A little-known visa category, EB-5, is opening doors to the dream-destination US. At half a million dollars, its price tag is stiff, but does away with the hassles of the popular H1-B and L-1visas.
EB-5 is an Immigration Investor programme by the US government which, through an investment of $500,000 (around ₹3.3 crore), guarantees US citizenship within 18 months and helps a person get a permanent work permit.
Techies, start-ups, students and high net worth individuals (HNIs) are looking at this option instead of taking the H1-B or the L-1 visa route, Sachin Chandavarkar, Vice-President, New Initiatives, Essel Group, which processes visa applications in this category, tells BusinessLine. With EB-5, professionals can work for any employer without the limitations of H1-B visa sponsorship.
Sudhir Vedantham, who holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, could not take up work with an American defence contractor. The reason, he says, was certain ‘sensitive’ parts of that project were “off limits for non-US citizens.”
A Green Card would have worked. But to land one it would, typically, take seven years and multiple H-1/L1 applications. This made him consider the EB-5 visa.