My name is Sid. I hail from New Delhi, India. My journey to the United States has been marked by career success, diligent research, and a desire for a better future.
In this post, I want to share my experience navigating the intricate world of EB-5 investment—and show how the EB-5 program will help me and my family get permanent U.S. Green Cards.
Born and raised in India, my initial career path took me into the field of law. After a couple of years as a lawyer, I shifted gears and found my way into the exciting world of entertainment management. As a celebrity agent, I spent several years working with movie stars in India. During this time, I met my wife, who was then pursuing her dentistry course from UCLA. We tied the knot in 2016, and a year later, I moved permanently to the U.S.
My wife began her career in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on an H-1B visa, sponsored by her company for a Green Card through EB-2. However, as many Indians are aware, the EB-2 Green Card backlog is enormous, often stretching to 50 or even 90 years.
Despite these challenges, we chose to remain in the U.S. due to the unparalleled opportunities it offered. I completed my master’s in I.T. management and am currently employed as a data architect.
Why I Chose the EB-5 Visa
With EB-2 appearing impractical, we began exploring other options. We considered the EB-1 visa, but it requires extraordinary abilities, something that didn’t apply to our circumstances.
We even considered relocating to Canada, given its promising standard of living and career opportunities. However, nothing compared to the possibilities that the U.S. offered. My father had long been encouraging me to consider the EB-5 visa as a pathway to staying in the U.S.
Initially skeptical, I eventually began to see the potential that this program held.
The first hurdle was to understand the intricate details of EB-5 investment, and I decided to adopt a bottom-up approach. I immersed myself in research, learning about regional centers and the mechanics of EB-5 investments. The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 proved to be a game-changer, offering a chance to bypass the visa backlog for India.
As I delved deeper into the EB-5 realm, I reached out to regional centers directly. I was determined to absorb as much information as I could, understanding that the more I knew, the better equipped I was to make informed decisions.
Every interaction I had introduced me to a new step of the process. I would also double-check new information with family and friends who had experience in U.S. real estate.
In hindsight, I see that my background as a celebrity agent came in handy during these interactions. I learned to play off the competitive nature of the industry, often mentioning competitors in conversations with regional centers to understand their perspectives on each other.
This strategy helped me uncover critical information, often hidden beneath the surface of polished sales pitches.
If you, like me, are not a multimillionaire able to risk a considerable sum on a whim, you will need to dedicate time and effort to understand the landscape, seek out trustworthy partners, and make informed decisions.
Finding an EB-5 Regional Center and Project
I spoke to important regional centers such as CMB, CanAm, EB-5 Capital, EB-5 United, Pine State, and Golden Gate Global, among others. Each of these conversations was useful, with these regional centers providing valuable insights about their offerings.
However, the decision-making process was anything but straightforward. Finding the right fit involved aligning two factors: the regional center I felt comfortable with, and the project they offered at the time. It wasn’t simply about choosing a reputable center; the project they presented needed to be lucrative as well.
Also, coming from an Indian background, I found rural projects appealing given their faster immigration benefits.
Further, I analyzed the capital structure of the projects, considering factors like the senior loan, developer’s capital, and EB-5 capital. My preference was for projects with about 40-50% senior funding. A positive trend I noticed was the increasing interest in EB-5 capital due to its relative lucrativeness in the current market situation, despite its perceived risk.
Twin Lakes Georgia: An Outstanding EB-5 Project
Throughout this process, I discovered numerous impressive projects. However, the Twin Lakes project stood out, especially with the reputable developers and regional center, EB5AN. I felt that this project presented the safest option for my investment.
A critical factor in my decision-making process was job creation, which is instrumental in securing the Green Card. I found it reassuring that Twin Lakes had already created all the required jobs for EB-5 investors. This meant that, if the source of funds was clean, there should be no issue in getting the Green Card.
But my research didn’t end there. I made an effort to visit some of the projects, including Twin Lakes. Witnessing firsthand the progress and the established community was a game-changer. I was impressed by the operational efficiency, the quality of houses, and the responsiveness of the Kolter representative who took us around.
Seeing this project’s success increased my confidence in its potential.
Working with EB5AN
Alongside project evaluation, interacting with the regional center itself played a significant role. My experience with EB5AN was remarkably positive, defined by prompt responses, transparency, and thoroughness in addressing my concerns. This open and honest communication was key.
My Advice for Other EB-5 Investors
Looking back at the process, I realize how crucial it is for potential investors to conduct careful research and engage with the regional centers proactively. I believe it’s essential to question the negative narratives around the EB-5 program and dig deeper. Yes, some projects might fail, but it’s important to remember that every investment carries inherent risks.
Another piece of advice for investors is to understand the developers’ track record and their response to economic downturns. It’s crucial to know whether they can withstand tough market changes and remain committed to their projects.
Lastly, I cannot stress enough the importance of a responsive immigration attorney. During the stressful times of investing a significant amount of money, a responsive attorney can be a valuable support.
My EB-5 journey was a process of careful research and informed decision-making. It involved striking a balance between various factors such as the regional center, the project, job creation prospects, and the developer’s reputation.
I hope my experiences can provide useful insights to prospective investors embarking on their own EB-5 journeys.