The EB-5 immigrant investor program allows foreign nationals to obtain US. residency (“green cards”) and eventually citizenship for themselves and their families through investment in the U.S.
On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed the “EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022”. Following the lapse of the EB-5 Regional Centre Program on June 30, 2021, this new act reauthorizes the Regional Centre Program and introduces changes to the EB-5 program for both Regional Centre & Direct Investment EB-5 Investors. These changes may protect immigrant investors from predatory actors and combat fraud, in addition to speeding up the green card application process in many cases.
The program will be in effect through Sept. 30, 2027. We are reviewing the new legislation and will provide additional guidance. The EB-5 program seeks to attract international investment and stimulate the U.S. economy by providing a pathway to residency and citizenship for foreign nationals in exchange for making job-creating investments into U.S. businesses.
The Act implements several major changes to the EB-5 visa program both for Regional Centre Investors and Direct Investment Investors:
- New Minimum Investment Thresholds: The Minimum Investment amount is $1,050,000, which is reduced to $800,000 if the investment project is located in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or is an Infrastructure Project. A TEA includes an area of high unemployment or a rural area, and must qualify under the same requirements as the previous EB-5 regulations that were introduced in 2019. An infrastructure project is a public works project in which a governmental entity is the job-creating entity that receives the EB-5 capital from the new commercial enterprise.
- Concurrent Adjustment of Status: Another significant change will allow certain investors to apply for green cards and work permits much faster. Investors and their dependents who are already legally in the United States (i.e. by virtue of possessing a non-immigrant visa such as an F-1 student visa, H-1B Specialty Occupation Worker visa or possessing some other form of legal status in the United States) may now file a form I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status simultaneously with the initial I-526 Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, if a visa is currently available. Investor’s whose I-526 is pending may also do the same.
- Good Faith Investor Protection: The bill adds protections for innocent investors whose Regional Centre or Investment projects are terminated or debarred. As long as the investment arrangements were generally qualified, Investors may associate with replacement entities or make additional investments to meet the job creation and investment requirements of the program.
- Redeployment: The bill formally enacts USCIS Redeployment policy for completed projects with Investors who need to maintain their investment at risk. Specifically, the Act reinforces USCIS’ interpretation that, investor funds may be redeployed to meet the sustained at-risk investment requirement if all the requisite jobs were created and the redeployment is at risk in a commercial activity. Thankfully, the funds may be redeployed into commercial activities across the USA rather than being limited to the Regional Centre’s currently approved area of activity.
- Increased scrutiny and monitoring of Regional Centres and other EB-5 actors: In order to combat fraud, or unscrupulous actors taking advantage of foreign investors, the Bill enacts several measures to ensure the integrity of the program including requiring USCIS to audit each Regional Centre every 5 years, requiring third party agent fees to be disclosed, requiring registration of direct & third-party promoters, implements fund administration guidelines, creates an “Integrity fund”, requires Regional Centres to be operated only by U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents.
- All Pooled Investments must go through Regional Centres: The Reform law requires all pooled investments (i.e., 2 or more EB-5 investors working together to invest in a single project to create jobs) to be sponsored by a Regional Centre.
- Indirect Job Limits: Indirect jobs (i.e., jobs counted towards the EB-5 job creation requirement that are not direct, full-time employees of the investment project) can count for no more than 90% of the EB-5 jobs, and only 75% of jobs can be from impacts from construction lasting less than 2 years (and those count only to the extent of the fraction of a two-year period).
How to apply EB-5 US visa?
- File Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor.
- After we approve your Form I-526 petition, either:
- File DS-260, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration, with the U.S. Department of State to obtain an EB-5 visa abroad to seek admission to the United States; or
- File Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, with USCIS to adjust status to a conditional permanent resident within the United States. Once we approve your Form I-485 application or upon admission into the United States with an EB-5 immigrant visa, we will grant conditional permanent residence to the EB-5 investor and derivative family members for a two-year period.
- File Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, within the 90-day period immediately before the second anniversary of your admission to the United States as a conditional permanent resident.
If USCIS approves this petition, we will remove the conditions from your lawful permanent resident status and any dependents you included.
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 will significantly alter the EB-5 space and process, and may make the program safer and more flexible, while allowing certain investors to obtain green card and work permits more quickly. Current and potential EB-5 investors should consult qualified immigration attorneys to better understand how the Act will affect the specifics of their case.
Novaturient is a Licensed Immigration consultant that offer Visa services in acquiring Permanent Resident Visa, Student Visa and Visit Visa for countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Schengen Countries and the UK.
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