Following the widespread COVID-19 outbreak around the globe, consulate and embassy offices were closed and routine visa services were temporarily halted in March 2020. United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS) offices were also a part of those closures, which has greatly impacted the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.
While investors who already live in the United States with different types of visas have been able to continue filing I-485 petitions and secure their visas, those still residing abroad have not. Processing has been effectively stalled due in large part to the inability of EB-5 investors to attend visa interviews. As a result, applicants have been eagerly waiting for the process to restart so they can begin taking steps toward their EB-5 green card again.
For many who have been waiting, there’s good news! The U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs has announced plans for the phased reopening of its U.S. consulate and embassy offices. Some EB-5 investors, however, may still experience an additional wait. The Department of State says each consulate and embassy may open at their discretion and may remain closed based on local circumstances.
Check the individual consulate or embassy website for details regarding the reopening plans for your specific location and to find out when they intend to resume the particular visa services you need.
If you are still considering the EB-5 program, now may be the best time for you to invest. Learn why below.
The U.S Economy Can Benefit from EB-5 Investment Capital
As the United States works to recover from the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent shutdown, the EB-5 program may appear even more attractive to economic experts in the United States. For ailing businesses large and small and millions of newly unemployed Americans with zero disposable income, the millions of dollars in foreign capital that an EB-5 investor brings to the table can help stabilize the U.S. economy in this time of need.
Potential New TEAs Make Investment Opportunities More Appealing
Major cities like Los Angeles and New York City have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic. This means a greater number of areas in these urban centers may now qualify as targeted employment areas (TEAs). These areas may prove especially lucrative for EB-5 investors as the U.S. economy continues to recover.
Lighter Workloads Lead to Reduced EB-5 Wait Times
June 2020’s presidential proclamation suspended a number of employment-based immigration opportunities until the end of the year. As a result, U.S. consulates and embassies are likely experiencing lighter workloads until then.
EB-5 immigrant investors are exempt from the suspensions outlined in the new legislation at a time when a lighter work load could significantly reduce wait times on appointments and interviews for visas, making for an opportune time to jump into an EB-5 investment. Even before the ban, the hardships the program has faced this year have resulted in fewer I-526 petitions being filed. In turn, investors who are pursuing the EB-5 program have already experienced shorter wait times.
In particular, Indian nationals who want to become EB-5 investors stand to benefit right now because in July 2020, the Indian EB-5 final action date finally became current. It’s expected to remain current for the foreseeable future. In other words, as of August 2020, Indian EB-5 visas are readily available and should stay that way for a while, providing an opportunity for Indian investors to begin their U.S. adventure sooner than those in backlogged countries.