The EB-5 Program has seen a lot of changes in the last year. We’ve put together a list of the top questions in the industry to help you navigate all this change while taking advantage of the $500,000 investment level.
Did the EB-5 Visa Program Expire?
No. The EB-5 Direct Program never expires; however, on the 30th of June 2021 the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program authorization expired. Congress introduced the EB-5 Regional Center Program in 1992 as a pilot program. It requires continual reauthorization by Congress. The current lapse in authorization is expected to be temporary as over 90% of all EB-5 investment is made through Regional Centers.
Is the USCIS accepting EB-5 Visa petitions?
Yes. The USCIS is accepting and processing EB-5 Direct Program applications. The Regional Center Program is only one part of the EB-5 Program. In 1990 Congress created the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program, also called the EB-5 Direct Investment Program. The Direct Investment Program is permanent; it does not require reauthorization. The USCIS is accepting EB-5 Visa petitions under the Direct Investment Program. Investors who are not seeking a visa under the Regional Center Program can file their I-526 petition.
Does the temporary minimum investment apply to the EB-5 Direct Investment Program?
Yes. The USCIS has confirmed that they will temporarily utilize the EB-5 regulations that were in place before the EB-5 Modernization Rule, including:
- The required standard minimum investment amount of $1 million and the minimum investment amount for investment in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) of $500,000;
- No priority date retention based on an approved Form I-526;
- Permitting state designations of high unemployment TEAs; and
- Prior USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence.
On the 22nd of June, a California federal court invalidated the EB-5 Modernization Rule, which raised the minimum EB-5 investment from $500,00 to $900,000. Without an injunction to prevent its reinstatement, there is no timeline for how long this change may be valid.
How does investing through a Regional Center differ from an EB-5 Direct Investment?
Although these two programs are very similar, there are a couple of differences in how the EB-5 investor fulfills the EB-5 Program requirements.
Job Creation Calculations
Investing through an EB-5 Regional center expands how the job creation requirement may be fulfilled, counting indirect and direct jobs.
Direct EB-5 Investments must directly create the 10 jobs. If you invest in a hotel, an example of a direct job is a concierge employee. There is an employer-employee relationship between the hotel and the concierge position. The business you invest in must employ the 10 U.S. workers to meet the job creation requirement.
Time and Type of Investment
When EB-5 applicants invest in the Direct Investment Program, they must commit more to the management of the new commercial enterprise than an applicant who invests through a Regional Center Program. For this reason, most EB-5 Direct investments are equity investments, and investments made through Regional Centers are typically debt/loan investments.
Regional Centers source and vet projects for EB-5 investors. Part of this is creating the necessary business documents the investor needs for their I-526 petition. They also oversee the investment, qualify the job creation and the investor’s source of funds.
Direct EB-5 Investors can source their own projects and create the necessary business documents or seek the services of an EB-5 expert like ICC. Our deep understanding of the EB-5 program requirements provides valuable assistance to direct EB-5 investors. We help source and vet projects that will meet EB-5 immigration needs but are also quality investments. Coordinate the USCIS EB-5 compliant business plan, TEA documentation, and all considerations for your I-526 petition.
All EB-5 investors must make a capital investment in a new commercial enterprise that will create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The minimum qualifying investment is $1,800,000, reduced to $900,000 USD if the investment is made in Targeted Employment Area (TEA). Due to the June 22, 2021 court ruling, the investment levels are currently $1,000,000 and $500,000 USD, respectively.
Do you have any vetted companies ready to work with direct EB-5 Investors at the $500,000 investment level?
Yes. We currently have 2 different projects with a total of 8 available investor positions. Contact us for details.
ICC offers EB-5 Direct Consulting Services focused on investment and immigration success. We source and pre-qualify projects for EB-5 investors, only selecting projects that are quality investments and meet EB-5 immigration needs. We guide the investor and company through the entire process. Coordinate the USCIS EB-5 compliant business plan, TEA documentation, and all considerations for the your I-526 petition (EB-5 visa application).