Select Highlights of the Interview with Hardik from India
EB-5 Investor in the EB5AN Twin Lakes Rural EB-5 Project
I decided to go with Anahita George from George & Marzialo as my attorney for my EB-5 journey. I found her expertise and specialization in EB-5 with the immigration law were crucial and I understand her in-depth knowledge of the program’s complexity was vital for successful applications.
EB5AN, from my research, I started looking at it and for me I found that it’s a reputable and dependable EB-5 regional center, and that’s for several reasons. You guys have a deep understanding of the law, the immigration law, the real estate, and the financial.
Kolter’s impressive track record in real estate industry played a very pivotal role in my decision. They have extensive experience as well as a proven history of successfully completing their projects, and that was highlighted as well on their website that they have a proven track record of completing every single project 100%.
The detailed outline that all those jobs were actually already created for this project: that gave me relief that, once my I-526 is approved, I know that I can file for my I-829. I can be reassured that all those jobs are already created, my funds are legally sourced, and I have nothing to worry about in terms of getting the conditions on my Green Card removed.
Full Interview with Hardik from India
EB-5 Investor in the EB5AN Twin Lakes Rural EB-5 Project
Why Make An EB-5 Investment?
Hi, everyone. My name is Hardik. I’ve actually moved recently from Canada. It says I’m from India, and that’s true because I moved to Canada from India when I was 12 years old. So, my country of birth is still India. My background is I’m an electrical engineer, I’ve studied in Canada, and then most recently I moved to US a few months back.
And I haven’t spent too much time personally living here, I’ve traveled a bit in the US but apart from that I’ve only been in US for the last two months. I have spent my little bit of time previously at my family in New Mexico, but that was just temporary visits and I stayed for a little bit, but that’s about it.
My family and I, we started talking about, looking into, other opportunities specifically related to work outside of Canada—or more specifically, within US because as an electrical engineer I’m in utility sector. And I was working for a company there, and I felt like I was not getting much opportunity, or not getting new exposure. And looking at the industry and broad market in US, I felt that there was a lot more opportunity; they got more that I could still learn and grow in. That’s where we decided that we wanted to move to US.
Now, when we decided to move to US, obviously we had to foresee like, “What is this? Are we doing something for long term or short term? What kind of move are we looking to do, or what is our goal?” And then we decided. I lived in Canada for almost 20-plus years. So it came down to, “Okay, if I’m making a move to go to the US I’m not just going to go there and make money and then come back. It’s something that, if I’m going to settle, then I want to make sure if my kids are getting educated and I’m going to settle down.” And that’s when we started looking at the residency options in the US as well. So that’s where all the thought process with the EB-5 started.
My search started certainly when I started looking at the visas, what sort of visas were available for me. And then, what is the long-term goal, or rather, what’s my vision, or where will I end up in 5 years, 10 years down the road?
And I looked at it and I said, “Okay, as a Canadian citizen I can go to the route of the TN visa where I can temporarily work in US, but it doesn’t lead to any permanent residency.” The other option was an H-1B, and then I would move on an H-1B, and then basically from there I would get an employment sponsorship for Green Card, which is under either the EB-2 or the EB-3 category.
Now, those options, when I explored more and more, I said, “Had I done that option when I freshly graduated from school back in 2010, that would’ve been a perfect time. But looking at the timeline now, it looks like the categories have massively gone out of proportion, especially for my country of birth, India. And if I go through that visa category, I’m looking at five to six decades before I could even get a Green Card.”
And for me that didn’t really matter as much as it would matter for my kids. If my kids grow out of age, then they have to move out of country or study as international students. And again, they have to go through the same thing that I would go through, and it didn’t really make sense.
So, looking at a combination of opportunities for myself as well as for my kids, we decided to go with the EB-5 option. There were other options that we also looked at such as E-2 visas for business. And then we also considered, “Maybe I can join a company that has a sister company in Canada, move up the ranks, go through the management chain and then come through L-1 visa.”
Theoretically, those are options that we were looking at. All those options are 5 to 10 years down the road, and even then we don’t know what the processing time at that time is going to be. So it’s something that I considered in the long run: what’s going to be my best option here?
Choosing an Immigration Attorney
When I went through this process of searching for… When I first decided that, “Okay, do you know what? EB-5 is going to be my option,” because other options, they were not… I came into a dead end when there was a hold on EB-5, no rural, basically there were no regional centers for a while during COVID. Then, the only investment was direct investment. And we had to pick projects that were basically random projects, or basically you had to find an investment that you could invest into. When I went through that and then I said, “First of all, if I’m looking for EB-5, I want to understand the process,” it all came down to, “What do I need to do here? And how does the process work, especially for me, born in India?”
And that’s when I started looking at the attorneys, started talking to attorneys to understand what exactly is this EB-5 program, why is it important, and what sort of benefit I would get out of it, and most importantly, what is it that I need to look out for when selecting a project. So, that’s when I started talking to immigration attorneys in this space.
I spoke to, I would say, six different attorneys in a combination of referrals and Google searches. I even went to extent that I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos, and there were a lot of attorneys that posted videos on their profession: what they do, how they help clients. So, I even took their references and I started calling attorneys. And then I started speaking to them. I had initial consultations with almost all of those for 30 to 45 minutes understanding the process.
And I had set of questions that I built from my research, and then explaining my scenarios. And I wanted to hear their perspective and their point of view on exactly how that fit into my criteria and what I was looking for. And I wanted to see which attorney gave open-ended questions, more practical logical questions rather than a more emotional or rather more like a client-based question, “Oh, yeah, I can do this for you.” And I really wanted to get in touch with the attorney that would give me the right guidance, right direction, and would speak the truth, or basically be upfront with me on exactly what would happen.
And that’s after talking to many different attorneys, six I said. So, I decided to go with Anahita George from George & Marzialo as my attorney for my EB-5 journey. The reason I selected her is I’ve gone through pretty much all this interview process and then the selection process, and I narrowed down what expertise or what sort of criteria I was looking for. One particular one was her specialization in EB-5. I’ve gone through her reviews, talking to Anahita, I found her expertise and specialization in EB-5 with the immigration law were crucial and I understand her in-depth knowledge of the program’s complexity was vital for successful applications.
I wanted to make sure that she understood every single process, every single step of the process, what sort of challenges I could expect, and what are the reasons that we would be getting those issues. The other thing was her track record. I’ve talked to some of the previous clients, I’ve also gone through the review process online to research about her, and I wanted to make sure that her track record was good; she had positive feedbacks.
One of the most important things I’ve talked to Anahita about, and I really like about her, is the transparent communication. I really appreciated working with Anahita, she was very… the communication, she was always available for chat. Her response were very prompt, and accessibility was instrumental in deciding or going through this process.
Other than that, in general she had a very good approach. She’s very client-centered, approachable person. She understands your needs, she knows exactly what your situation is and what exactly you are trying to do. And she makes you feel very comfortable, where you can explain to her your situation without feeling reluctant that okay, you might get a pushback from her. Rather, she’ll basically give you an honest opinion but at the same time she’ll give you a right advice on exactly how to approach that.
And that’s basically one of the biggest reasons. And finally, the honest and realistic response. Like I said before, I really valued her realistic and honest response to any questions that I had, and she never sugarcoated any information and provided basically all the optimistic answers. And that’s the holistic picture of why I decided to go with Anahita. It was very straightforward decision at the end for me.
Yes, so that’s one of the reasons I also went with Anahita. While I was checklisting, penciling down all the source of funds that I would need, one of the options that I also considered was: I have some property or some investment funds in India, and she has dealt with clients from India and how to basically source all those funds from India. Luckily, or fortunately, I didn’t have to use those funds and most of my funds came… actually, all of my funds came through sources in Canada. I’ve been working for about 10, 15 years here, so most of my source came through my investments or through my savings and as well as the real estate investments. And that was basically the majority of my source of funds.
The challenge was gathering all the documentations because the majority of my source came through real estate investment and I had to basically prove the source was legitimate, and all the investments were made through legitimate sources of income. And for that I had to go back, dig deeper, pull all my documentations from almost past decades just to prove the trail of those funds, and that took almost more than a year. I had some of the documents available with me, but some I had to go through my bank and some real estate lawyers, and that took incredible effort. But kudos to the attorney for providing a detailed list of exactly what documentations would be required.
And to my surprise, Anahita was well aware of all the documentations or all the legal documentations that would be required from the Canadian side. And she was very aware of it, and she basically gave me a good list of checklist of documents that I should gather, assemble, and then provide to her in order to make sure that all the source of funds are properly sourced and documented for the filing.
Of course, I’m happy to share my advice selecting an attorney for the EB-5 program, as I’ve gone through this process recently. Some of the insights or some of the key points that I jot down and assembled for myself: one was that experience matters. When I started my EB-5 journey, I realized that experience is the key. I sought out many attorneys and talked to many attorneys, and I’ve decided to go with one who had the solid track record handling EB-5 cases. And that’s very crucial to have someone who knows the program ins and out because EB-5 can be legally complex.
The other is specialization. I focused on finding an attorney who specialized in immigration law, specifically in EB-5. And this specialization ensured that, specifically in my case, Anahita had the depth of knowledge needed to guide me effectively through the program. Obviously, you also want to go through your client reference and reviews, make sure you always speak to past clients of the attorney. That was very incredibly helpful. Their firsthand experience can provide invaluable insight into attorney’s competence and how they handle the cases.
In my case, most of the people, or at least I think all of the people I spoke to, I always had a positive feedback that Anahita was very easy to communicate with, and that’s something that you should look for when you’re selecting a client. Transparency. It’s important to have clear understanding of your attorney’s fee structure. EB-5 applications are normally involved with substantial legal fees, so make sure that there are no surprises when it comes down to fees.
Also, effective communication. I prioritized attorneys who communicated effectively with me. EB-5 involved many complex legal concepts, whether in language or on paper, and you want to make sure that those are communicated properly to you and you understand those properly. And I think one of the biggest ones that I would recommend is compatibility. Make sure that you trust your instinct. Your relationship with your attorney is vital. You should feel comfortable discussing your financial, your personal, your immigration matter with them, and be open-ended with them. So talk and speak and choose someone who you can have a good rapport with.
And we go through multiple consultation, don’t rush your decision. It’s always a good idea to consult with several attorneys to compare everyone’s approach, fees, and personality, and pick the one that can be a best choice for you. And lastly, I think one of the biggest ones is: stay informed. I think before you go through anything, educate yourself with the EB-5 program; the more you know, the better you can assess an attorney’s knowledge and commitment in your case. So yeah, those are my recommendations in terms of going through the EB-5 projects and picking an attorney.
Why I Invested in EB5AN’s Twin Lakes Project
Great. Thanks, Hardik, that’s really comprehensive. All right, so now we’ve covered the immigration attorney side to preparing a successful application. And so next we’ll shift direction a little bit, and talk about another major component of a successful EB-5 application, which is the project.
When I started researching EB-5 projects, I was actually all over the place. I had zero clue exactly on how to pick a project and what project would be right for me. And then as I started researching more about EB-5, especially the Reform Act, I understood that, as an Indian-born, I needed to look at and target a specific type of region for my case. I started looking at many different projects and starting to understand what the project was entitling, what sort of project it was, and was it even feasible? Do I really think that that project is good for me to invest in?
At the beginning, all the projects seems very good because all the information that is provided is always positive, it’s always glowing. What you don’t understand is what the risks are that you are coming across, and how you should evaluate those risks. First and foremost for me, because I’m born in India, there are a lot of hurdles that I have to go through.
First of all, for me, I wanted to screen out the projects that were in urban areas because I wanted to limit my source of funds to $800,000. On top of that, I also wanted to make sure that I went with a rural project, and that specifically, again, was important for me because rural projects have a 20% set aside. So I narrowed it down first based on those two categories. Once I did that, then I started looking at the projects. What are the projects that are available in the rural category or rural area?
And that’s when I had to start looking at different type of projects. What are those type of projects that are available in the market? You have real estate, you have hospitality, you have infrastructure. And what is the right project for you? And that’s where I started narrowing down that real estate is one where I liked to be involved in, research more into it, because I was already interested in it. And I have some investments done in Canada in terms of real estate, so I was familiar with real estate investment, just not in US; so that’s why I started looking more into real estate rather than any other infrastructure, and that was based on my previous experience.
So, when I started looking at real estate, I also started looking at some of those projects that were… or what kind of projects in real estate. And when I came across, apartment buildings, houses, and some other real estate infrastructures, I realized that there’s some things that I might not be able to understand because now I’m looking at investment in US. So that’s when I actually started looking at interviews and posts online and what other people had to say.
At that time I was narrowing down a few projects with EB5AN. And when I looked at Twin Lakes, I’ve actually referred to some of the previous interviews on exactly what they had to say. So my decision making also went a little biased on some of the information that I’ve captured from previous investors. And then based on that information, I did my research on what exactly it is that I want to invest in. And when I started doing that, I first started looking into EB5AN as a regional center. I wanted to see exactly what EB5AN was for me, “How are they going to help me?”
And so EB5AN, from my research, I started looking at it and for me I found that it’s a reputable and dependable EB-5 regional center, and that’s for several reasons. Firstly, I’ve spoken to you, Sam, and your team and experienced professionalism from word get-go. You guys have a deep understanding of the law, the immigration law, the real estate, and the financial. So ensuring that you can provide that comprehensive support to EB-5 investors, that was a crucial information for me to start judging into my projects.
One notable strength of EB5AN was regional coverage. EB5AN had experience working in multiple states in the US, and wide geographical footprints offers investors a diverse range of project options. So that gave me an option to look at other projects, what do you have done in past, and how successful was that? EB5AN typically offers a diverse portfolio of those EB-5 projects from various industries, not just locations, like I said, real estate, hospitality, infrastructure, everything.
And one of the best things I found was that EB5AN highlighted all the attributes of every single project: how it is performing, what are the financials looking like. And all the information I found was all transparent, and that is one of the key reasons I’ve decided to stick with EB5AN while finalizing my project. I’ve always noticed that EB5AN stand out because they conducted rigorous due diligence in the projects they’re offering, and they provide those exact same details to their clients.
And that’s the core focus of EB5AN, is to provide the details and make sure they’re compliant with USCIS regulation and guidelines. And again, that is one of the important things, I wanted to make sure that I picked the regional center that was transparent throughout their process, and well-informed, and they were educating their client properly as well.
The other thing was with the Twin Lakes, I was drawn to the builder, Kolter. I choose to invest in the project by Kolter builder for several reasons. Just researching on them, they gave me confidence in the safety and potential of my investment. First and foremost, Kolter’s impressive track record in real estate industry played a very pivotal role in my decision. They have extensive experience as well as a proven history of successfully completing their projects, and that was highlighted as well on their website that they have a proven track record of completing every single project 100%.
Additionally, Kolter’s commitment to quality of construction was evident. Before investing in this project, I had gone to the site and I visited the site project. And I’ve gone through pretty much every single model home they had out there to offer for this community. And I was surprised and blown away by the quality of work that was provided in all of those model homes. And like I said, I’ve invested in real estate before, so I can hand in hand compare exactly what a good quality versus an okay or average quality of work from a new builder looks like, because I’ve gone through those troubles, and I can see that work. So, definitely Kolter was one of the reasons.
They’re also financially stable, and that’s another key factor. They’re in a good position financially, that reassured me that they could effectively manage and complete the project without unexpected delays or issues.
Now about the project. The project is called Twin Lakes, and it’s a 55+ community. That’s the other area that I started researching into, the 55+ active community. And I found out that growth and demand for 55+ communities in the US have been on the rise for several reasons, and they’ll continue to expand in coming years.
Some of the reasons include aging populations. The United States has a rapidly aging population due to the Baby Boomers’ generation entering retirement age. Active lifestyle. A lot of the 55+ communities offer a range of amenities, and Twin Lakes was one of it, healthcare facilities, low maintenance living, safety and security, and affordability. The homes that I visited, they were affordable, they were well-designed, well-structured, and they were well affordable. There were social opportunities. I looked at the structure, their programs, they had opportunities, they had social interactions and opportunities for everyone to engage in the community.
So, like I said, I’ve gone through this project’s ins and out, I’ve gone through every single aspect of this project from the regional center, to the builder, to the community itself, as well as the financial support that it provides, and for me, all of those components came together. it made me feel like this was the right project for me to invest in, and I feel safe that I’m investing in the right project.
It is a very big decision factor. The job creation factor is critically important to consider for someone investing in an EB-5 project; it is one of the biggest things. In fact, job creation is one of the core requirements for EB-5 immigration investment program because you need to create 10 new jobs in order to obtain that US Green Card for the investor. So, making sure that all those jobs were created through these projects is crucial.
And from that perspective, this decision was made even easier when I went through the project description, the detailed outline that all those jobs were actually already created for this project, and that gave me a relief that, once my I-526 is approved, I know that I can file for my I-829. I can be reassured that all those jobs are already created, my funds are legally sourced, and I have nothing to worry about in terms of getting the conditions on my Green Card removed. Definitely, that was a very key or major aspect that I looked into and made sure that that was already taken care of on this project.
No, unfortunately I didn’t because I did not actually plan the visit or actually schedule a meeting, or go there as an investor, I was actually visiting Atlanta for work. And I live in Atlanta now, so I was coming for my work-related purpose, and I decided, “Do you know what? I think it’s the perfect way to just drop in and understand what’s happening with the project.” And I’ve just personally gone ahead and visited the site and did the tour and just got the details as a prospect buyer for my parents.
I’ve gone in as anonymous person who was actually interested in investment, and I wanted to understand the project, what’s going on, and make sure that it was what was shown on the website, and make sure that there is nothing that could be fishy. But I was quite happy visiting the site. But no, I did not get a chance to talk to anyone with Kolter.
How important it is to visit the site? I think it’s one of the important parts. If you can physically come to the site, let’s say if you’re already in North America and you’re investing in one of the EB-5 projects, I think it is most important to make sure what you’re investing in is a viable project for you. You understand the project, what’s happening. Sometimes I don’t know what could go wrong, but my understanding is that I wanted to make sure that, if I’m reading that there is this many homes to be built, I wanted to make sure that I went to the site, understood the site plan, saw exactly what was on the picture, what’s on the site; it’s actually there in the field. And that’s very important for me.
I wanted to understand the quality of the work of the builder. If you’re investing in real estate project, you want to make sure that the quality is there in terms of… I went ahead as a prospective buyer. I wanted to see, if I went there and visited the site, and if I were a prospect buyer, would I invest in something like that? Would that be a project, something that would appeal to me? And from my personal experience, it did satisfy me. If that community was offered to everyone, I would’ve been the first person to invest in it because… unfortunately I’m not at 55 yet, but that community is something that I was blown away by.
And it wasn’t just me. My wife also visited with me at the site and she was blown away, and she was like, “This project, this builder has done an outstanding job.” And that’s what you want to see. You want to see a happy project or a successful project. And I feel from what I’ve seen, it’s a successful project, it’s going on well, it’s doing a good sales up to now. So it is definitely very important and crucial to visit the site and make sure you understand that you know the project you’re investing in is the right one for you.
So, working with EB5AN was very, very, very helpful and very easy, I would say. The team, I talked to Sam, yourself, and then I talked to… Generally, when I reach out, I started off by filling out the form online, and then right away, if you want to chat, Sam is always available to chat online, chat on WhatsApp. And I think that’s the key, you want to be able to talk to someone who can answer your question. If your questions are not being answered, that’s a red flag.
And with EB5AN, I’ve never felt anything like that. I actually felt very happy that, whenever I had a question, my process was so smooth, I asked the question, I got a response right away. If that response was not right away, that means that there was an answer like, “Okay, your response will be addressed within this timeframe,” for maybe something like access. If I need access to documentations, they’ll be like, “Okay, you’ll have this access within this timeframe.”
That speaks that they care about the client and they want to make sure that you feel comfortable. The other aspect that I want to point out is there is no wrong questions that you could ask. And I’ve asked many questions regarding the projects: it may be small questions, silly questions, big questions, all of them were answered. And to be honest, I think a lot of the material that is provided on the website, it already covers a lot. And Sam has done tremendous job providing investors interview, to details, updated reports on a regular basis. I don’t think there was any shortfall in my experience where I feel it could have been done better. I think it was done tremendously well for me.
My Advice for Other EB-5 Investors
Yeah, definitely. So first of all, I definitely recommend Anahita George on your immigration journey. Like I mentioned before, there are several reasons, one being she has access to expertise in the field. She possesses deep understanding of the complexity of EB-5 program, the immigration law, regulations, and her experience is invaluable when navigating through EB-5 process. Transparent communications, accessibility, and comprehensive due diligence. Those are some of the few points that I could say about Anahita. I definitely recommend, and if you have any questions or if you need a reference, feel free to contact Sam and reach out to me, and I’ll definitely be able to give my recommendations or go through my process.
Again, Anahita is also multilingual support. She’s from India, she speaks multiple language, so if you’re someone from India and want to communicate in a different language… I also speak Gujarati and Hindi, so if you want to talk, definitely I’m welcome to entertain that. And in terms of supporting or going through EB5AN, I’ve seen that EB5AN proposes a variety of different projects depending on where exactly you come from, what your country of birth is, you’ll have always a good project that you can invest into.
But as I said before, what works for you, it’s only you who can make a decision. But Sam and his team are very experienced and they provide many different types of projects. And I’m sure I vouch for Sam, and if you have any questions, reach out to me and I can definitely guide you through my process as well.