A Brief History of EB-5 Investor Visas

25 Year History of EB-5 Visas

HISTORY OF THE EB-5 VISA PROGRAM

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The underlying policy of the EB-5 investor visa and the related Pilot Program is to benefit the United States economy overall including United States communities that are economically disadvantaged, United States workers, and the foreign national investors. The goal of the EB-5 investor visa program is to generate so-called “win-win” scenarios for all parties involved or affected.

A 2003 United States Government report indicated that about $1 billion has been invested in the United States economy through the EB-5 program.

Today we estimate that the amount invested pursuant to this visa category is nearly double that 2003 figure. There have been many success stories involved with the granting of EB-5 Visas.

Given the positive impact of this program in creating United States jobs and economic development, we strongly anticipate that the EB-5 Investment Visa and the related Pilot Program will be viable for many years to come.

History of the EB-5 visa for Investors

Through the Immigration Act of 1990 Investor VISA Program, Congress enacted the Immigration Act of 1990, which includes a program permitting foreign investors to obtain permanent residency in the United States. Section 121(b)5 of the Act created a new investor immigrant visa category aimed at generating a significant inward flow of foreign capital and creating jobs for United States workers.

The new legislation made 10,000 Green Cards of permanent residency available nationwide each year for qualified immigrant investors. The Act requires a capital investment of $1 million for all areas, except in rural and high unemployment areas where a lowered investment of $500,000 may be made.

The investment must also create full-time employment for at least ten United States citizens or other legal residents-other than members of the investor’s family for a period of two years. Entrepreneurs will receive a two-year provisional visa and, if the criteria are met, a permanent Green Card may be issued. The Immigration Act states that not less than 3,000 of the 10,000 visas shall be reserved for investors who establish a new commercial enterprise in a targeted employment area.

The law requires that the qualifying level of high unemployment be 150 percent of the annual national average unemployment rate. There have been several related subsequent Congressional enactments since the creation of the EB-5 visa category. In 1993 Congress created the related EB-5 Pilot Program as part of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, State, Judiciary and Related Appropriations Act of 1993.

In 2002, Congress in passing the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations and Authorization Act of 2002, extended and simplified the EB-5 visa category by removing several administrative and legal hurdles created by the INS and subsequent court decisions.

In 2003 Congress reauthorized the Regional Center Pilot Program, of which CMB Export participates, in the Basic Pilot Program Extension and Expansion Act of 2003. $500,000 investments in targeted employment areas made via a Regional Center such as CMB Export need only show indirect job creation using any “reasonable methodologies”.

It wasn't until the late 2000's, and the rise of China and its exploding number of millionaires -- many of whom had their eyes on Western locations for their families to set down roots -- that the EB-5 went from largely ignored to high demand. Recent estimates sugggest that, as a result of US immigration limits on Asian countries, there is a waitlist of up to 12 years for EB-5 visas in China.

Today, the EB-5 has taken centre stage as the most prominent and well-established investor visa among a menu of newer offerings. As such, investors have many options, but increasingly require guidance through a set of decisions and options to ensure a low-risk process leads smoothy on to a US Green Card and eventual citizenship.

Our UK-based US attorneys and experts can guide you to the options that best suit your needs and circumstances. Complete our free assessment form for quick, expert feedback. 

A history of the EB-5 Visa
EB-5 visa 25 year history

Name: From humble beginnings

Description: When the EB-5 Visa was first launched there were only a handful approved each year. Since the the EB-5 Visa has become one of the worlds most popular investor visas.

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