The EB-5 Regional Center Program remains in operation at least through March 23, 2018, when the temporary extension expires.
Since 2015, the EB-5 Regional Center Program has been tied to the federal budget. And Congress has reauthorized the program along with the budget on a short-term basis. When Congress and President Trump approved a two-year federal budget in February, they also temporarily extended current funding for federal activities—including the EB-5 program—until March 23, the deadline for drafting a spending bill that reflects the newly passed budget.
What happens to the program after March 23 remains uncertain.
Changes to EB-5?
A foreign national and her or his family can get EB-5 green cards by investing $1 million in a regional center that creates at least 10 full-time jobs. A foreign national only needs to invest $500,000 if the regional center is located in a high unemployment or rural area. A regional center is a business—often a real-estate project—approved by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). While it maintains a list of approved regional centers, USCIS does not guarantee nor endorse the investment.
Given the March 23 deadline, Congress is expected to reauthorize the EB-5 regional program as is in an appropriations bill for the current fiscal year, which ends on Sept. 30.
Still, changes to the EB-5 program are expected this year when Department of Homeland Security finalizes its EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization effort. The highlights of the proposed changes 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 thereby avoiding processing delays.
Currently, USCIS is issuing EB-5 regional center visas to foreign investors from all countries except China, according to the March 2018 Visa Bulletin. Investors from China face a three-and-a-half-year wait for an EB-5 green card.
Let Us Help
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. See our previous blog posts on how to choose a regional center and expediting the EB-5 process. If you need assistance, contact us.