Rasheed Alkhanji QICMS
Published 01:34 PM 4 October 2021
Updated 02:17 PM 4 October 2021
WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THE EB-5 REGIONAL CENTER PROGRAM IN MENA REGION?
Countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have increasingly grown to be strong EB-5 markets. Typically consisting of, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen, the MENA region accounts for approximately 60% of the second-citizenship market for high net worth individuals (HNWIs).
Widely considered by several HNWIs based in MENA as the most feasible and flexible means to obtain a green card, the EB-5 regional center Program is expected to grow further in popularity in the region throughout the upcoming years.
WHAT IS THE UNITED STATES EB-5 VISA?
The United States residency by investment program, called the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, employment-based fifth preference category or EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa Program is the most popular investment-based immigration option between foreign nationals in the Middle East and North Africa region looking to immigrate to the United States. The program was created in 1990 by the Immigration Act of 1990, provides a method for eligible Immigrant Investors to become lawful permanent residents—informally known as "green card" holders. Investors can invest in a direct investment (not regional centers) and directly employ 10 or more U.S. workers. Or they have an option to invest through a "larger investor pool via regional centers (RC).
WHAT IS A REGIONAL CENTER (RC)?
A Regional Center is an entity, corporation, or agency located in a specific geographic area that is approved and designated by the USCIS and is established to promote economic growth, create new jobs for American workers, and increase domestic investment. Investing via a Regional Center is a more passive approach to obtain the EB5 Visa as the EB5 investor is not required to be directly and actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.
WHAT IS A DIRECT EB-5 INVESTMENT?
The term “Direct EB-5 Investment” is used to refer to the process of investing into a business that is already owned by the investor. When it comes to Direct EB-5 Investments, among other requirements, the EB-5 investor will need to invest at least USD $500,000 or USD $1,000,000 as of today and also show that at least 10 new jobs were created by the business for American workers within two years after being admitted to the United States, with some exceptions for troubled businesses.
WHAT IS THE AMOUNT THAT I NEED TO INVEST AS OF OCTOBER 2021?
The program has gone through drastic changes over the course of the past two years, including but not limited to an amount increase from USD $500,000 to USD $900,000 in November 2019, an investment decrease from USD $900,000 back down to USD $500,000 in June 2021.
IS THE EB-5 IMMIGRANT INVESTOR VISA AVAILABLE IN 2021?
Statutory authorization related to the regional center portion of the EB-5 Program expired at midnight on June 30, 2021, after an attempt to extend and improve the program was blocked by the U.S. Senate. With the lapse of the program, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that no new petitions from foreign investors will be accepted under the EB-5 Regional Center Program. Therefore, investors must invest in a direct investment (not regional centers) and directly employ 10 or more U.S. workers.
IS THERE ANY WORD ON WHEN THE EB5 REGIONAL CENTER PROGRAM MAY BE BROUGHT BACK?
It is hard to say what Congress will do. Nevertheless, we are still confident that the EB-5 regional center program will ultimately be renewed. Based on recent events, it seems the most likely time for this to happen would be in December 2021, with the regional center program added to a larger spending bill. Meanwhile, it is still possible to file an EB5 case, but only if the petition is based on a direct investment.
WHAT IS THE CURRENT PROCESSING TIME FOR I-526?
The current processing time for Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor (I-526) at Immigrant Investor Program Office as of October 1, 2021 as below :
The estimated time range for china is 71 Months to 83 Months.
The estimated time range for all other areas is 37 Months to 56.5 Months. Please note that times may change.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN WHEN MY EB-5 APPLICATION (I-526 PETITION) IS APPROVED?
Once the petition is approved, the principal applicant is then required to apply for his or her “conditional” green card inside the United States (if eligible) or in his or her country of residence at the local Consulate. The processing time in most U.S. Consulates varies from two to six months.
IF I AM THE PRINCIPAL APPLICANT, CAN MY FAMILY COME WITH ME TO THE UNITED STATES?
One of the most attractive benefits of the EB-5 Visa is the fact that a single investment will allow the investor to be accompanied by his or her spouse and all of their children under 21 years of age if they wish to do so. When it comes to immediate family members, there is no additional investment requirement for the EB-5 Visa. However, a qualifying EB-5 investment does not allow investors to be accompanied by parents, brothers and sisters, or children over 21 years of age.
WILL THE AGE OF MY DEPENDENT CHILD BE PROTECTED DUE TO DELAYS FROM NVC AND USCIS?
You have to obtain the fee bills and file
DS-260 in order to lock in the age. Any delays because of the agency inaction are not automatically waived.
WHAT ARE THE CURRENT INVESTMENT THRESHOLDS FOR EB-5 DIRECT INVESTMENT IN OCTOBER 2021?
As of today, the standard minimum investment amount is USD $1million and the minimum investment amount for investment in a Targeted Employment Area is USD $500,000.
CAN I SEEK A FACE TO FACE MEETING WITH THE USCIS REGARDING MY EB-5 VISA APPLICATION (I-526 FORM)?
I-526 processing is done entirely by mail. No phone calls or meetings. USCIS does not provide for in-person interviews at the request of an applicant.
WHAT IS NEXT?
Quebec Investment Consultation & Management Services (QICMS) has successfully filed a good number of the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program applications out of the MENA region and has represented clients from all over the world in all kinds of immigration-related matters.
Quebec Investment Consultation & Management Services (QICMS) is confident that the EB-5 program will be reauthorized within the next 60 days. We urge prospective applicants to start collecting their documents to be ready to catch the next window of opportunity by December 2021. Those who take action swiftly in collecting their documents and choosing a project will be the winners once the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program is reauthorized as we expect that there will be a huge surge in applications.
Get in touch with us today to get started with your EB-5 Visa application.
For more information on the U.S. EB-5 program, please click here.
Please fill out our Free Assessment, and find out if you qualify under any of the business immigration programs offered.