What Procedural Hurdles Do Indian Citizens Commonly Face In US Immigration?


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The most common hurdle for Indian citizens to face with US Immigration is the same that anyone else who is applying for a work permit faces. The most popular work permit is called the H-1B, and that is when the company applies for an applicant, meaning someone who has a bachelors degree or higher. There are 5,000 H-1B visas issued each year, and another 20,000 applicants who have US masters degrees. The problem is that about 3 times as many people apply as there are visas, so there’s a lottery. It happens the first week of April each year, for the start date on October 1st. In other words, you apply during that week, and there’s a lottery for first time applicants who need to have a qualifying job and get lucky. Close to two-thirds of people who apply don’t get it.

Of the other 20,000 applicants who have US Master’s degrees, many of those are Indian applicants. A high percentage get approved, and then they start working for a company with a work permit. The reality is that most of these individuals apply for a green card. The first step to apply for a green card is to apply for a Labor Certification. This is an application to the Department of Labor that shows they’re not going to take their job away from an American. Once you get a labor certification approved, there are two classifications. One is called EB-2, and the other is EB-3. EB-2 is for people who have master’s degree or higher. EB-3 is if you have a bachelor’s degree.

The real answer is that the length of time it takes for EB-2 and EB-3 to get a green card is roughly similar, a little over 10 years. In other words, it takes over 10 years for Indian nationals to get a green card. Because of that, what happens is a lot of people can’t stay here and wait, and they have to go home. That is a major problem for Indian born.

Is There An EB-5 Backlog Problem Pertinent To People On The Indian Quota?

EB-2 and EB-3 visas are when an employer is applying for someone, because they can’t find a US worker to fill the position. EB-5 is where an individual applies based on investing $500,000 or more in a qualifying US business. For India, as is the case for all other countries in the world except China, there is no backlog on the quota for these visas. It only takes as long as it takes to process the application. However, this is not quick, and it takes approximately 2.5 years in order to get an EB-5 green card. There is no backlog for Indian citizens in the EB-5 category. There is a substantial backlog for the EB-2 and EB-3 visas.

Is Employer Sponsorship Required?

Employer sponsorship is not required for EB-5 visas. For EB-5, you do the application on your own, and that’s one of the benefits. You have to have the money to do it—if someone doesn’t have the sufficient funds of $500,000 or more to put into a business, and it stays there for 6 or 7 years without getting it back, except for a very small yearly return, then they can’t do EB-5 visas. But there’s no sponsorship for EB-5. Employer sponsorship is only required for EB-2 and EB-3 visas.

Are There Any Education, Experience Or Language Requirements Associated With The EB-5 Program For Indian People?

There are no education, experience, or language requirements to apply for EB-5. Though there are no language requirements, some nationalities that do not speak English who are applying for EB-5 may have an issue when they’re applying for their green card at a US consulate. There could be an issue of how well they understand what they’ve invested in. This generally doesn’t apply to Indian applicants, as most already speak English. There are some other issues, but few if any for Indian applicants.

Why Is The EB-5 Program Better Suited To An Indian Than An EB-2 Or EB-3 Visa?

In the EB-5 program, the major difference is timing. Let’s go through the procedure. There are two applications for EB-5. One is called the I-526, which is where someone finds a regional center investment, and they would invest as a limited partner. They invest $500,000 in that project, plus an administrative fee on average of $50,000, so the whole amount is $550,000. They show where they got the money and prove source of funds, then that is in their I-526 application. Once they file that, it takes in excess of 20 months to get approved. Once that’s approved, then if they are in the US in valid status on an H visa, or on a student visa, or some other type of visa. They can apply for adjustment of status here, and get a green card here, which takes 6 plus months but it could take much longer because interviews will be required.

If they’re overseas, which the vast majority of all EB-5 applicants are, then their interview is at the US Consulate or Embassy in their home country. That takes about 6 to 9 months but for EB-2 and 3 visa applicants, the time it takes to get a green card is 10 years because the EB-5 visa is roughly two-and-a-half years to a green card, that’s your main benefit to an EB-5 visa over an EB-2 or 3.

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