The cost of an EB-5 visa may soon increase as planned changes to the investment requirements moved a step closer to reality yesterday. The EB-5 visa, which currently requires a minimum investment of $500,000, is one of the fastest and most straightforward routes to a United States Green Card.
The required investment amount has not been changed since the program’s inception in the 1990s and calls have been made for this to be altered to take account of inflation. This would mean a new minimum investment level of $1.35 million per application if the investment is placed in a project in an area of high unemployment. Investments outside of these areas would increase to $1.8 million from the current $1 million.
Since this would have a significant impact on uptake, the industry has been pressing for a more modest increase. It is not yet clear which position has won out, so it is vital to keep an eye on developments and start preparing an application.
We expect the announcement to be made shortly after the July 4th holiday weekend. After this, there will be a “grace period” of either 30 days or 45 days before the new regulations take effect. For those who are unable to afford a higher investment, it is vital to begin an application as soon as possible. The US government has strict regulations regarding the source of the funds used to pay for EB-5 and proving compliance can take time.
Due Diligence & Risk Mitigation
For clients who can afford the higher minimum investment level of $1.35 Million, we encourage you to apply as normal. EB-5 will continue to offer one the fastest and most straightforward routes to a Green Card. While your investment is naturally at risk, Davies & Associates is uniquely positioned to help you assess the risks associated with various EB 5 Regional Center projects. This would allow you to mitigate risks to your investment and boost the chances of having your money returned, whether it be $500,000, $1.35 million, or something in between.
Securing your Child’s Future
Since the EB-5 Regulations allows for a whole family to come under one application, the higher investment level may still represent value for money for some clients. The majority of our clients are parents seeking educational and employment opportunities for their children in the United States and so, for those who can afford it, the higher investment level may still be worth the opportunity cost.
For Indian parents who now face retrogression delays, it is vital to make a family-based application many years before your children reach the age of 21 to prevent them from “ageing out” and requiring a separate application. For our clients in countries not facing retrogression there is more time, but we still encourage you to apply as soon as possible as well.
Alternative Options: Expand your Business with an L1 Visa
For some of our clients, the prospect of retrogression and a fee hike means that EB-5 is no longer an option. We recommend you contact us for a free consultation to discuss your options. We have a dedicated L-1 Visa Team in New York that specializes in helping clients expand an existing business from their country of origin to the United States. Under this package, our corporate lawyers help you set up a new US office and our L-1 team prepares an application to allow you or a colleague to relocate to the United States for the purpose of running that office.
Alternative Options: E2 Visas
Another alternative is the E2 visa, which allows an investor to live and work in the United States for the purpose of owning and operating a specific business. Many of our clients seek to purchase a franchise business specifically for this purpose. Only citizens of certain countries are eligible for E-2 visas. Citizens of countries like India, Nigeria, South Africa and China are not eligible. Nevertheless, we are able to troubleshoot measures to make a client eligible.
With so much change in the EB-5 industry, it is vital to engage with an immigration attorney to stay ahead of developments and be fully aware of your options. Davies & Associates offers free consultations so we can recommend the best solution to suit each client on the basis of their individual needs. Contact us today to arrange your consultation.