EB-5 Regional Center Program Authorization Expected Shortly
Congress is expected to pass its Omnibus legislation this week or early next week, and with it, the reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program. The U.S. House of Representatives is slated to vote on the legislation on Wednesday, March 9. If passed by the House, then the Senate will take up the legislation. If both chambers of Congress pass the legislation, then it will be sent to the President to be signed into law. The reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, which has been lapsed since June 30, 2021, has been attached to the Omnibus legislation.
To summarize, the reauthorization contains the following provisions:
- The EB-5 Regional Center program will be reauthorized through September 30, 2027. If Congress fails to reauthorize the Regional Center program beyond September 20, 2027, USCIS may continue to process cases received on or before September 30, 2026;
- The investment amounts will increase to $800,000 for a targeted employment area (TEA) investment and $1,050,000 for a non-TEA investment, which will be effective immediately upon passage of the bill and which will also apply to “direct” non-Regional Center investments;
- TEAs will be defined in three ways: (a) a rural area; (b) a distressed urban area project; and (c) infrastructure projects;
- Only Department of Homeland Security can designate a TEA, which will be valid for 2 years;
- There will be special visa number set-asides for rural rea and high unemployment area TEAs;
- Job creation via an economic model will change, with new requirements for “direct” jobs;
- Concurrent filing of Form I-485 will become available for those applicants that would have a visa number immediately available upon approval of the I-526 Petition;
- Redeployment may occur anywhere in the United States, not just within the Regional Center area; and
- There are a number of important Regional Center reforms affecting ongoing operations of Regional Centers and their owners, which would reform the site visit process as well as the annual compliance process on Form I-924A.
Once Congress passes the reauthorization of the Regional Center program, it is expected that USCIS will immediately resume processing of I-526 Petitions and I-485 Applications that it has held in abeyance since June 30, 2021. The National Visa Center/DOS also should also immediately resume processing immigrant visa applications for investors with approved Regional Center I-526 Petitions.