For a long time, we’ve been hearing talks about a possible change in the rules to apply to EB-5, as it allows for the possibility of obtaining the Green Card many people dream about.
After years of the program’s existence, the first significant change — since 1993 — is about to happen. On July 24, USCIS, the agency responsible for US citizenship and immigration, confirmed the new regulations to apply for the EB-5 process. Among other changes, the main one is related to the value of the initial investment in Regional Centers, which went from US$ 500,000 to US$ 900,000. Applications in other areas rose from US$ 1 million to $ 1.8 million.
Pedro Drummond, an attorney licensed for practicing law in Brazil and the US and a partner at Drummond Advisors, explains: “The US market trend is to increasingly restrict access to EB-5. Despite what you may think, these changes will be good for the program, as increasing the value of the investment increases its quality — which brings more security to participants and the US market.”
In addition to the increase in the value of the investment, there are other important changes in the program: currently, each state can designate underprivileged sectors that qualify as Target Employment Area (TEAs) to attract foreign investors. With the new regulation, only USCIS will have authority over this matter. Another point is that immigrant investors who have a previously approved immigration petition can keep the petition’s priority date accepted when they need to apply again. The new rule also provides for minimum investment values to be adjusted for inflation every five years.
“There is a trend of increasing petitions for EB-5 in the coming months, taking advantage of the lower value. However, it is important to remember that the program is an investment process — with no guarantee of success — so you need to know how to choose the regional center in order to avoid problems and losing the money you’ve invested. That’s why consulting a lawyer specializing in this sector is essential,” Pedro Drummond concludes.
The EB-5 visa program is one of the most sought-after forms by families looking to build a new life project in the United States. Brazilians are the leaders of this type of visa throughout South America. According to recent data from the US Consulate, the number of Brazilians planning to move to Uncle Sam’s land has almost quadrupled from 2014 (1632 visa applications) to 2018 (4300).