The EB-5 is a type of visa in the United States that provides a pathway to permanent residency tailored to investors that are immigrants, informally known as “green card holders”. The process was created in 1990 as part of the Immigration Act. It involves substantial investment in an american business and should employ at least 10 american citizens.
There have been some important updates on the EB-5 Visa Program regarding the process involved in obtaining an EB-5 visa. As of July 1st, 2021, the EB-5 Regional Center Program has lapsed due to the United States Congress not being able to authorize extension of the program, despite bipartisan effort. This may concern potential applicants or recipients of the visa regarding their immigration status so we hope the following points offer some clarity.
The USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) issued a guidance on June 30th, 2021 on the EB-5 Program which states:
- New I-526 Petitions – USCIS will not at this time accept any new I-526 applications.
- Pending I-526 Petitions – USCIS will not currently act on any pending I-526 applications until further notice and all such pending applications will be on hold. If you were issued written correspondence by USCIS regarding your petition on or before June 30, 2021, please review the written correspondence and if necessary, respond by the due date by consulting your immigration attorney. USCIS has confirmed that they will receive and maintain any such responses for review if circumstances in the Program change.
- Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status) – At this time, USCIS will be unable to act on any Form I-485 based on approved Form I-526 unless a visa through the Program is reauthorized.
We will be updating this space with any further guidance given by USCIS, in addition to developments on reauthorization.
Anxiety does not need to set in as the program has previously had similar reauthorization gaps. The current bi-partisan support in Congress and the important contributions the program has made to the United States should ideally mean that the extension and reauthorization of the program should occur shortly. On June 22nd, 2021, the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California ruled to vacate the regulations, passed in November, 2019, which had increased the minimum investment amount from $500,000 to $900,000 in TEA-qualified projects. So currently, the minimum required investment of $500,000 is being upheld. However, if and when the program is reauthorized, it is not clear whether the minimum investment requirement will stay at $500,000 or increase to $900,000.
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