Investing in the U.S.
Investing in the United States via the EB-5 immigrant investor program is about more than investing for financial benefit, it is about creating an avenue for families to have access to the U.S. In terms of economic growth and standard of living, the U.S. has continuously proven to be a dominant player and that is one of the main reasons people relocate to the U.S., it’s a multigenerational benefit. Other reasons why people relocate to the United States include but are not limited to are (1) access to a better healthcare system, (2) access to the best academic institutions providing top quality education, (3) enjoyment of economic stability as the U.S. has the strongest economy in the world, (4) access to excellent career opportunities, and (5) the ability to travel to and enjoy different locations, with 50 different states in the country.
The U.S. provides the best quality of higher education in the world as evident by the fact that 16 out of the top 20 best universities are U.S. institutions. The EB-5 immigrant investor program provides investors and their immediate family members with a green card. As a green card holder, investors and their qualifying dependents can take advantage of the same educational benefits as that of a U.S. citizen. In line with its public policy, the U.S. government endeavours to ensure that every student has access to education irrespective of their socioeconomic status. As such, the U.S. government provides student loans, grants, and scholarships to its students to ensure that they have the means to fulfil their studies.
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program
The United States EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme (known as the EB-5 programme) provides an opportunity for investors and their qualifying dependents to obtain U.S. permanent resident status with a minimum investment of $500,000 in the United States, which must create a minimum of 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers.
The program is designed for the mutual benefit of both the U.S. and the prospective investor. While the foundation of the program is simple to understand, determining eligibility and fulfilling requirements is a very intricate process. According to Shahriar Zamanian (known in the industry as Shai Zamanian) it is imperative that prospective investors seek a qualified EB-5 program consultant to assist with the application process.
An advisor will assist in providing a number of investment options for the foreign national. Once a qualifying project is chosen, the investor will proceed with transferring the investment amount and required fees to the project. The advisor will simultaneously be working on collating the required documents from the investor and putting together the application to be submitted to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in Washington, District of Columbia (DC). The application that will be submitted to Washington, DC is known as the I-526 petition. There are many intricacies involved in completing and submitting the I-526 petition and therefore the assistance of an experienced advisor is greatly valuable throughout this process. Especially from The Middle East, the applications look quite different as many jurisdictions operate under no income taxes or tax free altogether. These nuances that pertain specifically to The Middle East can confuse officers reviewing the petition in Washington D.C., thus certain templates and legal documents would need to be provided.
Once the investor’s I-526 approval comes through from Washington, DC, the investor will either apply for a visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy, such as the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, or apply for adjustment of status if they are already in the U.S. at the time of I-526 approval. The investor will thereafter receive their green card and will be considered a U.S. person.
Changes in the EB-5 Program
On 22 June 2021 the U.S. Federal courts of North Carolina vacated the old EB-5 program rules that required $900,00 capital investment. This ruling required that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) revert back to the old rules of $500,000 investment requirement. This monumental change brought with a surge of EB-5 applications in a short period of time. “At the time of announcement the EB-5 program was facing a June 30 deadline of reauthorization. This meant that all investors that wanted to capture the short window had to act fast and submit all documentation before the final date of the program” says Zamanian, Legal Director of the American Legal Center.
The EB-5 program has not yet been reauthorized since the lapse of the statutory authorization on June 30 2021. The section of the program that has lapsed is the option that allows for Regional Center investment, which makes up the majority of the EB-5 applications. However, industry leaders believe that the program will be reauthorized by September 30, 2021. Once the reauthorization is finalised there will be another surge of applications from investors looking to capitalize on the $500,000 capital investment window. Therefore it is imperative for prospective investors to contact an EB-5 consultant and start the process of getting their application ready for submission before the reauthorization of the program.