EB-5 Regional Center Immigrant Investor Program Extended to January 19, 2018

Brief extension of time for a program that Congress regularly threatens to do away with.

To obtain a U.S. green card based on investment in a U.S. business, the normal minimum is $1 million. However, this may be reduced to $500,000 under certain circumstances, namely if the business is located in a rural area or in an urban area with a high unemployment rate. (See When $500,000 Is Enough to Get an Investment-Based Green Card (EB-5).)

To fulfill the demand for the latter type of visa, a program of "regional centers" was created. These almost all operate in rural or high-unemployment areas and are designated by USCIS, but operated by private owners. Investors in regional centers need not fullfill the standard requirement of proving that they provided new jobs for ten U.S. workers, only that the regional center created ten or more jobs, directly or indirectly, or that it increased regional productivity.

Although regional centers are a highly sought after way to apply for a U.S. investor visa, the entire program is at risk. It is not a permanent part of U.S. immigration law, but was set to expire in December, 2017. At the last minute, Congress passed a short-term bill granting a brief extension, to January 19, 2018.

If you are in the process of obtaining an EB-5 immigrant visa through investment in a regional center then, to make sure your visa will be valid, you (and your spouse and children, if any) will need to receive it by the close of business on January 19, 2018. If you can't get through the system in time, your application will be put on hold in hopes of future Congressional action.