Investors, for example, high-net-worth people based in India and Indian nationals holding H-1B visas who had applied under the EB-5 investment-linked green card program through ‘regional centers’ can now breathe easy. As indicated by an appropriations legislation passed by the US Congress, the EB-5 ‘Regional Center’ Program will be reauthorized through the fiscal year 2027.
This program had lapsed on 30th June 2021. Since then, almost 80,000 investors (mainly from China, followed by India), had been caught in limbo as the processing of their green card applications had come to a standstill. They faced an uncertain future and feared losing their investment money.
For new EB-5 investors, the minimum investment amount expanded from $500,000 to $800,000 for investments in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) or infrastructure projects, and from $1,000,000 to $1,050,000 for investments in non-TEAs. Starting 1st January 2027, and every five years thereafter, the investment limits will be hiked.
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, 2022, also allocates a part of the EB-5 immigrant visa quota to investments in rural areas, high unemployment areas, and infrastructure projects.
US Congress revives EB-5 regional center program
Lately, the EB-5 program has become increasingly famous among US-based Indians owing to a short wait of ten-odd years. As compared to a decades-long wait of acquiring an employment-based green card. Traditionally, under the EB-5 program, 90% of investments are routed through regional centers. As opposed to the other available route of direct investment, where the investor sets up his own business in the US.
As indicated by Mitch Wexler, partner at Fragomen, a worldwide immigration law firm. “With the reauthorization, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be able to accept new Regional Center filings and continue to adjudicate pending cases that were suspended after last year’s program expiration. However, it isn’t yet clear when the agency will do such. An announcement is expected in the coming weeks.”
The Act contains grandfathering provision to protect the current investors. Wexler clarifies that it restricts the denial applications based on the expiration of the ‘regional center’ program and directs USCIS. To continue to allocate green cards to applications whose regional-center cases were filed before 30th September 2026. Also, the new regulation allows great-faith investors to complete the permanent residence process. Despite the termination or debarment of an EB-5 entity or Regional Center.
Stakeholders have largely invited the new guideline. Suresh Rajan, Executive Chairman, and Founder, LCR Capital Partners, said. “The Act brings invite changes that will affect investors, regional centers, and third parties. We look forward to operating in an environment with improved processing times, additional compliance measures, and more protection for investors.”
“We, alongside all our investors, are excited that a long-term reauthorization of the EB-5 Program has finally been won. The predictability that a long-term reauthorization. Along with sought-after provisions like grandfathering, will safeguard our investors,” said Tom Rosenfeld, President, and CEO of CanAm.