In 1990, the United States Congress established the EB-5 visa program for foreigners to obtain visas to come to the United States. The guiding principle behind the program is to have persons from outside the country invest a minimum amount in a business enterprise to create jobs in the United States.
The federal government has made changes to the program over the years.
New regulations in 2019
U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services enacted an updated rule to change the parameters of the EB-5 program. The new regulation increased individuals’ minimum investment amount required to qualify for the program. Instead of $1 million, investors must contribute $1.8 million unless the investment is in an area designated as rural or high unemployment. For these Targeted Employment Areas, the rule changed the investment amount from $500K to $900K. In June of 2021, the U.S. District Court in the Ninth District rejected the change. The U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services is currently administering the program without using the revised regulation.
Expired program in 2021
On June 30, 2021, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program expired. Under the Regional Center Program, many investors contributed to developing a more extensive project or area. This method of qualifying allowed organizers to coordinate a group of foreign investors rather than each investor identifying a separate business enterprise. The original authorization for this program set an automatic end date.
Congress and the federal government continue to examine the EB-5 visa program to improve the program’s effectiveness and reduce the possibility of fraud by participants.