The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently held a public engagement on the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program. The EB-5 program is not well known around the world, and there have recently been changes to the way USCIS handles EB-5 applications.
The EB-5 visa allows a foreign national to become a permanent resident in the United States if the individual invests a certain amount of money in the U.S. economy. Applicants must invest $1 million in most instances, or $500,000 in a high unemployment or rural area, and also create at least 10 jobs for U.S. citizen workers within two years of the investment. The individual can invest in any type of for-profit venture they wish, including a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation or other business entity. If the application for the EB-5 investment is approved, the investor and the investor’s family will be given conditional permanent residency in the United States for two years.
A Rocky Start
The use of the EB-5 program by foreigners has been quite limited. Research from the Government Accountability Office showed that long processing times and bureaucratic difficulties have made the visa program an unattractive option for many foreign investors. While the total annual visa allocation per year is capped at 10,000 people, only 126 people were issued visas in 2004. Just over 6,000 people were given EB-5 visas between 1992 and 2004.
USCIS has responded in the past few years with a number of policy changes and revisions to make the process easier, albeit no less expensive. USCIS is not only trying to create an easier system to file petitions and decrease processing times, but to also provide new incentives like job creation credit for expenditures in hotel projects. The USCIS also confirmed that bridge financing is still an acceptable use of an EB-5 investment.
More changes may be on the way, so it is important to keep up to date on the policy surrounding EB-5 visas if you believe you may want to obtain a visa through this program. For example, last year, the U.S. Senate proposed decreasing the investment threshold to $250,000 for some forms of investment and creating a new category of EB-5 visas for immigrant entrepreneurs.
Contact an Illinois Immigration Attorney Today
If you are interested in applying for an EB-5 visa, or have questions regarding the policy changes that have been instituted by USCIS, contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC. Our office has been successfully representing clients for 35 years, and helps people with all of their immigration matters, including visas, citizenship, asylum, and naturalization.
Whether you are going through a divorce, injured in an accident, need to file a workers' compensation claim, charged with a crime, immigrating to the United States, or need to file for bankruptcy, Mevorah Law Offices LLC can help. Our trial lawyers have over 35 years of experience helping clients throughout Northern Illinois from five offices in Lombard, Bloomindale, Joliet, St. Charles, and Chicago.
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