Investor Visa Application

EB5 Visa Remains at $500,000 as US Government Appeals

The minimum investment level for the EB-5 visa remains at $500,000 for now, but the appeal is a clear signal the Biden administration is intent on increasing the price.

The US government filed a last-minute appeal against a federal court ruling that reversed Trump-era changes to the EB-5 Visa investment thresholds. A federal judge in California ruled in June that a decision to increase the minimum investment level from $500,000 to $900,000 in November 2019 was unlawful because the head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had been improperly appointed. The Biden administration is now seeking to appeal her ruling and reinstate the changes.

The ruling saw the EB-5 investment level fall back to $500,000 in June for a short window before the Regional Center program expired at the end of that month. This resulted in a flurry of applications as people piled in to obtain Green Cards by investment for themselves and their families. While the EB-5 Regional Center route is on hold, Direct EB-5 remains open and accepting applicants the $500,000 investment amount.

Increasing the Minimum Investment for EB-5 Visa

The timeline on the appeals process is not clear. It could be done quickly, but is more likely to take many months. The appeal does underscore the Biden administration’s commitment to a higher EB-5 investment level than the current minimum threshold of $500,000. If the appeal process is successful, that would mean a return to $900,000 minimum investment level inside a Targeted Employment Area ($1.8 million outside these areas). The alternative is to go through the US Congress to change the rules for the EB-5 program and agree new investment thresholds.

There was a bipartisan attempt to reform and reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center program before it expired. However, this failed when a single senator, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, opposed passing the bill following an eleventh hour attempt to pass it by Unanimous Consent. Senator Graham is not opposed to EB-5, but wanted more discussion on what a reformed investor-visa program should look like.

Congress and the EB-5 Program

Congress will need to revisit EB-5 after its summer recess. There could still be another attempt at bespoke reform for EB-5, but the packed legislative agenda may mean that it is folded back into spending legislation due at the end of September. Any reform package would seek to bring greater integrity to the program, may review the differential between TEA investment and non-TEA investment, and, critically for of investors, it may also amend the investment thresholds.

The increase to a $900,000 minimum investment has resulted in a drop in applications since it has pushed EB-5 outside of the reaches of the global middle class who have been the backbone of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program since its inception in the 1990s. The US program is more affordable than many comparable citizenship or residency by investment programs worldwide – for example, the UK Tier One Investor Visa starts from £2 million (and is a visa that Davies & Associates can also assist you with).

The onset of the Covid pandemic soon after the price increase has also served to dampen demand, so it is tricky to draw conclusive trends based upon the 2020 EB-5 filing data.

A more modest increase in the minimum investment threshold to $700,000 or $750,000 could be a real possibility according to industry insiders. This would raise more revenue while keeping the EB-5 program within reach of more people. Such a change would require legislative approval.

Watch a recording of our most recent webinar where we delve deeply into this image and examine the potential reform and reauthorization of the Regional Center program.

Watch our recent webinar on the future of the EB-5 Regional Center Program

Next steps for the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program

The good news is that EB-5 enjoys the backing of politicians from both main political parties. EB-5 brings in billions of dollars of investment and creates hundreds of thousands of jobs at no cost to the taxpayer. The EB-5 program played a vital role in bringing foreign direct investment to the United States amid the financial crisis in 2008 and EB-5 can serve in a similar manner as America emerges from Covid-19.

We cannot take any stance of the likelihood of success on the appeal, but it is a clear sign that the Biden administration intends to increase the investment minimum. But just filing the appeal does not have any immediate impact.  The investment amount remains at $500,000 until and unless they get a favorable appellate decision (or until they go through the rule change process properly). So, Direct EB-5 remains open to new applicants at the $500,000 limit, as would the Regional Center program – if and when it is reinstated. We will keep everyone updated as events unfold.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


EB5 Immigrant Investor Visa

Preparing for the Return of the EB-5 Investor Regional Center Program

We are anticipating the potential return of the EB-5 Visa Regional Center program at the end of September. It has been suspended since the end of June when the program lapsed. Congress was unable to agree to a reform and reauthorization bill. So the expectation is that it may be rolled back into the consolidated spending bill due by September 30.

The EB-5 visa program had been deliberately separated from this must-pass spending legislation last year in the hope that Congress would grapple with long-needed reform. For example, the need to bring more integrity to the EB-5 program and stamp out fraud.

If EB-5 visas are rolled back into the appropriations legislation in September, then it is likely to reopen with a minimum investment level of $500,000. This is down from $900,000 – the minimum investment level from November 2019 to June 2021. The price was pulled back down when a federal court rule that the November increase was unlawful.

There is support in Congress for putting the minimum EB-5 investment level back up – perhaps not as high as $900,000 but maybe to something in the $700,000 – $750,000. There is also interest in bringing the upper investment level (those outside of Targeted Employment Areas) down. The differential between TEA investments and non-TEA investments had been 100% (minimum investment outside a TEA is currently $1 million down from $1.8 million). This is one of the reasons Congress struggled to agree a reform proposal before the June 30 deadline.

Davies & Associates is holding a webinar on this very subject today with CMB Regional Centers in person in their Dallas office. Mark Davies, our global chairman, will be joined by Matt Hogan, VP Project Developments at CMB.

Topics will include

1. What is the latest news on the EB-5 Regional Center Program?
2. When will the EB-5 Regional Center Program be reauthorized?
3. Will the EB-5 Regional Center Program return at $500,000?
4. Will the investment threshold be going back up to $900,000?
5. Has this period where the Regional Center program has not been active for been good or bad for the program?
6. Do you think there will be a strong demand again for EB-5 if the Regional Center Program is continued at $500k?

Join us today or hang on for the recording in a subsequent webinar.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Italy Reopens to Travel – Options for Immigration

Here’s How to Renovate Your Home in Italy for Free

Italy’s government is offering a 110% tax credit on certain renovation projects, which essentially means getting to improve your home for free. The so-called “Super Bonus” is available until the end of the year with a chance of it being extended.

Renovations projects eligible for the Italian tax Super Bonus include:

  • Home insulation
  • Centralized heating systems in a condominium
  • Single home heating systems
  • Seismic improvements

The credit can also be extended to the following projects if linked to the above projects:

  • Solar panels
  • Electric car charging points
  • Other energy efficiency project

Who is eligible for the Super Bonus

Anyone is eligible for the Super Bonus provided they are Italian taxpayers and the amount of tax they pay exceeds the credit they are seeking to obtain. It is not only individuals that are eligible, but also condominiums and amateur sports associations. For seismic improvements, the property must be located in a qualifying municipality.

Super Bonus Limits

According to Nicolò Bolla, our Italian tax adviser based in Parma, Italy, the maximum credit depends upon the type of work involved. In a post, he details some of these caps.

  • Insulation (external coating, floor insulation) cap is  € 50,000 per house or € 40,000 per unit inside a condominium.
  • Centralized heating systems in a condominium attracts a tax credit capped at € 20,000 per house unit as long as the condominium has eight units or fewer or € 15,000 in apartment buildings with more than eight units.
  • In home heating systems (a single unit) the tax credit is capped at € 30,000.
  • The cap on seismic structural improvements is € 96.000 per house unit underscoring both the expense and importance of such a renovation.

How is the Credit Applied

The credit is applied at 110% of the value of the expenditure up to the caps listed above. The credit can be used to offset the tax payable over the next five years.

So if you spend €30,000 upgrading your home heating system, the 100% tax credit amounts to €33,000. Spread that over five years is €6,600 per year credited against your tax.

Trading your Tax Credit

You are permitted to trade the tax credit with a third party resident in Italy. You can also trade the credit with your contractor provided the amount is credited against the payment for the work itself. The credit can be traded partially or in full.

Sworn Statement

You must obtain a sworn statement to be able to utilize the Super Bonus from both a certified accountant and a certified engineer. We advise you to speak with our Italian tax specialist. Any expenses related to obtaining the expenses can also be deducted as part of the Super Bonus (provided you have not already exceeded the cap).

Italian Tax & Property Services

Italy is an attractive place to establish your residence. The Italian government offers various tax credits to attract Retirees, Self-employed Workers, and High-Net-Worth Individuals to establish their tax residency in Italy. Read all about these tax benefits here. Our firm also works with the One Euro Home Project. Watch our expert webinar on One Euro Homes below.

Visit our Italy Practice Group Home Page for all your information about immigration to and from Italy.

This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


USCIS Streamlines Social Security Process for those Adjusting Status to a Green Card

Applicants filing an adjusting of status for their US permanent residency will no longer need to apply separately for a Social Security number or a replacement card. This seemingly small victory marks a big win over unnecessary bureaucracy in the immigration system.

Under the current system, an applicant would need to go separately to a Social Security office to apply for their Social Security number (SSN) or a new card. Under the new system, announced by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) yesterday, the I-485 Form will be revised to include questions pertinent to the Social Security Administration.

Form I-485 is the Application to Register Permanent Residency or Adjust Status. For our firm, it is most popularly used for EB-5 Investor Visa applications who are already in the United States and seeking to switch to another visa. Common examples include H-1B Visa to EB-5 Visa for highly skilled workers looking to remain in the United States for longer than the six years permitted by the H-1B visa. Adjusting Status to EB-5 is also a popular option for E-2 Treaty Investor Visa holders seeking to reside in the United States permanently.

Under the new streamlined approach, the USCIS will automatically transfer your answers to the Social Security Administration, which will trigger them to issue a Social Security Number or new card without needing to visit and line up at a Social Security office.

The particular change may only impact a niche set of clients, but points towards a positive development in the immigration system – better collaboration between government departments to the benefit of the public.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.


Special Considerations for E2 Treaty Investor Visa Applicants from the United Kingdom

Did you know the United Kingdom holds the oldest E-2 Treaty with the United States of any country in the world. It dates back more than 200 years and highlights how the E-2 Visa transcends the ever-changing political winds in Washington.

Yet, unlike other countries, Britain’s E-2 Treaty contains a quirk – applicants must be an “inhabitant” of the British Isles. This is taken to mean that you should be permanent residents of the UK and domicile there in order to obtain E-2 Treaty Investor Visa status. The same is also true for its sister visa, the E-1 Treaty Trader.

What this means is that a UK E-2 applicant who currently resides outside the United Kingdom, no longer retains a residence there, or spends long portions outside the country may find that their applications are rejected.

That contrasts with other E-2 countries. Take, for example, Grenada, an island nation in the Caribbean with an E-2 Treaty with the United States. Our firm has helped clients obtain citizenship by investment of Grenada and then proceed to obtain a US E-2 Treaty Investor Visa. This route is mostly popular with people who do not come from countries with an E-2 Treaty with the US – India, Russia, China and Vietnam are examples of this.

To obtain and maintain Grenadian citizenship you never need to visit or be physically present in the country. We do recommend that anyone seeking an E-2 Visa from Grenada visit the island and establish a connection to the island, but you do not need to offer proof of residency in the same way as the UK.

That said, the E-2 is a non-immigrant visa and you must prove an intention to depart the US eventually – regardless of where you apply from. Of course, the E-2 visa can be renewed forever provided the underlying business continues to operate successfully. You can also transition to a Green Card under the Direct EB-5 visa route or the EB-1c Visa route. But the intention to depart must be clear when you are applying for a visa.

In this regard, the E-2 Visa contrasts with the L-1 Visa, which has so-called “Dual Intent”. For, while the L-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa, you do not need to prove that you intend to depart and can actively seek a Green Card (the EB-1c is the usual route for most L-1a Visa holders).

Acceptable Evidence of UK Residency

  • If the applicant is employed in the UK, photocopy of the most recent payslip to show that Tax and Natonal Insurance is being paid in the UK
  • At least 3 months of statement/record of payment of local utilities such as gas, water, electric, local council taxes
  • At least 3 months of lease or mortgage payment
  • Bank statements for a current account reflecting local direct debit charges or transactions in the last three months
  • Signing onto the Electoral Register – not essential but we recommend this.

Non acceptable proof of UK residency:

  • A copy of a U.K. Driver’s license or any information regarding the ownership of a car
  • TV license
  • Cell phone bill
  • Rewards/sports club cards for supermarkets/departments, etc
  • NHS, Doctor or Dentist information
  • Letters from friends or relatives

As ever, the best course of action is just to speak with our team. Our network of talented immigration lawyers across the United States, supported by our team in London, can offer guidance on the credibility of your UK E-2 application and discuss alternative solutions if needed.


This article is published for clients, friends and other interested visitors for information purposes only. The contents of the article do not constitute legal advice and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Davies & Associates or any of its attorneys, staff or clients. External links are not an endorsement of the content.