Gateway to Opportunity: Unveiling the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
An article written by Brian Ostar, the President of EB5 Capital
We live in a world where opportunities for financial growth and personal advancement are highly sought after—many dream of living, working, and raising their families in a country where opportunities abound. While there are many paths to achieving this dream, the United States offers one such path – the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program – also known as the “EB-5 Program,” which has existed for over 30 years. The Program’s main objectives are to bring new capital to economically depressed neighborhoods in the United States and create new jobs for US workers. Over the years, the EB-5 program has experienced numerous pauses, reforms, and restarts, each with significant implications for both the immigrant investors and the U.S. economy. This article explores the history of the EB-5 program, its benefits, and changes under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022.
EB-5 in a Nutshell
The EB-5 program is open for applicants from all countries and allocates approximately 10,000 visas annually for foreign investors seeking permanent residency (Green Card) in the United States. Investors and their family members (spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence if they make the required minimum investment into a US job-creating business development project. An applicant must prove their investment will create or preserve at least 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified US workers. After maintaining a Green Card for five years, the investor and their dependent family members may be eligible to apply for US Citizenship, if desired.
Benefits to Investors
The EB-5 visa is a potential pathway for many investors who are seeking greater security, prosperity, and a new life in the United States. The EB-5 Program offers the following benefits:
● Permanent residency with the option of applying for US citizenship;
● Access to the US education system at the same cost as US citizens;
● Freedom to live, work, and retire anywhere in the US, and also travel easily to other countries;
● Access to the same high-quality healthcare available to US citizens;
● No language or experience requirements to be eligible for the program;
● Applicants on a valid non-immigrant status already living in the US may be granted a work and travel permit and remain in the US while their EB-5 petition is under review.
- Active investment in an applicant’s own business.
- Passive investment in a project offered by an EB-5 Regional Center. EB-5 Regional Centers are organizations authorized by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to receive and manage EB-5 investor funds.
For those exploring the EB-5 path, it is crucial to conduct thorough due diligence on Regional Centers and the projects they offer. Generally, the longer a company has been around, the more likely it has successfully weathered the industry’s challenges. Since the EB-5 industry is constantly evolving and can be volatile at times, a Regional Center’s longevity should signal to prospective investors its stability and success. The true test of a Regional Center’s track record is whether they have repeatedly led investors through the full immigration and investment cycle, with a 100% project approval rate and the return of capital.
New Start – The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (“RIA”)
The United States government created the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program in 1990 in an effort to attract foreign investment and boost economic growth. For many years, the EB-5 investment amount was $500,000 for projects located in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs) and $1 million for non-TEA projects. The RIA introduced several significant changes to the EB-5 Program. Notably, the minimum investment amount increased from $500,000 to $800,000, marking the first increase in the program’s history. Additionally, the program was extended through September 30, 2027, providing a longer-term reauthorization than we had seen in many years. Most importantly, the RIA includes new integrity measures and requires greater transparency to protect investors.
As the United States continues to seek ways to boost its economy and create employment opportunities, the EB-5 program remains a valuable tool for harnessing the power of foreign investment. After the COVID-19 pandemic and the nearly year-long expiration of the EB-5 Program in Congress, the EB-5 industry is thriving once again, under the RIA.