President Trump and Congress gave foreign investors an early holiday gift.
For the third time this year, Trump and Congress extended the EB-5 Regional Center visa program without any changes—this time until January 19, 2018. Legislation to extend the federal budget for government programs and services through that date included extending EB-5 as is.
Under the EB-5 program, a foreign national and her or his family can get green cards by investing $1 million in a regional center that creates at least 10 full-time jobs. A regional center is a business—often a real-estate project—approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the regional center is located in a high unemployment or rural area, a foreign national only needs to invest $500,000.
Since 2015, Congress has reauthorized the EB-5 program as is on a short-term basis.
However, the Department of Homeland Security is set to finalize its EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization effort as early as February. The highlights of the proposed changes to the EB-5 program under the modernization effort include:
- Increasing the minimum investment amount in a high unemployment or rural area to $1.35 million from $500,000. Elsewhere, the minimum investment increases to $1.8 million from $1 million.
- Adjusting the investment amounts every Oct. 1 by the Consumer Price Index starting five years after the new minimum investment amounts go into effect.
- Making the requirements for rural or high unemployment designated areas more restrictive. USCIS will now be responsible for determining high unemployment and rural areas under the EB-5 program.
- Allowing EB-5 investors to retain priority dates of previously approved petitions to avoid processing delays.
Currently, USCIS is issuing EB-5 regional center visas to foreign investors from all countries except China, according to the January 2018 Visa Bulletin. Investors from China face a three-year wait for an EB-5 green card.
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The Alcorn team believes immigration yields innovation. That belief informs everything we do, including assisting investors with applying for EB-5 green cards or exploring alternatives. Let us show you what we can do for you. Contact us.