Is the EB-5 Program Still Available?
Like most industries, the past year had the EB-5 Program facing new challenges. Despite new program regulations taking shape amidst a global pandemic where travel restrictions were the standard, the program lasted and is now regaining its ever-popular demand.
New EB-5 Program Regulations in 2019
Taking effect on November 21, 2019, USCIS made the first truly significant changes to the EB-5 Program since 1993. Major program changes include:
- Raising minimum investment amounts: Minimum investment amount in a TEA increased from $500,000 to $900,000 and the minimum investment level for non- TEA increased from $1 million to $1.8 million with these amounts automatically adjusting for inflation every five years.
- New TEA designations: the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) took over designating TEA criteria at a federal level, effectively eliminating the state’s ability to designate them based on census tracts.
- EB-5 petitioners allowed to maintain their priority date: Investors facing retrogression who have a previously approved I-526 petition can maintain their priority date should they need to refile for the program because of a change with their invested project.
The Coronavirus Impact on EB-5
Coronavirus shutdown international travel, closed USCIS offices globally, and forced the U.S. government to evaluate all visa categories.
COVID-19 Executive Order
On April 23, 2019, ex-President Trump signed an executive order that banned new visas to immigrants located outside the continental United States, with the EB-5 program being a notable exemption and allowed to remain unaffected. EB-5 investors were permitted to continue applying for the program with no delays to the processing of petitions and deadlines were extended.
History of Reauthorization
On Dec. 27, 2020, ex-President Trump signed a law extending the EB-5 Regional Center Program through June 30, 2021 when the program will be up for reauthorization to legally continue. For 30 years, the EB-5 Regional Center Program has been extended both for long and shorter periods as of recently as authorization has been part of the government’s annual omnibus spending bill that funds either the Department of State or the Department of Homeland Security. Upcoming reauthorization will be contingent on congress coming to agreement on an independent piece of legislation.
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act
Si bien aún no se ha presentado al Congreso ningún proyecto de ley EB-5 independiente, la Ley de Reforma e Integridad EB-5 propone medidas para fortalecer la integridad del programa, patrullar mejor la actividad fraudulenta que ha plagado su reputación, salvaguardar a los inversores extranjeros y reautorizar el Programa del Centro Regional EB-5 hasta el 2025.
While no such independent EB-5 bill has yet been brought to congress, The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act proposes measures to strengthen the integrity of the program, better patrol fraudulent activity that has plagued its reputation, safeguard foreign investors, and reauthorize the Regional Center Program through 2025.
For more information, contact one of our EB-5 experts today!