Excellent news for all those foreign investors who either missed the supposed prior deadline to file their EB-5 Direct Investment Visa application, before the proposed minimum investment threshold increased and for those that would still like to capitalize on this extremely popular investment visa/green card program!
In the wake of tremendous changes taking place in Washington under the new administration, many government programs are experiencing budget cuts, changing their parameters, or are being axed altogether. In a time when immigration and foreign investment are hot-button issues, those who are interested in investing or bringing their business to the United States must keep an eye on the news to ensure their plans are still viable. Fortunately for foreign investors, Congress passed its budget on May 3, 2017, and has decided to continue the EB-5 Direct Investment Visa Program through September 30, 2017.
EB-5 Direct Investment Visa History & Requirements
The EB-5 Direct Investment Visa was established by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Since 1992, the EB-5 Program has been reauthorized 10 times, with its most recent reauthorizations prior to 2017 passing on September 30, 2016, and December 11, 2015. Investors seeking to obtain this visa must create or support the continued existence of at least 10 full-time U.S. jobs through their investment, and maintain these jobs for at least 2-3 years. As an investor visa, the EB-5 is unique in that investors under this category are eligible to apply for permanent residency (green card) for themselves and their families, making it highly appealing to job creators who wish to make the United States their permanent home.
Currently, investors must have at least $1,000,000 in capital to qualify for an EB-5 visa. The exception is for those who wish to invest in areas with high unemployment, known as “Targeted Employment Areas,” or “TEAs.” In these areas, the minimum investment is $500,000, which serves as an incentive for investors to reinvigorate some of America’s most vulnerable, disadvantaged communities. For both investors and U.S. workers, the continued existence of the EB-5 Direct Investment Visa enriches the lives and communities of all involved and offers opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.
Although the future of the EB-5 Visa is secure for the time being, several changes will be implemented over the next several months, which could make obtaining this visa more difficult for many investors, but which are unlikely to deter those committed to doing business in the United States long-term. On January 13, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) delivered the proposed “EB-5 Modernization Rule,” which mandated an increase in the minimum investment threshold in TEAs from $500,000 to $1,350,000, and from $1,000,000 to $1,800,000 for investments in non-qualifying areas.
The definition of what constitutes a TEA is also set to change. The Rule calls for the redefinition and restriction of what areas can be considered “TEAs,” limiting the number of areas where investors can take advantage of the lower minimum investment threshold. The final details of these changes are currently being discussed by the Department of Homeland Security, and they are expected to take effect between Summer and early Autumn of 2017. As more details unfold we will update you with additional information.
Because the EB-5 Direct Investment Visa has contributed so significantly to U.S. employment and the economy at large since its inception in 1990, this program is likely to remain an excellent option for foreign investors who intend to seek permanent residency in the United States for many years to come. As changes to the program are finalized and implemented, JDC Consultancy will strive to keep its clients informed throughout the process of obtaining an EB-5 Visa to help them on their path to becoming proud job creators, and permanent resident green card holders as a result of their substantial financial contribution to the United States.