Is an EB-5 Visa Still Worth it for Foreign Investors?

Since its introduction in the 1990s, the “Golden Visa” has played a major role in helping thousands of investors live their American Dream. But the reality of applying for an EB-5 visa is much more complex than the one many foreign entrepreneurs might imagine. 

Among high-profile scams, stringent eligibility requirements, and exceedingly long processing times, investors are left wondering whether petitioning for an EB5 visa is still worth it. 

For many, the simple answer is yes, the EB5 visa is still the golden ticket to the American Dream it has always been portrayed to be. But there’s a little more to keep in mind.

What’s the Easiest Way to Get an EB-5 Visa?

The Employment-Based fifth preference visa temporarily lapsed after its sunset period in July 2021. And, as the regional centers’ operations were suspended, thousands of investors had to deal with the uncertainty of not being able to secure their Green Card. 

But now, with the March 2022 upgrade, the program is back up and running, and the number of applications, which reached an all-time low of 400 in 2021, is on the rise. 

At the same time, this year’s reforms have introduced stricter criteria, and processing times are still averaging 5-6 years. So, what is the easiest way for investors to get an EB-5 visa and avoid a denial?

The only way to make this process straightforward is to partner with a visa specialist or attorney. A professional can help you pinpoint the best and safest EB-5 investment projects and guide you through the due diligence process. 

What’s more, a visa expert can help you understand whether your process qualifies for expedited approval by the USCIS, such as in the case of investment established in the best interest of the US.

The Benefits of Investing in an EB5 Visa Today

If you are a foreign investor with enough capital to self-petition for an EB5 visa and you are interested in starting your business in the US, investing in the Job Creation Visa is certainly still worth it. What’s more, there are some important benefits of starting the process now that should not be ignored, including the following ones.

Low Investment Criteria

Past reforms of the EB5 visa program saw an increase in the minimum investment necessary. But the March 2022 upgrades brought the minimum required back to $1,050,000 or $800,000 for investments in Targeted Employment Areas (TEAs). 

Nonetheless, these thresholds are likely to rise over the next years to match the requirements set by other countries (i.e.: £2 million in the UK and HK$10 million in Hong Kong)

Updates in the Application Process

Applying for an EB5 visa can be a long and bureaucratic process, and the investor capital will always be “at-risk”, meaning that there is no guarantee for returns. However, the recent reforms – including the EB–5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2021 – aim to reduce both investor and immigration risk through structured projects and streamlined frameworks.

What’s more, USCIS has started a series of studies and surveys that aim to understand what causes today’s long processing times and how to reduce them.

Regional Centers are Back in Operation

After the EB5 program’s sunset time in July 2021, regional centers suspended their operations. At the time, direct investments remained a viable option for foreign investors looking to petition for a Green Card. 

However, these projects often represent a high-risk option, especially because the investor needs to meet the job creation requirement (creating and maintaining 10 full-time jobs) without the support of a regional center. 

USCIS-designated regional centers are now back in operation, thus reducing the risk of running into scams or losing the capital invested.

The Challenges of Getting an EB-5 Visa

So, thanks to the most recent reforms and upgrades, the EB-5 visa program is still a viable alternative for foreign investors looking to tap into the potential of the Land of Opportunity. 

Nonetheless, most investors still face significant challenges worth being aware of before diving headfirst into your EB-5 project. 

The most significant hurdle is choosing the right investment project. Investors can either opt to fund their own business or contribute to an USCIS-designated regional center commercial enterprise. 

The latter is undoubtedly a safer alternative, but it might curb returns and limit the investor’s decision-making power. Nonetheless, today, this remains the most popular alternative, especially because regional centers are partly responsible for helping the investor meet the job creation requirement.

Additionally, the world of investor visas is undermined by high-profile scams and fraudulent actors. Investors are required to carry out thorough due diligence, which can be challenging for a foreign entrepreneur. Lastly, processing times for forms I-526 and I-829 still average around 5-6 years.

Luckily, you can avoid all of these pitfalls by partnering with an experienced visa agent or attorney.

Seize the Opportunity Today

Thanks to the latest reforms and upgrades, the EB-5 visa program is more attractive than ever for foreign investors looking to relocate to the US. The program has now been streamlined, secured, and extended through to 2027. 

Any foreign investor wondering whether it is worth applying should consider the unique benefits that the program offers today. 

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