Indians are some of the most entrepreneurial people in the world, involved in all industries, but especially technology and IT services.
Many Indian investors, entrepreneurs, business people, businesses, and startups consider migrating to the United States or opening a branch office in America.
While US immigration is always a complex web, options are available for Indian nationals.
Aside from family-based immigration, as well as the H-1B work visa which is already well known, the L-1 Intracompany Transfer Visa and EB-5 Immigrant Investor programs prove to be popular strategic options amongst Indians.
The L-1 visa allows an Indian business to transfer an executive, manager or skilled worker to the United States, as long as that person has worked for the Indian company for at least one year out of the last three years.
The L-1 is a strong option for Indian startups and businesses looking to open a branch office in the United States. This is possible even if the business model of the US business is different from the India business, making it an option for entrepreneurs starting new ventures in the US as well.
The L-1 visa holder can file for adjustment of status once in the US if they desire to become permanent residents. It is advantageous over H-1B as it is not subject to annual caps and lotteries. In addition the spouse of an L-1 visa holder can obtain work authorization, something not available to H-1B holders.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor program has been extremely popular with wealthy Chinese citizens, but Indian nationals are beginning to adopt this option that allows an individual and his/her family to obtain permanent residency (green cards) in the USA by investing $500,000 or $1 million in the United States and creating a certain amount of jobs. While direct investment is an option, many choose to invest in Regional Centers who manage the investment and compliance, removing much of the burdens from the immigrant. Trustworthy Regional Centers must be chosen, as compliance as well as return of the capital investment are crucial.
The EB-5 program results in an immediate green card, valid for two years of conditional permanent residency. The conditions can be removed by demonstrating the investment complied with the program requirements, resulting in permanent residency. The immigrant and immediate family may naturalize to become US citizens after five years of permanent residency.
If you are interested in these options, speak to a qualified US immigration lawyer experienced with Indian investor and business immigration.