EB-5 business visa investment in the US halved by the court ruling

June 24, 2021
EB-5 visa to the US: the minimum investment amount has been reduced to $500,000
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The minimum investment amount for the US Immigrant Investor Visa Program is again $500,000 instead of $900,000. Let’s find out why the change is not final and whether investors can take advantage of the reduced price.

The EB-5 visa is issued to investors who want to do business and move to the United States. A spouse and children under 21 years of age can accompany the investor.

To obtain an EB-5 visa, an investor must start a new business or invest in an expansion of an existing US company. Another option is to invest in an approved business project through one of the regional centers. These are units licensed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services that conduct business projects under the EB-5 visa program.

The investor also creates or retains a minimum of 10 skilled jobs.

EB-5 visa holders first receive a green card for 10 years. If they live in the US for 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 participate 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 participation in the program to match the inflation rate from 1990 to 2015. For the same reason, the government must review the investment amount every five years.

Amount of investment for the EB-5 business visa in the US

Investment option Amount until
November 21, 2019
Amount from
November 21, 2019
Business development in rural areas and regions with high unemployment 500 000 $ 900 000 $
Business development in other regions 1 000 000 $ 1 800 000 $

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 again $500,000.

$500,000

minimum investment amount for 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 a 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 have less than a week to apply for a visa for a 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, persons 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.

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, 43,000 investors received it, and only 9,500 people received the EB-5 visa under quotas.

The E2 visa allows you to enter the United States, live, do business, and study in the country without restrictions. A spouse and children under the age of 21 can also obtain a visa.

In order to obtain an E2 visa, an investor invests money in a US business and creates new jobs. There is no minimum investment threshold. As a rule, it is enough for the applicant to invest $200,000 and take over the management of the company. In order to obtain a visa, five qualified specialists must be employed.

$200,000

enough to obtain an E2 business visa in the US

But there is a restriction: E2 visa is issued only to citizens of countries with which the United States has concluded a treaty on trade and navigation. There is no such treaty between Russia and the United States, so Russians cannot apply for an E2.

Citizens of Grenada, Montenegro, and Turkey can get an E2 visa. These countries issue passports in exchange for investments in the economy.

Grenada and Montenegro offer citizenship for a non-refundable contribution to the state fund and the purchase of the real estate. To obtain a Turkish passport, an investor buys real estate or bonds, opens a deposit in a local bank, or invests in a business.

From $150,000

From €350,000

Turkey

From $250,000

Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for Grenada, Montenegro,and Turkey citizenship programs. If you want a second passport to relocate to the US, seek advice from the experts at Immigrant Invest.

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