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The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 has been warmly welcomed by those looking to immigrate to the United States. This Act introduces modifications that favor applicants for EB-5 green cards. Here are some of the key changes brought about by the Act to the EB-5 program.
Enhanced Stability for EB-5 Visas
The Act extends the authorization of EB-5 regional centers until 2027, replacing the previous annual reauthorization requirement. This five-year extension brings much-needed stability to the EB-5 program. The Act also ensures that applications submitted up until September 30, 2026, will remain valid for a visa even if the program isn’t extended beyond 2027, reducing uncertainty for applicants.
Adjustment of Status for Lawful Immigrants
EB-5 applicants already in the U.S. on a valid visa can now enjoy the privileges of permanent residency while their EB-5 application is being processed. They can file a concurrent Adjustment of Status based on their existing application, granting them and their families work and travel permits while they wait for their green cards.
Revised Minimum Investment Amounts
The Act updates the investment requirements for the EB-5 program. The minimum investment now stands at $800,000 for qualifying target employment areas (TEAs) and rural locations, and $1,050,000 for non-TEA areas. This reduces the previous disparity between TEAs and non-TEAs, which had investment requirements of $900,000 and $1,800,000 respectively.
Amendments to Target Employment Areas
TEAs must still be located in an urban distressed area, defined as an urban region with an unemployment rate 1.5 times the national average.
Redefinition of Urban Distressed Areas
The Act introduces a stricter definition for distressed urban areas. Previously, a distressed area was defined as 13 contiguous census tracts with an average unemployment rate meeting the target. Now, a distressed area must be the specific census tract of the investment and its adjacent tracts.
Priority Processing for Rural Projects
While the definition of an urban distressed area has been tightened, rural areas with fewer than 20,000 permanent residents also qualify as TEAs. These rural TEAs receive priority processing over all other EB-5 categories under the new law. EB-5 applicants investing in rural areas may receive initial green card approval in as little as six to twelve months, a significant reduction from the standard process of two or more years.
Enhanced Regulatory Standards for the EB-5 Program
The Act also emphasizes increased transparency. Previously, there was no standardized method for investors to track the use of their funds. Regional centers often managed funds, but there was no guarantee of accurate bookkeeping. This lack of transparency added risk and made it challenging to prove job creation for green card approval.
The new law standardizes how projects manage and document EB-5 investments. Projects must file their business plans with the USCIS before accepting investors. They also need a third-party CPA or attorney to certify transactions whenever money is transferred from the escrow account to the project. Projects must also file an annual report detailing investor contributions and expenditure. These measures increase project overhead but provide necessary oversight and protection for EB-5 applicants and their investments.
Improvements in EB-5 Green Card Processing
The new law also addresses processing times for EB-5 visas. It increases compensation for green card processors, which should expedite processing times. The USCIS has prioritized improving processing times for the EB-5 program and plans to review their process for efficiency. They’ve already implemented a fee study as mandated by the Act to enhance processing times through more efficient adjudications.
The EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act introduces exciting changes benefiting investors including greater investment/project transparency, priority processing, and lower investment threshold requirements.
For more information about these changes or to check your eligibility for an EB-5 visa, feel free to contact MarketSpace Capital.