Congress is set to pass Omnibus spending legislation that includes reauthorization of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program, which has been suspended since June 2021.
The Regional Center Program allows eligible investors to apply for green cards if they make the necessary monetary investment and create or preserve at least 10 permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers – even if those jobs are created indirectly. Regional Centers provide a unique opportunity to foreign investors, granting them access to high-profile developments in the United States they otherwise would not be able to invest in, with the added bonus of a green card for themselves and their immediate family members. Most Regional Center offerings are available at the lower minimum investment amount of $800,000, as they invest in areas identified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as rural or distressed urban or in certain infrastructure programs. A project outside of these defined parameters will cost an EB-5 investor the higher minimum investment amount of at least $1,050,000.
The new legislation re-emphasizes enforcement procedures USCIS has focused on for the last decade: recordkeeping, notice, audits, and site visits. Focused enforcement of these areas gives investors added comfort that their investment funds are being used properly. Moreover, only DHS will have the authority to designate targeted employment areas. A census tract calculation was used to determine these in the past.
When the Omnibus legislation passes, USCIS is expected to start processing applications that have been pending. As existing investors begin receiving adjudications, new investors are encouraged to file sooner, rather than later, to reserve their spot in the notorious processing queue at the USCIS Immigrant Investor Program office.
Applying for a green card through the EB-5 program is a complex process and requires careful planning when choosing the appropriate project and in the sourcing of an investor’s funds.