HomeImmigrationU.S. EB-5 Golden Visa Program Is Now Full Speed Ahead

U.S. EB-5 Golden Visa Program Is Now Full Speed Ahead

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The U.S. golden visa, officially known as the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, is going full speed ahead as investors can now immediately file their Green Card applications with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). On August 24, 2022, USCIS and the top leading regional centers of the EB-5 program filed a settlement agreement with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California bringing to an end litigation over interpretation of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act (RIA or the Act).

The EB-5 program was created by the U.S. Congress in 1990 to incentivize the injection of foreign capital in the U.S. economy. By virtue of an investment of $800,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the United States, foreign nationals can apply for U.S. Green Cards for themselves, their spouse, and unmarried children under the age of 21. As part of an initiative to make the EB-5 program more attractive to foreign investors, the U.S. Congress initiated the regional center program in 1992 to allow EB-5 applicants to be passive investors in regional center projects and still avail the benefits of the EB-5 program. A regional center is an economic unit in the United States, designated by USCIS, that is involved in promoting economic growth.

The RIA, passed into law by the U.S. Congress in March 2022, improved the EB-5 program for foreign applicants seeking to obtain their U.S. Green Cards. The Act provides further transparency and security for applicants and thus has made the program even more attractive to foreign investors. The U.S. golden visa program is now reauthorized until 2027 and this long-term extension provides security for investors in knowing that the program will remain stable.

For months, the top regional centers and USCIS were in litigation over interpretation of the Act. USCIS had effectively hindered the program from moving forward by requiring regional centers to file Form I-956F. EB-5 investors were only able to file their EB-5 petitions once an I-956F receipt notice had been issued; however, USCIS was delaying the issuance of these receipt notices. In the settlement agreement, the parties agreed to allow EB-5 investors to file their petitions as long as ten calendar days had passed since a regional center had filed its Form I-956F. Therefore, there is no longer a requirement of having received a receipt notice from USCIS prior to filing an EB-5 application.

Additionally, regional centers can continue their operations with their current designation status filed before the passage of the new law. Regional centers now have until December 29, 2022 to file Form I-956 to continue their operations. USCIS has agreed to give deference to previous regional center approvals and project exemplar approvals.

A crucial term of the settlement agreement is that USCIS has agreed to hold quarterly meetings for the next two years with representatives of regional centers in order to discuss the settlement agreement, its implementation, and any modifications necessary to ensure that the EB-5 program is a success. This continuing dialogue between USCIS and regional centers is unprecedented and will be a huge step in making the program more effective for EB-5 investors.

The terms of the settlement agreement have been presented to the presiding judge and will become final once the court provides approval. Once accepted, the doors for EB-5 investments will be opened and investors can submit their applications. EB-5 industry experts expect the presiding judge to provide approval in the next few days.

Upon approval of the settlement agreement, there will be a rush of applications from families looking to immigrate to the United States through the EB-5 program. It is therefore crucial for prospective applicants to work with an experienced EB-5 consultant to begin the process of their application. Families that are still seeking to participate in the EB-5 program should contact the team at The American Legal Center for more information on how they can qualify for the U.S. EB-5 golden visa.


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