Companies:**

– Marketing companies secure approval for multiple RCs and lease or license them to developers seeking funding. They also offer fund-raising services for smaller entities. However, this model, especially under the new regulations, presents unique challenges.

Under the revised EB-5 rules, USCIS has taken over the approval process for RCs, eliminating the involvement of state governments. The shift aims to bolster the integrity of the program. The three ownership models, particularly the third, now face heightened compliance requirements from both USCIS and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

While the first two models may navigate these changes more easily, the third model—leasing or licensing RCs—poses significant risks. Compliance requirements under the new rules demand a meticulous understanding of the EB-5 process, making it challenging for companies solely relying on RC licenses to meet these standards.

Our law office has encountered cases highlighting the unprofessional practices within this model. Educated and sophisticated investors find themselves at a loss, uncertain about their investments due to inadequate guidance from lawyers, developers, and RCs.

Industry experts share our concern, emphasizing that maintaining an RC solely for licensing may not be economically viable unless managing large or multiple projects within one RC. Recent USCIS data supports this observation, with a minimal number of RC renewals and a sparse project count.

In essence, the evolving EB-5 landscape urges investors, developers, and regional centers to exercise due diligence. Understanding the intricacies of the new regulations is vital for successful and compliant participation in the EB-5 program.

*Disclaimer: This information is not legal advice, and individuals are encouraged to seek professional counsel for their specific circumstances.*

To explore your settlement options in the USA, schedule a consultation with Indian immigration lawyer Prashant Ajmera, the founder of Ajmera Law Group. Contact us at +919974253030 or email us at info@ajmeralaw.com. Discover the pathways to your American dream with expert legal guidance.

November 26, 2023

“Navigating the Path to Foreign Education: Five Common Mistakes Indian Parents Make”


Embarking on the journey of sending a child to study abroad is a dream for many Indian parents. However, certain pitfalls often hinder the process, leading to missed opportunities and financial strain. In this blog post, we’ll shed light on five common mistakes made by Indian parents in their pursuit of providing an international education for their children.

 1. Waiting Until Grade 12 or After Bachelor’s Degree:

One prevalent mistake is delaying the planning process until the child reaches Grade 12 or completes their bachelor’s degree. By then, crucial decisions about courses, universities, and application processes may be rushed, limiting the options available.

2. Lack of Financial Planning:

Financial considerations are paramount when sending a child abroad for education. Unfortunately, many Indian parents overlook the importance of early financial planning, including estimating the future need for foreign currency and accounting for the escalating costs of education in foreign countries.

3. Neglecting Research on Educational Institutes and Job Prospects:

A critical oversight is not thoroughly researching the quality of educational institutions, potential job prospects, and the likelihood of immigration for the child upon completing their studies. Understanding these factors is crucial for making informed decisions about the child’s academic and professional future.

4. Relying Solely on Foreign Education Loans:

While foreign education loans may seem like a convenient solution, solely relying on them can pose a significant risk to personal finances. Indian parents sometimes take loans without fully assessing the long-term implications, potentially jeopardizing their financial stability.

5. Avoiding Professional Assistance:

Many Indian parents, for various reasons, refrain from seeking professional help to navigate the complexities of planning their child’s foreign education. Engaging experts who specialize in this field can provide invaluable guidance on choosing the right course, university, and financial strategy, ultimately saving both time and resources.


Embarking on the journey of sending a child to study abroad is a significant decision that requires careful planning and consideration. By avoiding these common mistakes, Indian parents can ensure a smoother process, laying a solid foundation for their child’s successful academic and professional journey overseas. At Ajmera Law, we understand the nuances of international education planning and are here to assist you every step of the way.

The author of this Blog is Mr. Prashant Ajmera, an Indian immigration lawyer and Canadian citizen. He is the founder of Ajmera Law Group and the author of two books, “Millionaires On The Book” and “How to Plan for Your Child’s Foreign Education.” Over the past 30 years, he has assisted and advised over 30,000 students and families on planning their foreign education and settlement. He regularly speaks at various forums on this subject.

Ajmera Law Group: Mo: +91 9974253030 | info@ajmeralaw.com | www.ajmeralaw.com



October 25, 2023

US Government’s 2023-24 Policy – No Acceptance of USA Green Card Applications from Indian Students in EB-2 and EB-3 Categories as USCIS has enough applications in this class to process for the years 2023-24. 

How do we get here?

Read further rest of the Blog to find your options.

The USA is a top destination for Indian students pursuing higher education and settlement.

In 2023, Indian students seeking higher education and settlement in the USA should explore all options available to them and not just straight fly to the USA to study as soon as their study is finished in India.

To study, work and settle in the USA, Indian students and family must understand the process and timeline for obtaining a green card.

Step 1: If you plan to study in the USA after completing 12th grade for a bachelor’s degree or after completing a bachelor’s degree in India for a master’s degree in the USA, you must first take an English language or other exams, such as TOEFL or IELTS, and either the SAT or GRE/GMAT. Then, you can apply to various educational institutions and receive your I-20 admission letter. Based on this letter, you can apply for an F1 visa, also known as a student visa.

Step 2: With an F1 visa, you can study in the USA and may also work part-time. After completing your studies, you can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT), which allows you to work in the USA. At this point, most students and parents feel the child is settled in America but in fact, this will be the start of real wait-and-watch time.

Step 3: Once your OPT work permit expires, you need to find a company in the USA to offer you a job for H1B visa sponsorship. If selected, you may work in the USA for the same company for six years, and in some cases, seven years.

Step 4: After obtaining an H1B visa, you can ask the same company or look for a new company to sponsor you so you can apply for USA green card. All students from all over the world apply under Employment-Based (EB) five categories, as shown in the table published by USCIS in December 2022.

For the past 30 years, the worldwide annual quota for green card visas in the employment-based category has been 140,000. However, as the number of international students increases, this quota is quickly being filled. Of the total quota, 40,000 green cards are allocated to the first three categories of EB, and 10,000 each to the EB4 and EB5 categories.

The majority of Indian and international students apply for the EB2 and EB3 categories, which currently have 351,436 and 112,859 approved green card petitions pending as of December 2022. Due to this backlog, the waiting period for the EB2, EB3, and EB4 categories is estimated to be 11 to 12 years. USCIS is currently processing green card petitions made in 2011 and 2012.

To check the latest priority date for April 2023, please refer to the updated information from USCIS click here

The following is an April 2023 priority dates:


All Chargeability
Areas Except
Those Listed
Other Workers01FEB2001NOV1501AUG1201FEB2001FEB20
Certain Religious Workers01OCT1801OCT1801OCT1801OCT1801OCT18
5th Unreserved
(including C5, T5, I5, R5)
5th Set Aside:
(Rural – 20%)
5th Set Aside:
(High Unemployment – 10%)
5th Set Aside:
(Infrastructure – 2%)


Stage 5: If you are fortunate enough to have received an H1 visa and green card sponsorship under the EB2 or EB3 categories, it will still take 20 years before your child can obtain a green card for the USA, and an additional five years after that to become a citizen. With the increasing number of international students applying under these categories, it is possible that the waiting period could extend to 30 years or even longer.

What are the options for Indian students?

Option-1: If you have conducted research during your education and work in the USA and can demonstrate that you possess the exceptional ability or are an outstanding professor or researcher, you may apply for the EB1 (a) & (b) categories. Indian students applying under these categories do not have to face any waiting period.

Option 2 and 3: If you come from an Indian family, you can return to India and work for your family business for a few years, striving to become a senior manager or technical expert. This may open doors for an L1 visa in the USA. Alternatively, if your family’s company in India can take over an existing business in the USA, you may apply under the EB1(c) category for a direct green card for the USA, along with your spouse and children under the age of 21.

Option 4: If you and/or your family are prepared to invest in a NEW business in the USA under the EB-5 visa program, with an investment of US$800,000 or $1,050,000 and the creation of 10 jobs for Americans, you may apply for a green card under the EB-5 category. If you are in the USA on a legal status, you can apply for adjustment of status at the same time as the EB-5 petition.

Option 5: Many Indian and international students have applied for the Canadian Express Entry program to obtain Canadian immigration. The Canadian government is eager to welcome these immigrants with American degrees and experience as new immigrants.

The final verdict is to plan and take legal advice if necessary but not rush

The author of this article is Mr. Prashant Ajmera, an Indian immigration lawyer and Canadian citizen. He is the founder of Ajmera Law Group and the author of two books, “Millionaires On The Book” and “How to Plan for Your Child’s Foreign Education.” Over the past 30 years, he has assisted and advised over 30,000 students and families on planning their foreign education and settlement. He regularly speaks at various forums on this subject.

Ajmera Law Group: Mo: +91 9974253030 | info@ajmeralaw.com | www.ajmeralaw.com


August 8, 2023

Is it possible to make an EB-5 investment of US$ 500,000 and take
loan of US$ 300,000 to secure my US Green card?

As of March 15, 2022, the EB-5 immigrant investor program now requires a higher investment amount of US$ 800,000, which represents a 60% increase from the previous US$ 500,000. This significant rise in investment may pose challenges for many potential investors who might find it difficult to come up with such liquidity to participate in the program and invest in the USA.

However, there is a favorable development for EB-5 investors from a US court decision in November 2018. This decision allows investors to borrow money without having to provide personal collateral or pledge personal assets as security for the loan.

This can be done in two ways:

(I) Investors can seek loans from regulated financial institutions, either in the USA or anywhere in the world, that are willing to lend money with or without requiring collateral. These institutions could be banks or other licensed entities under the local regulatory authority.

(II) Alternatively, investors can receive loans from friends or relatives, which can be used for their EB-5 investment. However, it is important to note that the USCIS may request source of funds documentation from the friend or relative providing the loan.

The EB-5 immigrant investor category has three main requirements:

(i) an investment of capital,

(ii) engagement in a new commercial enterprise, and

(ii) job creation.

Several regional centers offer loans of up to US$ 300,000 without the need for collateral or security.

However, investors should exercise caution and consider the following points:

(i) Repayment terms of the loan,
(ii) Interest rates charged to the investors,
(iii) Duration of the loan,
(iv) The licensing status of the company providing the loan.

According to the USCIS regulations, gifted or borrowed funds are permissible for petitions filed on or after May 14, 2022, as long as they were given or loaned in good faith and not to circumvent limitations on permissible sources of capital, including proceeds from illegal activities.

Investors relying on such funds must demonstrate the lawful source of the funds by providing evidence for the donor or lender (if not a bank).

It is essential for investors to carefully review the loan or mortgage documents, the lender, and their source of funds, especially if the lender is not a bank.

Being thorough and compliant with USCIS regulations regarding the source of funds will help ensure a successful EB-5 investment process.

It is crucial for investors to be aware of past instances where regional centers offered similar investment structures, such as requiring a smaller investment amount with the rest in the form of a promissory note.

Around 1995, there was a case where investors followed such a structure, with a US$ 150,000 investment and US$ 350,000 in promissory notes. However, this approach was deemed unacceptable by the USCIS, resulting in the rejection of all EB-5 applications associated with it. Read more 

Additionally, as a consequence of this improper practice, two officers of the Regional Centres involved in the scheme were charged and sentenced. Furthermore, the EB-5 program itself was temporarily suspended due to these issues.

This historical example highlights the importance of adhering to the regulations and guidelines set forth by the USCIS when participating in the EB-5 program.

Investors should exercise caution and ensure that their investments and funding sources comply with the program’s requirements to avoid legal issues and /or denial of the EB5 petition.

Transparency and compliance with USCIS guidelines are crucial to ensure the success of the EB-5 investment and secure the USA Green Card with the family.

The author of this article/blog is Prashant Ajmera, an Indian immigration lawyer and the founder of Ajmera Law Group. He has been a Canadian citizen for the past 30 years and is also the author of two books: “Millionaire of the Move” and “How to Plan for Your Child’s Foreign Education: Myth vs. Reality”.  He has been assisting and advising Indian businessmen to establish businesses in Canada since 1993.  Consult us

July 16, 2023

The provisions in the New EB5 Reform and Integrity Act will allow investors to make investments in Regional Center EB-5 projects with more confidence. 

These are FAQs on new New EB5 Reform and Integrity Act effective 15th March 2022 to 30th September 2027

  1. What are the new EB-5 rules that came into effect in March 2022?

Ans: Under new EB-5 rules, the investment amount has increased from US $500,000 to US $800,000 for rural areas, high unemployment areas or an infrastructure project. The amount has been increased from US $1,000,000 to US $1,050,000 for any other area and any other project /business. In either case, the investment must be made into a new business entity and must create at least 10 jobs for Americans.

  1. For what period of time will this new rule be applicable?

Ans: The new rules are effective for a period of five years, that is, until 30th September 2027.  

  1. How will this new rule affect my pending EB-5 petition?

Ans: The new EB-5 rules provide for grandfathering of pending petitions, meaning that all pending EB-5 petitions will not be affected by these new rules. The EB-5 program is reauthorized until September 30th, 2027. The pending petitions will continue to be processed even after this date in the event the outcome of the petition is not decided.

  1. What is a rural area?

Ans: In general, an area with a population of less than 20,000 people as per the latest US census is termed as a rural area. 

  1. What is a high unemployment area?

Ans: An area is designated by the Secretary of Homeland Security as a high unemployment area when unemployment is 150 per cent of the national average unemployment rate.

  1. Is there any quota for EB-5-based Green Cards in the USA?

Ans: Yes, there is an annual quota of 10,000 Green Cards per year. From this quota, 20% is reserved for rural areas, 10% for high-unemployment areas and 2% for infrastructure projects. 

  1. Who decides if an area is a high unemployment area?

Ans: Only the Secretary of Homeland Security or a designee of the Secretary can determine if an area can be designated as a high unemployment area. The federal, state or local government does not have the authority to designate a high unemployment area.

  1. What is an infrastructure project and who determines which projects are infrastructure projects?

Ans: An ‘infrastructure project’ means a capital investment project in a filed or approved business plan, which is administered by a governmental entity (such as a Federal, State, or local agency or authority). The Secretary of Homeland Security or a designee of the Secretary will determine if a project is an infrastructure project or not. 

  1. Will there be a rise in the EB-5 investment amount in the near future?

Ans: Under new rules, the EB-5 investment amount will increase every five years as per the consumer price index. The next revision will be on or after 1st January 2027. 

  1. I am in the US on legal status, so when can I file for an EB-5 petition (I 526) and an adjustment of status (I 485) petition?

Ans: Under the new rules, any foreign national who is on a legal visa status may file a petition for EB-5 and adjustment of status at the same time. In other words, you can file for I 526 and I 485 at the same time.

  1. Under new rules how will “indirect job creation” be calculated”?

Ans: Under new rules, only 90% of the estimated indirect job creation will be considered for job creation and if it is indirect job creation in a real estate project, then only 75% of the estimated jobs will be considered for job creation.

  1. Is there record-keeping and audits for regional centres under the new rules?

Ans: Yes, under the new rules, regional centres are required to keep a record for a period five years after the last transaction is made and also undergo an audit every five years.

  1. Are projects promoted by regional centres approved by the US government?

Ans: Under new rules, each regional centre must pre-approve its project before it raises funds and before investors file an I-526 petition. Under the old rules, it was voluntary for the regional centres to obtain pre-approval of the project. 

  1. Who can own, run, manage and operate a regional centre?

Ans: Only Green Card holders and American citizens can get involved in owning, managing and operating a regional centre provided – the person has a clean criminal record, does not have any ongoing criminal cases pending against him/her, has never been convicted of any crime such as securities law violations, illegal trafficking of contraband substances and such other violations. Additionally, no foreign government or entity can get involved in a regional centre.

  1. Are persons working for and affiliated with a regional centre subject to any law?

Ans: Under new laws, not only owners but also promoters, directors, managers, employees, associates, marketing agents and other associated personnel of a regional centre must remain in compliance with SEC regulations and other regulations made in this regard.  

  1. What is EB–5 INTEGRITY FUND under the new rules?

Ans: Each regional centre is required to pay US $20,000 and US $10,000 (if the regional centre has less than 20 investors per year) in the EB–5 INTEGRITY FUND. An additional fee of US $1,000 per investor is required to be paid in addition to I -526 petition fees.  This fund will be used for the purpose of management, audit, investigation, site visits, investor awareness, maintaining the integrity of the program and monitoring compliance with the requirements under section 107 of the EB–5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022.

  1. Do EB-5 direct and third-party promoters (migration agents overseas) need to meet any compliance requirement with USCIS and/or SEC?

Ans: Each regional centre will be required to register their marketing agents, migration agents and such other affiliates with USCIS with their contact details, any signed agreement and fees contract. Promoters will also be required to certify that they are in compliance with the guidelines for third-party promoters; promoting the EB-5 project in compliance with the guidelines provided for the project and also for the visa process.

  1. Are there any changes to the source of fund requirement?

Ans: Under new rules, the investor must demonstrate a legitimate source of funds not only for the investment amount but also for any administrative fees paid to the regional centre.

  1. What if my regional centre does not comply with US regulations and is sanctioned or closed down?

Ans: Under the new rules, if the foreign investor has made an investment in good faith in a regional centre and for any reason the regional centre is TERMINATED OR DEBARRED, it will not have an effect on the EB-5 petition of the foreign investor. The investor will not lose the priority date if the amendment to the business plan and removal of conditions is filed within 180 days of the notification received from the government for the termination of RC. 

  1. How will my money be invested in an EB-5 project?

Ans: The investment amount will be transferred to a separate account maintained by the regional centre. It will be transferred to the project only when it is certified by designated FUND MANAGERS (such as a public accountant, attorney, broker-dealer, investment advisors, etc.)

NOTE: In order to protect investors, various checks and balances have been introduced in the new EB–5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. Please refer to the full text of the Act for details.  

This is a very simplified FAQ for a general understanding of the new EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act. You are advised to refer to the complete text of the ACT or consult a qualified attorney for more information.

About Ajmera Law Group:

Ajmera Law Group (ALG) is an Indian law firm that assists Indian students and parents to plan for their or their child’s foreign education and subsequent settlement in a foreign country by offering various options including Residency and Citizenship by Investment and/or global investment.


April 20, 2023

After the Canadian government closed its federal investor program in 2010, many Chinese agents and their counterparts in Canada looked for an alternative program for the Chinese market. The EB-5 program gained popularity in China from 2010 onwards, and by 2014, the first 10,000 EB-5 visa quota was mostly used up by Chinese investors.

However, changes in the US government policy and delays in the EB-5 process for Chinese investors forced EB-5 regional centers and marketing agents to look for alternative markets. Due to the size of the Indian population and their interest in the USA, India became an obvious choice for these regional centers and marketing agents.

Since 2014, the USA EB-5 visa has gained popularity among wealthy Indian families, as their children pursue higher education and the American dream. However, their dreams were shattered when they realized that regular student visas to the USA green card had a processing time of 20 years or more.

In this unregulated residency and citizenship by the investment market in India, many immigration lawyers, regional centers, and marketing agents for small and medium-sized American companies visit India regularly. They organize events in five-star hotels and continue social media marketing to attract investors from India.

In November 2022, the Indian EB-5 visa went into retrogression, meaning that petitions were approved, but the EB-5 visa quota was not available. As we know, there are 10,000 worldwide quotas per year for the EB-5 visa, and 7% (700 visas) will be available for each country, including India. This retrogression made headlines on social media, stating that the Indian EB-5 visa will have a several-year-long wait.

According to the recently published data by the USCIS for December 2022, only 89 files for Indians under the EB5 class have been decided and are awaiting visa allocation, which will happen in October 2023. In comparison, China has 23,020 decided files, and their long wait time is evident.

To see this data on the government site – click here

So the reality is EB-5 petitions by Indian citizens from India or from within the USA are nowhere near China market for a variety of reasons such as the source of funds, currency restriction, and lack of Indian professionals who can give Indian investors confidence for global investment, etc.

Each Indian investor should take time to consult an immigration lawyer, and other professionals, refer USCIS website, and then make informed decisions to make an investment for an EB-5 investor visa.

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.


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.

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 

May 1, 2021

The Main Points to be noted for this ban are: 

(i) President Biden has issued a proclamation imposing a COVID-19 public health travel ban on foreign nationals with a recent physical presence in India. This same type of travel ban is already in effect for Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, countries in the European Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

(ii) Starting at 12:01 am EDT on May 4, 2021, foreign nationals who have been physically present in India within 14 days of travel to the United States will be barred from entry, unless they qualify for an exception.

(ii) Consular operations in India are at a significantly reduced capacity due to the COVID pandemic, so those seeking exceptions to the new ban from a U.S. consulate are likely to experience delays and challenges.

Today, President Joseph Biden issued a presidential proclamation imposing a COVID-19 public health travel ban which prohibits the entry of foreign nationals who have been physically present in India within 14 days of their travel to the United States.  The India ban restrictions take effect at 12:01 am EDT on May 4, 2021.

However following people will not be affected:

  • U.S. citizens and nationals;
  • U.S. lawful permanent residents;
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents;
  • A foreign national who is the parent or legal guardian of an unmarried U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident under the age of 21;
  • A foreign national who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided they are both under 21;
  • A foreign national who is the child, foster child or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa;
  • A foreign national traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the COVID-19 virus;
  • A foreign air or sea crewmember;
  • Certain A, C, E-1 (TECRO or TECO employees), G, and NATO nonimmigrants or whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
  • A foreign national whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
  • A foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest; and
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children.

An updated guideline will be issued by the US  government which may allow the travel of those Indian citizens who can apply for travel to the US under the national interest exception.

For more information and legal opinion contact our office.

December 24, 2020

Insightful tips for parents wanting to send their children to study in the U.S. | obtain USA green card and eventual citizenship 


The economic policy of India has been progressive since 1993 for inbound investment, and from 2007 onwards for outbound investment and remittance. As for outbound investment, the first wave of investment was by Indian multinationals who had the financial means and resources to invest outside of India.

The introduction of the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) generated opportunity and facilitated the entry of Indian SMEs into the outbound investment arena. This was the second wave of investors.

What we are witnessing in recent times is the third wave of investors comprising of Indian HNIs and UNHIs who are investing outside of India. As per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), this investment/remittance amount was $19 billion US last year alone.

It is obvious that Indian multinationals are well served by top Indian and global professionals due to the size of the deal and investment made.

However, when it comes to Indian SMEs, Start-Ups and HNIs, professional help may not always be forthcoming and if available, may not be erudite. Investing outside of one’s country requires in-depth knowledge not only of the laws, rules and regulations governing such investments, but also the economic and financial climate of the destination of the investment and the various investment opportunities this destination has to offer.

It is with this objective that we are starting this monthly “How and Why to invest in ….” series, wherein we will be taking a closer look at the different investment destinations around the world.

We start this month with one of the most favored investment destinations for Indians – The United States of America.

  1. Why do Indian HNIs regard the USA as a favoured investment destination?

ANS:  USA is unquestionably the largest economy in the world. The U.S. has retained its position of being the world’s largest economy since 1871. The size of the U.S. economy was at $20.58 trillion in 2018 in nominal terms and is expected to reach $22.32 trillion in 2020.

The U.S. is often dubbed as an economic superpower and that’s because the economy constitutes almost a quarter of the global economy, backed by advanced infrastructure, technology, and an abundance of natural resources.

The second reason why the U.S. is an economic powerhouse is because a majority of consumer brands created in the USA are household names globally. This makes people to look at the USA more favourably than other countries. The notion of the “American Dream’ and “Rags to Riches” stories of many of its wealthy citizens is also a great crowd puller.

The third most important aspect is the American education system. American universities and colleges attract the largest number of students from all over the world. As an after-effect, many parents of these students and business persons follow their children to make investments in the USA.

I believe this is what makes the USA a very desirable and favourable destination for Indian HNI parents and businesspersons for investment purposes as compared to other countries.

  1. In what type of asset classes can one invest in the USA?

ANS: USA is a free economy and one can make investment in all types of asset classes and businesses as long as it does not constitute an illegal activity. One question I am often asked is if Indians can purchase agricultural land in the USA. The simple answer is, “YES”. Foreigners can certainly purchase agricultural land in the USA.


One important note: When investing in the USA, one needs to consider the Indian legal perspective too; the types of assets Indian citizens are allowed to invest in, as well as the U.S. laws governing these investments.


For example, if an Indian citizen decides to invest in a U.S. Green Card under the EB-5 category, he/she needs to follow Indian laws regarding remittance of money and the U.S. immigration laws which govern this type of investment.

 For ease of understanding, we can broadly divide investments in the USA in four different categories:

  • Financial markets and related products
  • Real estate – All types
  • Business and Start-up
  • Second passport
  1. What are the applicable laws for Indian citizens who wish to invest in U.S. financial markets?

ANS: The RBI is responsible for regulating the outbound investment/remittance of funds by Indian citizens. The provision is made in the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and regulations are made therein. There are two available options:

  • Indian businesses having a company or partnership firm can invest up to 400% of the net assets of the Indian company for making an investment outside of India in a Joint Venture company (JV) or a Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS) without RBI permission under the automatic route. However, there are many terms and conditions attached and one must look closely at this provision, or better still, seek appropriate legal counsel.
  • An Indian citizen can remit/invest up to $250,000 US in a variety of assets outside of India under the LRS scheme. The permissible capital account transactions by an individual under the LRS are:
  1. Opening of foreign currency account abroad with a bank
  2. Purchase of property abroad
  3. Making investments abroad – acquisition and holding shares of both listed and unlisted overseas company or debt instruments
  4. Acquisition of qualification shares of an overseas company for holding the post of Director
  5. Acquisition of shares of a foreign company towards professional services rendered or in lieu of Director’s remuneration
  6. Investment in units of Mutual Funds
  7. Venture Capital Funds
  8. Unrated debt securities
  9. Promissory notes
  10. Setting up Wholly Owned Subsidiaries and Joint Ventures
  11. How can one invest in U.S. financial markets?

ANS: There are a number of ways by which Indian citizens can make an investment in U.S. financial markets. Let me explain in brief:

  • An Indian financial institute is providing some products to make an investment in the USA. Preferred for investments of $200,000 US and above.
  • One may approach a U.S. licensed broker or financial advisor or portfolio manager and make an investment. Preferred for investments of $100,000 US and above.
  • There are now online platforms (FinTech start-up) and American sub-brokers who have started arriving in the Indian market. They can assist in making investments in the USA with several facilities. Preferred for investors with smaller ticket size of $1000 US and above.
  • There are platforms available where one can make Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) investment in global products with ticket size of only $200 US (similar to the Indian mutual fund market).
  • There are also multi–stock market platforms available which can offer access to 50+ stock markets around the world from a single account. Suitable for ticket size of $500 US and above. However, the investor needs to perform his/her own transaction. A demo version is available to get acquainted with the platform. This is suitable for savvy investors who wish to save on brokerage. It is also recommended for Indian stock exchange brokers who can have a white label of this platform and offer their clients access to more than 50 stock markets globally right here in India.
  1. How is the U.S. financial market likely to fare post COVID-19?

ANS: As the COVID-19 outbreak gripped the entire world in March 2020, stock market prices plunged globally. Then, in a move that seemed irrational to some observers, the markets bounced back.

As per a leading economist, “Markets decline when there’s unexpectedly bad news and rise when there’s unexpectedly good news”.

Nevertheless, when we analyze the market sector wise, we see that certain sectors such as hospitality and travel are not doing very well and their stock prices are going down. On the other hand, tech companies are doing very well.

The dominance of major U.S. Tech Stocks in recent years has pushed the sector past another milestone as it is now valued at more than $9.1 trillion US, which is more than the entire European stock market, according to Bank of America global research.

In today’s complex economy, this once again confirms the view that stock markets are not the best indicators of a country’s economy. Therefore when it comes to investing in stock markets, one should look closely at individual sectors, individual companies and the factors that affect stock prices, rather than just looking at the overall market performance and indices.

  1. What is FATCA and how is it applicable to investments made in the USA?

ANS:  The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is part of a broad initiative by the United States to combat offshore tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers. The goal of the law is not to increase revenues for the U.S. Treasury, but rather to collect information on U.S. taxpayers that invest in foreign financial institutions and foreign entities.

FATCA requires a U.S. withholding agent (generally defined as any U.S. party that is making a payment of interest, dividends, certain capital gains, etc.) to withhold 30% of a payment made to certain foreign entities.

Thus FATCA is more of a reporting requirement of the U.S. government. Thus if you invest in the USA, you will be required to file tax returns. When you sell your assets, there may be a withholding tax which may be claimed back by declaring a U.S. non-resident tax status or adjust against tax liability in India.

 What are the opportunities for Indian stockbrokers in the USA?

ANS: There is a tremendous opportunity for Indian stock brokers in the USA and other financial markets of the world. Unfortunately, the Indian financial industry focuses on only one aspect of the economy, which is inbound investment.

Due to advances in technology, it is now possible to access not one but several stock markets of the world right from the comfort of your home or office with just a click. With some effort and will, it is easy to enter into these markets.

Just imagine – more than $19 billion US were remitted/invested by Indians outside of India with negligible advisory services from the Indian financial market and professionals.

If professionals associated with or working for the Indian financial markets take due interest and understand the importance of overriding the political and currency risk by investing in more than one country and in more than one currency, I have no doubt that this market can grow many folds.

I am more than confident that in a few years Indian investors will consider foreign investment as a mandatory part of their investment portfolio.

Indian stock brokers will benefit greatly by expanding their worldview and urging their clients to invest in markets outside of India. Proper understanding and knowledge of how this can be done is the need of the hour.

  1. How is the U.S. real estate market at present?

ANS: Just like the financial market, the U.S. real estate market is the backbone of the U.S. economy.

After six years of strong house price growth, the U.S. housing market is cooling. The S&P/Case-Shiller seasonally-adjusted national home price index rose by just 3.13% during the year to Q2 2019 (1.46% inflation-adjusted) – the lowest growth since Q3 2012. House prices increased 2.29% during the latest quarter (1.52% inflation-adjusted), according to S&P/Case-Shiller.

Despite this, 19 of the 20 major U.S. cities continued to experience moderate to minimal house price hikes, according to Standard and Poor’s.

The post COVID period has created some very good opportunities for repossessed properties.

At the same time, one must note that the USA is a country that attracts one of the largest foreign investment into real estate in the world. Foreign investment in U.S. real estate was almost $74 billion US in 2019. The three most popular states for foreign real estate investment in the USA are – New York and Florida on the east coast and California on the west coast.

 How can one invest in U.S. real estate?

ANS: The RBI allows Indian citizens to make investments in foreign real estate. One can directly contact a real estate agent or developer in the USA and make an investment. There are many real estate agents and developers who come to India regularly to solicit investment in their projects.

The U.S. real estate market is highly regulated when it comes to selling and buying real estate but one still needs to be careful and seek professional help. One more important point that investors must note is that in the residential sector, only licensed real estate agents can assist in buying and selling real estate in the USA.

Abundant data is available on the internet pertaining to the U.S. real estate market. It is therefore very easy to obtain a lot of information online regarding the property under consideration.

  1. How can one decide which real estate to invest in?

ANS: USA is a very big market. Hence investors need to do their homework well. Deciding which state and city to invest in, how much to invest and personal preferences (house, condo, row house, downtown, suburbs) is generally influenced by the presence of family and friends in the USA.

A budget of $300,000 US can allow an investor to buy real estate in many states of the USA and it is a good starting point.

  1. Is it possible to obtain a mortgage for investing in real estate in the USA?

ANS: Yes, it is possible to obtain a mortgage for purchasing real estate in the USA from selected brokers who specialize in mortgages for foreign investors.

  1. How can one establish a business in the USA?

ANS: When it comes to establishing a business in the USA, there are two aspects to consider:

  • Do you want your company to have a presence in the U.S. and hire local workforce?

In this case, a company, with only one director, can be registered in any state in the USA within four weeks. One can also obtain all types of tax ids and numbers.

Opening a bank account may require physical presence in the USA. This can allow you to perform business transactions and conduct business with U.S. companies. Understandably, one needs to follow annual company compliance and income tax filing.

  • Do you want your company to have a presence in the U.S. and send workforce from India?

In this case, one needs to consider the U.S. immigration and visa rules. There are five types of visa categories can be covered under such a scenario –

  1. L-1A Visa – The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.
  2. L-1B Visa – The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.
  3. EB-1 (c) – Certain managers or executives of multinational companies, who have been employed outside the United States for at least 1 year in the past 3 years preceding the petition can apply under this category. This category is known as ‘Transfer under the Mergers & Acquisitions’.
  4. E-2 Visa – The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of ‘Treaty Countries’ (Canada, Grenada, Turkey, and such other 60+ countries) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.
  5. EB-5 Visa – The standard minimum investment amount has increased to $1.8 million US (from $1 million US) and, for the Targeted Employment Area (TEA), it has increased to $900,000 US (from $500,000 US) to account for inflation. The business also needs to create 10 jobs for Americans.

Each of these categories is very complex and needs extensive documentation, business plan and, in many cases, an elaborate explanation of the source of funds. Professional help and guidance is highly recommended and desirable when applying under any of these categories to ensure best results.

  1. One last question. Many of our members want their children to study in the USA. How can they plan for their children’s education the USA?

ANS: In general, when Indian students go to the U.S. for studies, they apply for a U.S. Green Card under one of the three following visa classes – EB1, EB2 and EB3.

There is a quota of 40,000 Green Cards per year in each category, with a total of 120,000 Green Cards to be issued.

When this quota was introduced, there were a limited number of foreign students applying for a U.S. Green Card. However, in recent times more and more foreign students are coming to study in the USA from all over the world and are applying for a U.S. Green Card after completing their studies. Thus the number of petitions have increased but the quota has remained the same since the last thirty years.

Due to an unprecedented increase in this number, the waiting time for a Green Card in October 2020 is almost 12 years. If one counts the period of study and H1 work visa period, the total period is almost 20 years to obtain a U.S. Green Card.

Indian students, and parents who wish that their children settle in the USA, need new strategies and proper planning if this dream has to come to fruition.

They must bear in mind the following points:

  1. Plan early and look in to the possibility of Residency by Investment. If that is not possible or feasible, look into the possibility of saving money for your child’s foreign education by investing outside India in financial markets or real estate to avoid currency fluctuation risk and the rising cost of foreign study.
  2. Parents and students must also realize that doing a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD..) in the U.S. is not equivalent to obtaining a Master’s degree.
  3. It is always preferable to study in a recognized university and not a college or private institute.
  4. In 2020, parents and students must not assume that studying abroad will guarantee job placement and future immigration.