Created in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors, the EB-5 Program provides a path to permanent residence (a “green card”) based on a qualifying investment in a commercial enterprise. Investors may qualify for EB-5 classification by investing through Regional Centers designated by USCIS. A Regional Center is an economic unit, public or private, that promotes economic growth in the United States, such as improved regional productivity, increased domestic capital investment, and job creation.
Enacted on March 15, 2022, the RIA reauthorized the expired Regional Center program through September 2027 and made substantial changes to the EB-5 Program. One key change was to the investment amounts. The usual minimum investment is now $1,050,000. An investment in a qualified Targeted Employment Area, however, requires a minimum investment of only $800,000.
Prior to the RIA, adjustment of status applications for EB-5 investors could not be concurrently filed with the EB-5 petition. With an average processing time of up to five years, EB-5 investors had a long wait before continuing to the next step of the permanent residence process. The RIA permits EB-5 investors to file adjustment of status applications concurrently with the EB-5 petition if an immigrant visa is available in the EB-5 quota. This enables EB-5 investors to remain lawfully present in the United States while pursuing permanent residence.
The RIA requires greater transparency for the EB-5 process. Under the RIA, EB-5 promoters must register with USCIS before beginning promotional activities. In addition, the EB-5 petition must provide written disclosure of all fees, ongoing interest, and compensation paid to agents, finders, or broker dealers. Although submitting a copy of the written agreement is not a requirement for the EB-5 petition, the written agreement must be made available for review if requested by USCIS.
USCIS will hold a virtual stakeholder event on the EB-5 Program on October 19, 2022. Anticipated topics in the Q&A portion of the event include long USCIS processing times and USCIS Requests for Evidence that ask for information and documents beyond the scope of the standard of proof required by immigration law, regulations, and the EB-5 Program. We will provide an update following the event.
If you have questions about the EB-5 Program and other changes made by the RIA, Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to assist.