Select Highlights of the Interview with Surya from India
EB-5 Investor in the EB5AN Twin Lakes Rural EB-5 Project
Full Interview with Surya
EB-5 Investor in the EB5AN Twin Lakes Rural EB-5 Project
Transcript of the Full Interview with Surya from India
Why Did You Make an EB-5 Investment?
Hey Sam, thanks for the quick starter introduction. My name is Surya and I’m from India. I’ll discuss my experience with the EB-5 process and also how I came to the United States and how I spent my time. I came to the US in 2015 on an F-1 visa and moved on to an H-1B visa in 2020. I’ve been working with a couple of clients. I work in IT as a project manager. Right now, I live in Dallas and I have my I-140 application approved and am in line to get a Green Card.
But meanwhile, while looking at other options and other routes to gain permanent residency and possibly a faster way, I came across this investment opportunity and I chose to pursue it.
I did evaluate other routes. As an example, I looked at the EB-1 category, and for that I would have to be working out of the United States for a year. Basically, it’s the L-1 visa, which I was looking into to come back to the US as a multinational manager. That way I would have been able to qualify for the EB-1 category, but for obvious reasons and my personal commitments, I may not have been able to do that. That is why I was looking at the other options.
Finding an EB-5 Immigration Attorney
As part of my journey through the attorney hiring process, I initially did have conversations with multiple attorneys, I should say more than five. Finally, I was able to find one who was probably best suited to the way I like to work. I was introduced to Anahita George by EB5AN.
Once I spoke to her, maybe in the first couple of minutes, I made up my mind that I was proceeding with this attorney because there are a couple of things that I primarily look at while speaking to an attorney. Each individual might have their own preferences, but for me, ease of communication is the top priority. Also, I want an attorney who has experience working with investors from India and documenting their source of funds.
Documenting source of funds is usually a tedious process. I have a good understanding of this because I have friends and family who’ve gone through the EB-5 process before. Keeping that in mind, I was keenly looking for somebody who had that experience working with Indian investors and documenting their source of funds. With my background coming to the US as an F1 student, I didn’t have all the funds with me available here. So I had to look at other opportunities like taking some gifts from my parents or a couple of other routes to source my money from. And I really wanted somebody who had that experience, which is why I was more inclined toward Anahita; also, communication was my top priority.
Typically the way attorneys work— as I mentioned earlier, I’ve spoken to more than five attorneys—that traditional way that we approach an attorney is by seeking an appointment, and usually there’s a wait time. But in my case, I usually prefer communication to be a bit more quick, where I’ll be able to sort my things out, which is why in this case I felt Anahita was really, really helpful and has some great experience in managing and working on the source of funds documentation. I should really thank EB5AN for showing me the right attorney who was suitable to work with me.
Initially, it took about a couple of weeks for me to work with my attorney and come up with a plan of action on how to source the funds because the majority of it came from India as a gift. Even though it took a couple of weeks, we had it all planned well ahead so that I could start working on the documentation. Typically, I probably spoke to my attorney once every two or three days, a couple of hours each time I connected with her.
Since I had a good understanding of what kind of documentation goes in, I had everything pre-planned and I had my set of documentation with me except for the source of funds. So it roughly took me about two to three months, I should say, to gather all the documentation required to show the proof of funds for this petition. But eventually for me, it took about four months because I had certain delays. In general, it should take about three months.
I should say about 20% of my funds came from the US and the remaining 80% came from India.
Honestly, that was the most important part of my EB-5 journey because an attorney who has that specific experience in documenting the source of funds coming from outside the US is really, really essential.
For me, that was the turning point. That was the main point for me in identifying my attorney.
My suggestion would be to pick an attorney based on the invidual’s comfort level working with them and the attorney’s experience in managing source of funds documentation. Look for someone who has that extensive experience in documenting all of it appropriately and showing all the channels that the funds came through.
Why Did You Choose EB5AN and the Twin Lakes Georgia Project?
Initially, when I decided to pursue the EB-5 route, I started looking at different projects out there in the market. There were a bunch of them, and honestly, it’s a daunting task to evaluate each one of it and zero in on one.
For me, the starting point was EB5AN, having the experience of my colleagues or family talking to EB5AN a year ago. Since I was also part of the discussion, I did learn roughly a year ago about one of the projects that they had. This is why, since I already knew about EB5AN, I immediately started looking at EB5AN and its projects. Then, I came across two of them: the one they have at Wohali in Utah, and the other one at Twin Lakes in Georgia.
After further evaluating both of those projects, I felt my expectations were a bit more aligned with the Twin Lakes Georgia project, which is why I chose to proceed with EB5AN and Twin Lakes. Also, as part of my evaluation, I came across the builders who were involved in both of those projects. With Twin Lakes, there is Kolter, and Kolter has an extensive experience with this kind of projects. They were part of multiple projects and they always paid their investors and also completed their projects on time.
Observing all of these factors, it enabled me to progress towards Twin Lakes Georgia and EB5AN.
The main reason I was looking at Twin Lakes Georgia is because it qualifies for rural. The other reason, they have all the jobs created already. Looking at their latest information, they’re almost halfway through the project (I should say about 30% to 40%); they’ve already completed their construction; the sales are ongoing; and most of the [total EB-5] jobs are already created.
Twin Lakes is also most attractive to me among the other projects because it’s very close to Atlanta, roughly about an hour away from the Atlanta airport itself. I’ve also visited Twin Lakes, Georgia and it’s a lovely place for any senior citizen to live. I imagine myself living there 55+. I told myself, if I’m comfortable living here, then anybody should be able to, right? That’s one of the reasons I moved toward Twin Lakes.
I’ve also looked at another project in Cary, North Carolina. That was a construction of a Western hotel in Cary Downtown. So I’ve evaluated the pros and cons of both having the rural area, Twin Lakes, and also the Western in North Carolina. It’s all about perception and the way we think. It depends on each individual’s method.
At one point, I also thought of going toward the project in North Carolina. Since it’s a hotel, the recovery of investment solely depends on the performance of the hotel. For me as an individual, my focus is on recovering my investment as an investor, provided there’s also a good return on investment. In terms of those aspects, I definitely prefer Twin Lakes over any other project.
Independently from the project, ever since I’ve known EB5AN, if I Google for a regional center, EB5AN will be one of the top three regional centers to come up. Having heard of EB5AN for quite a bit now, and also the credentials of this regional center and of the people who established this regional center. Since I experienced that positive impact, I chose to proceed with EB5AN.
Concluding Advice for Investors
Depending on their personal choices, I would definitely recommend anyone to evaluate any project they’re interested in. I would suggest looking for an appropriate attorney that’s suitable for your situation, example, the source of funds. At the same time, the second aspect is identifying a good regional center, in this case, EB5AN.
In terms of the project itself, I’ve also done independent research with another firm that helped me identify the key aspects of a project and to be more specific about the project that I picked. Even though this other project was rural, it wasn’t in very close proximity to an urban region. Atlanta is a huge city and everything is pretty much feasible for anybody living on the outskirts of that city.
For anybody who’s looking at any project, I would say one of the key aspects is the builder. We have to make sure the builder has that experience in completing their projects and also fulfilling their commitments to all the investors. Also, evaluate their financial background just to make sure there aren’t any legal hassles involved in that specific project.
In terms of their investment, each individual needs to evaluate the return on investment, the internal rate of return (IRR), and also how well a project is established to make a recovery on their investment.