The minimum investment amount for the US Immigrant Investor Visa Program is now at $500,000, instead of $900,000. Let’s find out more about this change and whether Investors can take advantage of this new development.
The EB-5 visa is issued to Investors who want to do business and move to the US. The Investor’s spouse and their children under the age of 21 are also eligible for the Visa.
To acquire an EB-5 visa, the Investor must start a new business or invest in the growth of an existing US company. The other way forward is to invest in an approved business project through one of the regional centers. Investors can still opt for the Direct EB-5 route (which is through investing in a business or an existing company) even if the Regional center program is expired. These are units licensed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services that manage business projects under the EB-5 Visa program.
The Investor is liable to create or employ a minimum of 10 skilled jobs.
The tenure for EB-5 visa holders is up to 10 years. If they reside in the US for a span of five years, they can apply for citizenship.
Background: Why the US Government raised the amount of Investment
In 2019, the US Department of Homeland Security revised the terms of the EB-5 visa. One of the key changes is an increase in the minimum investment amount to invest in the program. The new rules were enshrined in a Resolution dated 07/24/2019, which went into effect on November 21, 2019.
The ministry raised the cost of investment in the program to match the inflation rate from 1990 to 2015. For the same reason, the government reviews the investment amount every five years.
Why the court overturned the government’s decision on the EB-5 Visa
In December 2020, the Bering Regional Center sued the US Department of Homeland Security. According to representatives of the regional center, the order changing the terms of the program violated US federal laws, and the department itself did not have the authority to approve the changes.
On June 22, 2021, the US District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that the regional center was right. The new program terms were adopted in violation of the federal Vacancy Reform Act of 10/21/1998.
How will the court’s decision affect EB-5 Visa applicants
The court overturned the 2019 ruling. This means that the minimum investment amount for an EB-5 visa is back at $500,000.
$500,000- The minimum investment amount for an EB-5 visa from June 22, 2021
But, investors may not be able to take advantage of the drop in visa prices for two reasons –
The appeal of the court order: The Department of Homeland Security can appeal a court order. In this case, the trial will begin anew, but the amount of investment will remain reduced until the final decision.
The program ends on June 30, 2021. Therefore, investors had less than a week to apply for a visa for the reduced investment amount.
The US government is preparing to revise the terms of the program. A bill with changes to the EB-5 visa rules has already been submitted to the Senate for consideration.
The proposed changes are intended to combat fraud and money laundering. For example, investors accused or convicted of fraud in the last 10 years prior to the application will not be able to get an EB-5 visa. Foreign politicians will also be denied visas.
The Department of Homeland Security and US Citizenship and Immigration Services will be given the authority to permanently bar individuals from the program. Regional centers will verify compliance with the terms of the program for a minimum of five years after the visa is issued.
The bill does not specify the minimum amount of investment for the EB-5 visa. But if it is passed, the program will be extended until September 30, 2026.
An Alternative to EB-5 Visa for Investors.
The United States issues several types of business visas for investors. One of the most popular options is the E2 visa. In 2019, around 43,000 Investors received E2 visas, while only 9,500 Investors received the EB-5 visa.
The E2 visa allows you to enter the United States, reside, do business, and study in the country without restrictions. The Investor’s spouse and their children under the age of 21 can also obtain the visa.
In order to acquire an E2 visa, the Investor is required to invest an amount in a US business and create new jobs. There is no minimum investment threshold. As per the regulations, the minimum investment required for E2 Visa is $200,000. In addition, the applicant can take over the management of the company. In order to obtain a visa, five qualified specialists must be employed.
But there is a limitation to an E2 visa. You can only be eligible for E2 Visa if you’re a citizen of a country with which the United States has concluded a treaty of trade.
Citizens of Grenada, Montenegro, and Turkey are applicable for an E2 visa. These countries issue passports in exchange for investments in their economy.
Grenada and Montenegro offer citizenship for a non-refundable investment to the state fund and the purchase of the real estate. To obtain a Turkish passport, the Investor has to make an investment through real estate or bonds, open a deposit in a local bank, or invest in a business.
Nulima Consultants is a licensed agent for Grenada, Montenegro, and Turkey citizenship programs. If you want second citizenship to relocate to the US, seek advice from the experts at Nulima Consultants.