Many foreign nationals who want to relocate to the United States use the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program as their gateway to permanent residency and eventual citizenship. The program allows them to invest in a variety of qualifying U.S. businesses.
Interested investors must comply with the guidelines set by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), such as the at-risk criteria and legal source-of-funds requirements. Investments made in the EB-5 program must also create or save at least ten full-time jobs. As of September 26, 2021, the minimum EB-5 investment thresholds are:
- $500,000 for targeted employment area (TEA) projects;
- $1,000,000 for non-TEA projects.
Many countries around the world, such as Portugal and Spain, also have investor visa programs. However, the minimum investment amounts for these programs are usually far greater than those of the EB-5 program. Because of this, the EB-5 investment program is very popular among foreign nationals.
Acquiring U.S. Citizenship Through the EB-5 Program
One significant benefit of participating in the EB-5 investment program is eventual eligibility for US citizenship. An EB-5 investor can apply for U.S. citizenship five years after obtaining permanent resident status. The investor must submit Form N-400 to apply for citizenship.
Once approved, the applicant and their family become citizens of the United States and enjoy many rights and privileges, including the right to vote and unrestricted travel to other countries. Obtaining U.S. citizenship does not necessarily mean a foreign investor has to relinquish their existing citizenship, provided their home country allows dual citizenship.
No One Is Left Behind
In the EB-5 program, an investor’s immediate family members are included in the application for U.S. residency. In this context, an investor’s immediate family members include
- The investor’s spouse;
- Any unmarried children under 21.
Participating in the EB-5 Program in 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic brought difficulties to many investor programs all over the world, and the EB-5 program is no exception. Since 2020, many potential investors have shown hesitation due to the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic. In addition, recent changes to the EB-5 program’s guidelines fueled investors’ concerns. These include the overturn of the Modernization Rule on June 22, 2021, and the temporary closure of the regional center program on June 30, 2021.
However, USCIS continues to process I-526 petitions, which means that investors can still participate in the EB-5 program. In fact, the pandemic may have some positive effects on the future of the EB-5 industry. For instance, the increased unemployment in the United States may result in more locations becoming TEAs. This will open up the opportunity for more foreign nationals to make an EB-5 investment at only $500,000.
Despite the changes taking place within the EB-5 investment industry, now is an ideal time to participate in the program. Because of the complex nature of EB-5 regulations, interested foreign nationals are encouraged to consult with an experienced EB-5 firm to find the most reliable investment opportunities.