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What the future of the US EB-5 Green Card looks like

4 min read
Green Card Wastage

The EB-5 Green Card Program has always been a topic of discussion and chaos among highly influential investors. However the EB-5 program has enjoyed a good history, it also had its share of issues and contentions that numerous investors find as hard to understand.

This article will talk about probably the most common assumptions investors might have in regards to the EB-5 visa, particularly after the program has been put on a “stop” as the deadline to expand the visa by the U.S Congress ended on June 30.

EB-5 Green Card Program Expired or Not?

No, it’s not. EB-5 investors who wish to invest in a non-regional center can continue submitting their I-526 petitions for approval in exchange for conditional and unconditional green cards. Kindly understand that main the EB-5 regional center program has expired. However, it’s also true that most applications in the last decade have been submitted through regional centers only. The lapse does affect these candidates.

EB-5 Investor Immigration Component

A proposed law includes an EB-5 investor immigration component to renew the Regional Center EB-5 Green Card program. There is speculation that a sum of $750,000 will be needed as a minimum investment in all EB-5 programs. Investors can come to the U.S temporarily while they await the approval of their EB-5 petitions. There will also be a premium processing option for them. If the bill is passed, the USCIS will resume its operations and accept new applications.

Reauthorization of the EB-5 Program

Numerous stakeholders hope that the EB-5 regional center will soon be attached to its proceeding resolution, and the program is reauthorized once again. We are hopeful that the reauthorization will occur in February 2022. It is also possible that the deadline will be extended for another 2-3 months. This will rely upon the action on the consensus draft in the Senate. More members have communicated their help for the Grassley, Leahy bill to address fraud and national security vulnerabilities in the EB-5 investor visa Regional Center Program been exploited and abused for years.

Please, be guaranteed that the U.S is not going to get rid of the EB-5 regional center program. The program will continue to act as a critical component of the U.S.’s economic prosperity. The EB-5 industry has been working proactively with Congress and the key decision-makers to make suitable amendments to the program and fix flaws that invite fraud and abuse.

The current status of pending I-526 forms. What will happen to them?

This is probably the greatest question raised by alien investors with pending I-526 petitions. On 4th October 2021, USCIS updated its site and notified the users about the current lapse of the EB-5 Regional Center Program.

It further confirmed that no applications would be accepted under the regional center unless Congress has reauthorized the program. A similar will hold for Form I-485 applications which permit adjustment of status to permanent residence.

[January 2022 Visa Bulletin]

USCIS also said that for any Form I-526 applications and I-485 applications pending as of June 30, 2021, USCIS will put these applications on hold until 31st December 2021. USCIS will monitor these applications based on the progress of legislation before the U.S. Congress. If Congress fails to adopt any reauthorization by 31st December 2021, the USCIS could reject pending I-526 petitions.

However, Congress might pass another EB-5 bill while addressing the issue of grandfathering the current investors. They are in the middle of finishing their application process based on the rules that were in place before the lapse occurred.

Current regime- The minimum investment amount

The immigrant investor should invest sufficient capital in a new commercial enterprise that generates no less than ten jobs for Americans. They must invest at least $1,000,000 in general or $500,000 in a targeted employment area. This is applicable for petitions filed before 21st November 2019. Post this date, the amount is $1,800,000 or $900,000, respectively, and automatically increases 1st October 2024, and every five years after that.

How does regional center expiration affect quota dates?

All direct EB-5 petitions will have an impact because of the lapse. All regional centers have ended their operations due to the expiration or until the program is restored. 10,000 visas are given yearly, and no nation gets over 7% of all visas or 700 slots. While China had been the most significant source of EB-5 petitions for a long time, applications from India have also picked up since 2017.

So, candidates will not face the quota backlog if the program gets reauthorized. However the quota backlog will be extensive, USCIS will still process them based on the latest amendments.

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