In the realm of immigration, the United States EB-5 Visa Program has maintained its popularity, particularly among Indian investors, as a pathway to residency, employment, and living in the United States. Administered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the EB-5 Program allows investors, along with their spouses and unmarried children under 21, to obtain lawful permanent residence, commonly referred to as a Green Card, upon fulfilling specific investment criteria in a U.S. commercial enterprise and generating or preserving 10 full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.
In recent developments, USCIS has issued a note to provide clarity on the required investment timeframe for EB-5 investors filing Form I-526 or Form I-526E and seeking to remove conditions of residence from March 15, 2022, onwards. The note also addresses the treatment of investors associated with terminated regional centers, aiming to streamline the process and offer clear directives to participants.
Under the Revised Immigration Act (RIA), changes have been made to the investment sustainability requirements, allowing investors to adhere to a two-year investment duration rather than sustaining the investment throughout their conditional residence, as previously mandated. USCIS has interpreted the initiation of this two-year period as the date the qualifying investment is made, emphasizing the significance of the investment being contributed to the new commercial enterprise and placed at risk in accordance with relevant regulations.
Furthermore, USCIS has outlined its approach to the termination of a regional center, particularly with respect to investors associated with these centres. While the RIA introduced provisions allowing post-RIA investors to retain eligibility in specific scenarios, USCIS has extended certain procedural flexibilities for pre-RIA investors associated with terminated regional centres. This leniency grants investors an extended response deadline until the agency adjudicates their Form I-526 petition, ensuring fair assessment and consideration of individual cases.
USCIS clarified that in cases of regional center termination due to administrative noncompliance, where investments and job creation remain unaffected, the termination is unlikely to compromise the basic eligibility of associated investors. However, for terminations arising from substantive reasons affecting continued eligibility, USCIS may not extend response deadlines, demonstrating a distinction in the treatment of varying termination causes.
With these recent clarifications, USCIS aims to provide a streamlined and transparent process for EB-5 Program participants, ensuring that both investors and the program itself operate within defined regulatory frameworks and guidelines.