Myths and Facts about the EB-5 Visa

May 30, 2020

Since 2008, more than $20 billion has been injected into the American economy through the EB-5 Visa.  This visa program began in 1990, and has been in the news frequently. At Path Law Group, we want to help you understand what this visa is, and what this visa can do for you.

Myth: You Need to Invest at Least $1,000,000

One of the most common and enduring myths we encounter is the notion that you need to invest at least a million dollars. While the standard regulatory investment is $1 million, the USCIS allows a reduced investment of $500,000 in high unemployment or rural areas. In 2016, over 90% of EB-5 investments qualified for the reduced amount.

There are additional rules for getting this visa. The business must create at least 10 full time jobs per EB-5 Investor, and your investment funds must be clearly sourced.

Fact: Approvals are Common

A vast majority of applications are approved. In 2016 the USCIS approved nearly 90% of EB-5 cases. This is a rate higher than almost any other visa type.

Currently, there are 843 regional centers. Regional centers are the places where investors may put their money, and represent over 95% of all EB-5 applications. Regional Centers are entities that are approved by the USCIS to oversee EB-5 investments within certain regions. These Centers have the added benefit of more liberal job creation requirements. These regional center investments are extremely popular, because they do not require the investor to set up and run the business themselves.

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Myth: Only the Chinese Invest

It is true that a majority of those coming to the US on the EB-5 Visa are from China. More than 70% of immigrants on this particular visa come from Mainland China. There are no restrictions on country of origin for the EB-5 Visa at the moment. That means that investors can come from anywhere in the world.

In recent years we have seen increases in applicants from other countries. India is becoming more prominent over time, and there are many reasons to believe that the number will continue to increase. Brazil, Russia, South Korea and Vietnam are also sending many EB-5 Investors.

There is currently a limit of 10,000 EB-5 visas a year and no country can use more than 7.1% of the available visas. To date, China is the only country that has used more than its allotted number and is thus the only country that is subject to an extended wait time for approval.

Fact: The Investment Amount is Subject to Change

The Regional Center component of the EB-5 Visa Program is not permanent. By design, the program is renewed every five years. The program was up for renewal in April, and was extended until the end of September. The program has since been extended until the 8th of December. Its fate still hangs in the balance.

It is likely that Congress will increase the minimum EB-5 investment amount from $500,000 to $800,000 in the near future.  Other potential changes include limits on the number of potential immigrants.

If you have any questions about these visas, contact us today. The Path Law Group has expertise in this area of law. We can help guide you through the process.