EB‑5 business visa investment in the US halved by the court ruling
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 24.07.2019, 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
Until November 21st, 2019
From November 21st, 2019
Business development in rural areas and regions with high unemployment through regional centers
Business development in other regions by investors themselves
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 21.10.1998.
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.
In August 2021, the Department of Homeland Security appealed the court’s decision. The trial was supposed to start anew, but the investment amount was kept reduced until the final decision.
In January 2022, the court received notice that the Department of Homeland Security had withdrawn the appeal. Thus, the ministry abandoned further litigation. The court’s decision to reduce the minimum investment amount remained in effect.
Reduced investment amounts of $500,000 or of $1,000,000 apply to all investor applications submitted after June 22nd, 2021.
But there is a nuance. The program of issuing EB‑5 visas for investment in Regional Centers ended on June 30th, 2021. From July 1st, investors can obtain an EB‑5 visa only if they independently invest at least a million dollars in the development of an existing or new business.
The US government is preparing to renegotiate the conditions for issuing an EB‑5 visa in February 2022. Whether the minimum investment amount will change under the new rules is still unknown.
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 E‑2 visa. In 2019, 43,000 investors received it, and only 9,500 people received the EB‑5 visa under quotas.
The E‑2 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 E-2 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.
But there is a restriction: E‑2 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 E‑2.
Citizens of Grenada, Montenegro, and Turkey can get an E-2 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.
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 investment programs experts.