Expedited United States Permanent Residency: The Updated EB-5 Investor Visa Program

Expedited United States Permanent Residency: The Updated EB-5 Investor Visa Program

The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Programme has experienced a surge in popularity among individuals from around the globe as it continues to present an attractive opportunity for foreign investors seeking a path to permanent residency in the United States. Changes over the past several years have further increased investor interest in the programme, not only as a means for financial growth but also for fulfilling their aspirations of primary or secondary residency benefits in the United States. Indeed, the EB-5 programme stands as more than just an investment channel; it serves as a bridge connecting an investor’s residency needs to sustainable economic development.

The EB-5 investor visa programme provides an extraordinary opportunity for foreign nationals to secure permanent residency in the United States, thereby offering a pathway towards U.S. citizenship for the investor and their immediate family. Unlike traditional employment-based permanent residency pathways, the EB-5 programme does not impose specific educational or professional work experience requirements. Most importantly, under current green card processing times, the EB-5 green card process is one of the fastest ways to obtain permanent residency in the United States, and timing is incredibly more favourable than more traditional employment-based green card pathways.

What Legislative Changes Mean for Foreign Investors

In December 2020, Congress enacted the EB-5 Modernisation Rule, introducing several key revisions to the programme, including updates to investment thresholds and Targeted Employment Area (TEA) designations. Additionally, when Congress reauthorised the EB-5 “Regional Center” Programme in March 2022, it introduced three “set-aside” designations to expedite the adjudication of the initial I-526 petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). These “set-aside” categories include rural projects, high unemployment area projects, and infrastructure projects. Fragomen’s comprehensive analysis of adjudicatory trends has revealed that USCIS is currently approving I-526 petitions filed under the rural sub-category within three to six months in many instances, while applications filed under the high unemployment area designation are still being adjudicated quickly, within approximately twelve months. This quick adjudication is a drastic improvement from the four, five, or even six years USCIS previously took to adjudicate I-526 petitions before the introduction of the “set-aside” categories.


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