Oct 18 American Legal Center Shai for web
Shai Zamanian, Legal Director and Founder, American Legal Center Image Credit:

With the lapse of the United States golden visa, called the EB-5 Immigrant Investor programme, on June 30, 2021 due to a lack of reauthorisation by Congress, there has been pent up demand for access to the US for many families out of the Middle East and North Africa. Families seeking to begin their immigration journey to the US have for months been impatiently awaiting the news of reauthorisation of the EB-5 Regional Center programme, which industry experts expect to occur within the next month.

The EB-5 programme is a fast tracked option for foreign investors to obtain US residency and Green Cards. The purpose of the programme is to benefit the US economy by way of job creation through the use of foreign investment. Foreign nationals can obtain the US Green Card for themselves and their immediate family members, including spouse and children under the age of 21, by way of making an investment of $500,000 in a new commercial enterprise in the Un. For each investor, the $500,000 investment must be used to create a minimum of 10 jobs for US persons.

Access to America through the EB-5 programme had slowed down from late November 2019 to late June 2022 due to its increased cost. The Trump administration had increased the required investment amount from $500,000 to $900,000, which automatically precluded many families from being able to participate due to a lack of sufficient funds. On June 22, 2021, a US federal court vacated the Trump-era rule, which effectively reduced the investment amount back to $500,000.

The news of the reduction in capital investment coupled with the then-looming sunset of the EB-5 Regional Center programme led to the June rush in which foreign nationals, especially expats in the UAE, rushed to file their applications. With effectively seven days to file their applications, given the time required for the gathering of documents and transferring of funds, many families missed the June deadline and have since then been eagerly waiting for the programme to reemerge.

With the EB-5 Regional Center programme expected to be reauthorised on December 3, 2021, here are three tips for foreign nationals to stay ahead of the upcoming December rush:

1. Engage with the right EB-5 advisor to serve as your active guide throughout the process

First and foremost, it is imperative that you engage the services of a top immigration consultant to assist you through the entire EB-5 process. Consultants act as a liaison between the client, attorney of record, and the regional center which sponsors the project.

“You should feel a sense of ease with your advisors as the EB-5 process takes a few years to complete and you will develop many questions along the way,” says Shai Zamanian, Legal Director and Founder of The American Legal Center, among the top EB-5 advisors in Dubai.

“We consider our clients as part of our EB-5 family. We always encourage our clients to ask questions and be comfortable in reaching out to us and that’s why we don’t charge by the hour,” says Zamanian.

2. Collect the necessary documentation to prove your source of funds

One of the requirements of the EB-5 programme is that an investor’s source and path of funds for the investment must both be lawful. Failure to show sufficient documentation will place your application at risk of denial. Your consulting and legal team will provide you with a list of documents to begin collecting in preparation for your application.

3. Choose the right EB-5 project and transfer the required funds

Lastly, choosing the right project is important because if the project does not meet the program requirements, your EB-5 application is at risk of denial. The right project must have the correct documentation in place, such as a business plan, economic analysis report, job creation reports, and an offering memorandum. Other considerations with respect to choosing the right project include the existence of transparency for the investor, such as an on-site camera to monitor the project construction and monthly or quarterly investor reports.

With the December rush around the corner, families looking to file their EB-5 petitions must act swiftly. The general consensus between the EB-5 industry is that the programme will be reauthorised on December 3 at $500,000. That said, there is a chance that the program will once again witness a price increase. To take advantage of the benefits of the EB-5 program at the current $500,000 price, investors should act quickly to catch the next filing window.