Like most industries, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected many aspects of the EB-5 program. However, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has continued to process EB-5 petition adjudications throughout the pandemic. Foreign investors looking to obtain an EB-5 visa are still able to prepare for and potentially initiate EB-5 investments.
In order to complete their projects, certain EB-5 investors may need pandemic restrictions pandemic to be lifted. Many U.S. embassies and consulates continue to have their doors shut because of the pandemic. However, these closures do not prevent prospective EB-5 investors from beginning their immigration journey.
Deciding Between Different Types of EB-5 Investments
It is important for any prospective EB-5 investor to evaluate the different types of EB-5 investment and determine which best fits their needs. The best way to begin this process is by talking to an immigration lawyer. Immigration attorneys are available via video chat during the pandemic. They can guide EB-5 investors through decisions like whether they should make a direct or regional center EB-5 investment or if they should invest in a targeted employment area (TEA).
The EB-5 Investment Program’s Requirements
EB-5 investors must be able to invest $900,000 if their project is located in a TEA or $1.8 million if their project is located outside of a TEA. This requirement may also be difficult to satisfy during the pandemic if a potential investor has trouble liquidizing funds.
Once a potential investor has provided the necessary funds, they are encouraged to contact an immigration lawyer. An attorney can help EB-5 investors determine the best types of funds to prove that their investment capital is lawfully sourced.
Decide Why You Are Making an EB-5 Investment
It is important for investors to establish what returns they are looking to make on their EB-5 investments before selecting a project. Most EB-5 investors are more concerned with obtaining a U.S. green card than receiving a high return. If this is the case for you, you may prefer to invest in a project sponsored by a regional center. Investing through a regional center often simplifies the investing process and facilitates the demonstrated job creation requirement, with limited managerial requirements for the investor.
However, if an investor hopes to see high return on their investment, they may choose to make a direct EB-5 investment. Direct investors have more control over their capital, although this often comes with increased managerial requirements.
Evaluate Investment Risk Levels
It is essential that potential EB-5 investors conduct thorough due diligence before selecting a project. EB5AN has produced an EB-5 Project Risk Assessment Questionnaire to help investors evaluate the financial and immigration risks associated with a project.
The questionnaire is not the only tool to determine whether an EB-5 investment project fits an investor’s needs. Investors should also look through the documentation of a project. This paperwork may seem tedious but will offer potential investors insight into whether the majority of a regional center’s I-526 and I-829 petitions were approved and if they have returned investors’ funds.