For many years, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has been considered one of the most practical and rewarding visa-by-investment programs in the world. Even though the EB-5 investment industry is governed by numerous regulations, the basics of the program are relatively straightforward: Foreign nationals must make an investment in a qualifying new commercial enterprise (NCE) or a troubled business. This EB-5 investment must comply with all United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) guidelines—for instance, the EB-5 capital must remain at risk and be sourced legally. As of July 2021, the required minimum amounts for EB-5 investments are $500,000 for targeted employment area (TEA) projects and $1,000,000 for non-TEA projects. Moreover, each EB5 investment must generate or preserve at least 10 full-time jobs.
Foreign nationals who comply with the above regulations become eligible to apply for conditional permanent resident status. Later, they can become lawful permanent residents of the United States. Even though some other countries offer investor visas, the minimum required investment amounts may be significantly higher than those of the EB-5 program. Clearly, the EB-5 investment visa is the best way for foreign nationals to fulfill their dream of relocating to the United States.
However, some interested foreign nationals may hesitate to make an EB5 investment due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in difficulties for many EB-5 investment projects in 2020. Additionally, the sudden changes in EB-5 regulations that took place in June 2021 may cause foreign nationals to question the program’s stability—after all, the regional center program expired temporarily on June 30, just a few days after the controversial Modernization Rule was overturned on June 22.
Despite these factors, potential EB-5 investors can be sure that the program is still up and running. In fact, now may be the ideal time to make an EB-5 investment. Interested foreign nationals would do well to consider the main benefits of participating in the EB-5 investment program.
The EB-5 Program Continues During the Pandemic
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has not ended as of August 2021, USCIS continues to process I-526 petitions, which means that EB-5 investments can still be made. The pandemic may even have benefitted the EB-5 investment industry to some extent: Since unemployment has increased throughout the United States, many more parts of the country could potentially be considered as TEAs. As a result, more investors might be able to invest at the lower minimum amount of $500,000.
Family Members Also Qualify for Green Cards
The EB-5 investor is not the only one who will benefit from participating in the program—their immediate family members will also qualify to receive permanent resident status. The investor’s spouse and any unmarried children under the age of 21 will be entitled to enjoy life in the United States. Further, this opportunity will enable the investor’s children to experience the United States’ world-class education system.
EB-5 Investors Can Apply for U.S. Citizenship
Undoubtedly, one of the most significant benefits of making an EB5 investment is the opportunity to obtain U.S. citizenship. After holding permanent resident status for at least five years (this period includes two years of conditional permanent residency), the investor and their family can submit Form N-400 and apply to become citizens of the United States. U.S. citizenship will enable the family to vote in the United States, travel abroad without restrictions, and even hold dual citizenship if their country of origin allows it.
These are just some of the many advantages of participating in the EB-5 program. Of course, foreign nationals who want to begin the path to permanent resident status will need guidance to navigate the many regulations on the EB-5 industry. To that end, they should consult EB-5 specialists and immigration attorneys, who can help them identify suitable projects and comply with all USCIS guidelines.