The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program has unique benefits for both immigrant investors and the United States that make it much more than just an immigration program. Created in 1990, the program has provided permanent residency to nearly 100,000 investors and has pumped billions into the U.S. economy. This foreign capital has generated nearly a million jobs for U.S. workers.
The EB-5 investment program’s popularity is partly shown through its high average case processing time. Although these delays have caused some investors, such as those in China or Vietnam, to investigate other immigration options, the EB-5 program remains one of the best options available to foreign nationals interested in U.S. permanent residency.
The EB-5 Investment Program Offers Green Cards to Dependents
Many immigrants to the United States are concerned with keeping their immediate family together. EB-5 investors need not worry. If the investor’s petition is successful, the investor’s spouse and any unmarried children under 21 can immigrate with equal permanent residency rights. This component of the EB-5 investment program differs from other U.S. immigration programs that typically require children to separately apply for permanent residency once they turn 18.
Dependent children who immigrate under the EB-5 program have many benefits available to them. The benefits include an increased chance of admission to U.S. universities as well as possible tuition saving.
Opportunity to Earn Passive Income Under the EB-5 Investment Program
There are two main choices available to EB-5 investors when it comes to making their investment. Investors can either invest directly in a new commercial enterprise or invest through an EB-5 regional center. Direct investment entails significant managerial obligations, while investing through a regional center usually has far fewer responsibilities for the immigrant investor. Most EB-5 investors choose to invest through a regional center for this reason.
The EB-5 investment program also requires that investors’ EB-5 capital be “at risk” for the duration of the investment period. This means that a developer or regional center cannot guarantee an EB5 investment, even though a return on investment is probable. By investing through a regional center, investors can earn passive returns. While there are many employment-based U.S. immigration programs, none offer residency rights for a passive investment.
The recent Modernization Rule announced several changes to the EB5 investment program. One of the more significant changes was the increase to the minimum required investment amount, which now stands at $1.8 million ($900,000 for targeted unemployment areas, or TEAs). This increase, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, caused a severe downturn in EB-5 applications. However, this short-term reduction in demand for the EB-5 investment program may raise interest rates, increasing the return investors receive on their investments.