EB-5 Regional Center Program Authorization

The EB-5 Regional Center Program, which was suspended since June 30, 2021, will restart. The U.S. Congress included in the  government spending bill the authorization and reform of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, referred to as the “EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act”.

After nearly 8.5 months in lapse the EB-5 Regional Center Program may be authorized until September 30, 2027 – with the following significant changes, among others:

Investment Amounts

  • Investment amounts would increase to $800,000 in Targeted Employment Areas (TEA’s), geographic areas designated by the appropriate government authority as priority high-unemployment areas, and $1,050,000 in non-TEAs with investment amounts adjusted for inflation every five years starting January 1, 2027.

Concurrent Filing of EB-5 Petition and Application to Adjust Status

  • Investors in the United States will be able to concurrently file their EB-5 petitions along with their application for a “conditional” green card, which adjusts status from a “non-immigrant” to a conditional permanent resident if a visa is available.

“Grandfathering” Existing Investors

  • If Congress fails to authorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program after its expiration September 30, 2027, DHS shall continue to process petitions filed on or before September 30, 2026 – preventing a repeat of what has happened to existing EB-5 regional center investors since June 30, 2021.

Visa set-asides

  • The approximately 10,000 EB-5 visas available every year (including dependents) will include set-asides for the following categories:
    • Rural Projects (20%) – Priority Processing
      • Rural areas are defined as areas outside a Metropolitan Statistical area, or within the outer boundary of any city or town with a population of 20,000 or more.
    • Distressed Urban Area Projects (10%)
      • Distressed Urban Areas are defined as areas where average unemployment rate for the census tract(s) is 150% of the national average unemployment rate
    • Infrastructure Projects (2%)
      • Infrastructure Projects are defined as a “capital investment project” administered by a “governmental entity” that serves as the “job-creating entity” which receives capital from EB-5 investors, and contracts with a regional center.
  • Unused visas “carry over” in the same category in the immediately following year
  • Unused visas in any category made generally available for any project, in the year immediately following the “carry-over” year

Pending EB-5 petitions submitted until June 30, 2021, will not be subject to the new rules or higher investment amount and adjudication of these petitions and adjustment of status applications or consular processing will resume upon the effective date of the legislation.

Written by Chris Costa, Senior Associate at Drummond Advisors, and Matheus Etrusco, Associate at Drummond Advisors

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