Is the EB-5 Program Up and Running: YES!

Just over five months ago, Congress passed the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. Its ratification was the culmination of years of effort undertaken by advocates of the EB-5 Regional Center Program to enact more effective integrity measures. The legislation effectively saved the Regional Center program, as last June its congressional authorization lapsed, leaving the Regional Center program inactive and in limbo for nearly nine months. Additionally, the reform and integrity act reauthorized the Regional Center program for five years, a marked improvement from the previous precedent of yearly reauthorizations of the program by Congress.

However, the Reform and Integrity Act also created confusion on how existing EB-5 investors and Regional Centers, as well as prospective EB-5 investors should proceed following the reauthorization of the Regional Center Program. In a widely criticized move, USCIS announced that based on their interpretation of the reform and integrity act all Regional Centers, including those that had previously been designated as authorized Regional Centers by USCIS, would need to seek reauthorization before they could sponsor investor’s I-526 petitions. Consequently, Regional Centers were unable to resume business, and the industry challenged USCIS’s interpretation of the law in court. Lawsuits were filed by Behring Regional Center, as well as IIUSA, both alleging that USCIS had misinterpreted the Reform and Integrity Act, caused irreparable financial harm, and failed to follow procedure when establishing new regulations.

Soon after, on June 25, 2022, The US District Court of Northern California ruled in Behring’s favor and granted an injunction stopping USCIS from deauthorizing previously designated Regional Centers. This ruling allowed Regional Centers that had been operating prior to the Program’s lapse in authorization last June to finally begin taking in investors’ capital and filing new I-526 petitions, so long as they are compliant with the regulations of the Reform and Integrity Act.

New EB-5 Investors

To summarize, the EB-5 regional center program is finally back up and running and ready for new investors. USCIS is processing petitions from immigrant investors associated with designated Regional Centers, and as per the latest visa bulletin, is making progress in processing backlogged investors.

Prospective EB-5 regional center investors should remember that compliance with the new regulations is essential. USCIS has issued several new forms since the passage of the Reform and Integrity Act, including an updated form I-526. Regional center investors will now have to file Form I-526E, whereas those choosing the direct investment route will file Form I-526. Investors should also note that their chosen Regional Center will need to have filed Forms I-956 and I-956F, and have received a receipt for the Form I-956F before the investor can file a I-526E associated with the Regional Center.

FIND OUT IF EB-5 IS RIGHT FOR YOU

With the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act ushering in a new era for the EB-5 program, there’s no better time than now to begin preparing your EB-5 application. Fill out our quick evaluation form below and find out if an EB-5 visa is the right choice for you.

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