USCIS Loosens the EB-5 Rules for Two Classes of EB-5 Investors

By David North on October 16, 2023

The government eased the green card rules for two groups of EB-5 investors this month, making it even easier for some aliens to buy their way into legal status in the U.S.

EB-5 is the controversial immigration program that allows moneyed foreigners to secure a family-sized set of green cards if the alien invests as little as $800,000 in an USCIS-approved but not guaranteed investment that meets certain standards as to job creation. Each investment is supposed to create 10 or more jobs (for persons other than the investor’s family), but these need not be actual (direct) jobs; the system allows the calculation of “indirect” job creation to round out the 10 new jobs.

How long does the investment have to last before the EB-5 conditional visas turn into permanent green cards? For those who invested after March 15, 2022, a relatively small part of the EB-5 beneficiary population, the investment can be as little as two years old.

Previous announcements from USCIS have made it clear that the alien need not possess the money to make the qualifying investment; he or she can borrow it.

The other part of the new guidance from the government relates to the eligibility of investors who have become entangled with the troubled middleman agencies, the regional centers that are licensed by USCIS to manage the typical pool of EB-5 investments. All too often these regional centers steal money from investors and the aliens become involved in years-long disputes with the centers.

Previously in such situations, USCIS withheld approval of the investments, even though the aliens were not guilty of anything. Now, unless there is evidence of investor-involvement in the regional center’s illicit scheme, the green cards will be issued though the regional centers are put out of business. This makes sense.