Sanwar Ali: Trump US Visa Update early December 2019

By Sanwar Ali

We are covering the following important US visa related news in this report:

  1. Green Card backlog affecting Indians.  Processing time is so lengthy many Indians will die before gaining a Green Card.
  2. Gaining another nationality to make an E2 Visa application. 
  3. Very high L1 visa denials in India at the US Embassy.

Green Card backlog affecting Indians

Under the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act more employment based immigrant visas (also known as Green Cards) would be available for Indians.  However, this would be at the expense of nationals of other Countries, who are also applicants for Green Cards. Many immigrants and others would like a permanent immigrant visa that enables them to live and work in the US permanently and work for any employer. 

Currently processing times for some immigrant visas are so long for Indians that it is likely that many will die before they obtain a Green Card.  If there is a surviving spouse and children in this situation it is very possible that they will have to leave the Country.

The cap of 140,000 employment based immigrant visas was created in 1965.   Only 7 percent can go to one nationality.  This was intended to prevent discrimination against non-European immigrants. It is now resulting in a huge backlog of Indian applications. 

In view of the huge difficulties in passing legislation through Congress, in reality it is perhaps unlikely that this legislation will ever be passed.  Unfortunately, if legislation is passed and Indians gain more visas then it will mean longer wait times for immigrant visa applicants from other Countries.

Gaining another nationality to make an E2 Visa application

This seems to be becoming more popular among Indian nationals.  However, a national of any Country that is not on the E2 visa or E1 visa Country list may be able to obtain another nationality and apply.  In practice most people are unable to come under the E1 Treaty Trader visa category. If you are willing to spend a minimum of $150,000 it may be possible to gain citizenship of Grenada within a few months.  You can obtain citizenship without travel to Grenada and without any residence requirements. 

If you add together the cost of Grenada citizenship to the cost of an E2 visa as an investor it will be a great deal cheaper than say the EB5 immigrant investor scheme.   With the recent increase in the investment amount to $900,000 for the EB5 investor scheme the Grenada citizenship and E2 investor visa scheme is a great deal cheaper.  The E2 investor amount may be about $100,000.  Taken together with the cost of Grenada citizenship the total cost may be in the region of $250,000 to $300,000.   If you add together all the costs for the EB5 immigrant investor scheme it will probably be about a million US dollars.

Very high L1 visa denials in India at the US Embassy.

Companies with offices in India say that refusal rates are about eighty to ninety percent.  There are complaints that there is an almost impossible standard to meet to gain approvals of L1 visas for entry to the US. This results in significant increases in company costs and wasted company time in making visa applications.  The problem seems to have become much worse since August and September this year.

The attitude at Consulates seems to be that they are more interested in refusals and making it more difficult for companies, than in helping companies with their visa applications.   Currently Consulates are refusing applications based on criteria that is outside the law.  Refusals may be based on having what is seen as too many people in a company who come under L1B specialized knowledge worker category.  There is nothing in the law about this.

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