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U.S.'s (EB-5) Program Gets Six-Month Extension to September 30, 2018

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Published   06:27 AM 25 March 2018
Updated    06:28 AM 25 March 2018

EB-5 visa Program to Be Extended to September 30, 2018

The U.S. Congress passed a spending bill early Friday March 23 , 2018 that will extend for another six months the controversial EB-5 immigration visa program which gives foreigners a path to U.S. Green Card and citizenship in exchange for a minimum investment of USD 500,000 in a job-creating project. Having said that, we are pleased to announce that the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has been extended to September 30, 2018, with the minimum required investment amount remaining at USD 500,000. President Donald Trump signed the bill in the afternoon after tweeting earlier that he might veto it.

EB-5 Visa Program Requirements Summary

Foreign investors must meet specific United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requirements to obtain their permanent residency through the EB-5 visa program. In general, the investor must meet capital investment amount requirements, job creation requirements, and ensure that the business receiving the investment qualifies for the EB-5 visa program. EB-5 visa applicants, their spouse, and their children under 21 will obtain their permanent residency green card once all requirements have been successfully met and approved by the USCIS.

The EB-5 visa program was introduced “to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investor,” explains US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) website. EB-5 visa program requirements are:
  • USD 1 million capital investment, USD 500,000 in a TEA
  • The investment must be made in a for-profit U.S. commercial entity
  • The investment must create 10 full-time U.S. jobs for two years
The program has been extended about half-a-dozen times in the past few years.
What does it mean for MENA applicants? 

MENA applicants needed to be extremely aware of two issues looming over the EB5 immigration visa program: A retrogression and likely investment increase. The Trump administration has brought all visas under hard scrutiny. 

There was a bipartisan, compromise EB-5 visa program extension bill last week, which would have increased the minimum required investment amount from USD 500,000 to USD 925,000, and would have extended the program for 60 months.Fortunately, the bill did not make it into the government funding bill. As an alternative, a basic extension provision extending the program by 6 months to September 30, 2018, was inserted into the government funding bill, and approved. Nonetheless, there is problem on the horizon, since the Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, Chuck Grassley, was very disappoint that his attempts to modify the program were thwarted, and so we may anticipate that he will continue working to increase the minimum required investment amount, along with implementing other restrictions that he considers significant for "restoring integrity" to the EB-5 visa program, through the legislative process and through exerting pressure on USCIS to increase the investment amount and to enforce other restrictions that he favors through regulations that USCIS proposed in 2017.

USCIS had announced its intention to implement the regulation in February 2018, in the website where government agencies declare pending regulatory actions. You may click here to visit the website page with the announcement. While USCIS failed to implement the regulations in February 2018, as they had previously announced, we think that Senator Grassley, whose former staff member, L. Francis Cissna, is now the Director of USCIS and is amenable to his influence, will press USCIS to implement those proposed regulations.

The USCIS regulations would drastically increase the minimum required investment amount to USD 1.3 million. The regulations would also redefine the designation of targeted employment areas to be much more restrictive than it currently is, which would have the effect of disqualifying many areas that would currently qualify for the minimum required investment amount, and so many areas will require an investment of USD 1.8 million.

The upshot for prospective EB-5 visa program investors is that, while the EB-5 program has been extended to September 30, 2018, with the current minimum required investment amount of USD 500,000, USCIS could act soon to impose regulations that raise the minimum required investment amount to USD 1.3 million. As a result, now is the time to proceed before USCIS implements its proposed regulations. 
Final thoughts
The EB-5 Visa Program could be a good alternative for applicants from MENA region wishing to migrate to the US.

While Congress failed to change the EB-5 visa program, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is the agency that runs the program, may issue new regulations to increase the investment amount.  USCIS published such regulations in January 2017 and can implement them at any time.  Thus, it is wise for investors to file their EB-5 I-526 petitions now, while the minimum investment amount remains USD 500,000. 

Go the extra mile

We recommend to start the EB-5 petitions and to attempt to file them as soon as practicable, devoting a necessary amount of time to efficiently prepare the source of funds documents.
Your EB-5 visa application can start with a phone call today. Our immigration specialists will go the extra mile to help you overcome any challenge you may face. Call us at:
+962 (6) 585 6164
+962 (6) 585 6165
+962 (6) 585 6765
+962 (79) 26 8 22 04

 For more information on the investment options and how to obtain permanent residence (Green Card) in the USA through the EB-5 visa program, please click here. We have a lot of experience in preparing and successfully getting individual EB5 cases approved.

Feel free to fill out our Free Assessment, and find out if you qualify under any of the business immigration programs offered.

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