Reauthorisation of U.S. golden visa — better programme with more options


Published: Wed 23 Mar 2022, 2:57 PM

Last updated: Wed 23 Mar 2022, 2:59 PM

The U.S. licensed lawyers at the American Legal Centre will be hosting a seminar on March 27 to discuss the reauthorised EB-5 Regional Centre programme and how the new laws will affect new and current investors seeking migration to the US through the golden visa path. Since the reauthorisation of the programme, the team of US-licensed lawyers has been inundated with calls from prospective investors seeking information on the new EB-5 Regional Centre programme. The team aims to educate the Middle East Region on the programme and assist all prospective investors to prepare their documents in time for the submission of the next batch of files.

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The U.S. golden visa EB-5 Regional Centre programme was suspended for some time but is now reauthorised with several crucial changes that will make the migration process easier for the investor. Elements such as concurrent filing have been the biggest win for the EB-5 industry. For a long time, investors have been subjected to long approval wait times for their initial EB-5 applications, which subsequently delayed their move to the US. Under the new laws, concurrent filing will allow for an investor to submit their initial EB-5 application at the same time as their adjustment of status application. Essentially allowing investors to move to the US immediately after filing their EB-5 application.

How does Concurrent Filing Work?

If an investor has legal standing to be in the US, by way of L1, E-2, H1-B, F1 student visa or any other nonimmigrant visa, and there are sufficient visas available, then the investor can submit their application through concurrent filing. Their immigration attorney will submit their EB-5 I-526 application at the same time as their adjustment of status application (I-485 application). Furthermore, while they are in the US their attorney will apply for work and travel authorization, which would allow the investor to start their migration process before their EB-5 application is approved. Now it is important to note that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not approve the investors' application for adjustment of status before their I-526 approval, they would either approve the I-526 application first or adjudicate on both applications at the same time.

Can anyone under the EB-5 programme file for concurrent filing?

No, the main applicant must meet the requirements for concurrent filing for USCIS to consider the file eligible. The dependants as well must have their legal standing in the US to qualify for the consideration under concurrent filing and importantly both main applicant and dependants must be in the US at the time of filing to be eligible.

What are the other changes made to the Regional Centre programme?

Congress has introduced various other measures that aim to protect investors and holistically present the programme as a much better service offering to all parties involved.

The minimum requirement for capital investment for investments made to projects that meet the targeted employment areas designation has increased to $800,000. The amount has been placed to be in line with the current inflation rate and to ensure that the program continues to fulfil its objective as stipulated by Congress when it was initiated. The programme is meant to provide an economic boost to the US economy with the injection of the capital investment and increase job creation and retention with the project requirement of each investment generating 10 jobs for US persons. Under the new laws, the investment is set to be increased steadily based on the Consumer Price Index, therefore, prospective investors must act fast and submit applications before the next projected increase.

The programme was also extended until September 2027, making this the longest reauthorisation the program has received since 2015. Investors that submit their applications early will have a full immigration cycle before the program requires reauthorization again. This means that they could obtain their I-526 approvals, consular interviews, and conditional green cards all within the five year extension period. This is quite helpful for those looking to file their applications soon as it should hopefully protect them through their immigration cycle. Furthermore, the laws included grandfathering language, which states that if Congress fails to reauthorise the programme in 2027, the Department of Homeland Security must continue to process applications filed on or before September 30, 2026, preventing any future delays in the adjudication of applications in the system.

Shai Zamanian, EB-5 expert and top EB-5 consultant in the Middle East Region, agrees with the changes introduced by Congress. He said: “the EB-5 Regional Center has continuously proven to be a pivotal tool in the development of the U.S. economy and labour market. From its inception, the programme has increasingly gained popularity from emerging markets and will continue to draw a substantial number of investors because it is essentially a really good programme. It was time for Congress to re-evaluate the program and provide additional measures that protect and focus on the integrity of the program to allow for it to keep growing.”

Upcoming Educational Seminar in Dubai

In their seminar on March 27, at the Westin Hotel Dubai Marina, the team will be discussing in detail concurrent filing and other EB-5 program changes such as the required capital investment amount, visa allocation, and program extension. To RSVP for the seminar contact +971 50 938 6092, limited seats are available.

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