The COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented crisis in the modern world, has changed the world as we know it. The health crisis has already deeply affected the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, forcing the temporary closure to the public of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offices across the nation and the suspension of routine visa services at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. As the world begins to lift restrictions and emerge from the pandemic, how will international travel and immigration be affected?
While we have never experienced a pandemic of this magnitude in modern times, we have experienced other crises that have affected travel and immigration demand. The September 11 terrorist attacks initially spurred a major decrease in travel demand, but the dip lasted only a few years before people’s wanderlust returned. Travel and immigration were hit again in 2008, when the global recession saw countless trips canceled and reduced travel budgets at corporations, but again, a few years later, consumers and companies alike took to the roads—and sky—once more to travel around the world.
Neither of these crises caused the same level of global disruption as COVID-19 has, so it may take longer for the travel and immigration industries to recover this time—but nothing is certain. The pandemic has remained unpredictable since its debut, and the aftermath may be equally as unpredictable. Airlines, hotels, restaurants, and other travel-related industries have been hit particularly hard by the shutdowns, but at the same time, people have expressed a desire to travel after being confined to their homes for so long. As the crisis begins to subside and people feel safer and safer, more and more of them will regain their desire to travel and immigrate.
Coming out of the pandemic, some foreign investors may be dissatisfied with the way their country handled the crisis or feel insecure about the poor-quality medical infrastructure in their homeland. They may feel safer in the United States, which boasts the world’s most advanced medical facilities. Coupled with the nation’s world-renowned educational institutions and world-class business opportunities, immigrants will continue to set their sights on the United States for a new and better life.
The EB-5 Program Will Facilitate Immigration After COVID-19
Immigration even outside of a pandemic is a difficult and complicated process. For foreign investors who wish to relocate to the United States, the EB-5 program is one of the fastest and easiest ways to achieve this dream. While countless EB-5 investors have had their new lives put on hold because they couldn’t apply for visas due to the consulate closures, the world is beginning to open back up. On June 4, USCIS began reopening its U.S. offices to the public, allowing appointments and other in-person services that had been suspended during the shutdowns.
Prospective EB-5 investors interested in the program should consult with an immigration attorney to discuss the best options for them. For an investment of $1.8 million or $900,000—depending on the targeted employment area (TEA) status of the EB-5 project—they can gain U.S. permanent resident status for themselves and their immediate family members. Indeed, a post-pandemic life in the United States would spell a brighter future for countless families around the world.