EB-5 Visa Program Extended through April, Faces an Uncertain Future by Andrew Leonard, CPA
Posted on February 08, 2017 by Andrew Leonard
At the end of 2016, Congress voted to extend until April 28, 2017, federal funding for the EB-5 visa program that provides foreign investors with a fast-track to U.S. residency in exchange for a capital investment in a U.S. commercial project that spurs economic growth.
Established in 1990, the EB-5 program grants green cards to foreign investors (and their spouses and children) who invest a minimum of $500,000 in a U.S. project that creates or preserves at least 10 permanent jobs. After two years, the investor can petition the government for permanent U.S. residency. According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Office, 9,764 EB-5 visas were issued in 2015, contributing to the more than $15 billion of direct foreign investment that flowed to the U.S. through the program. As the program’s popularity has increased, so too has federal scrutiny of its complexities and questions about its integrity. This challenge, coupled with the new administration’s focus on immigration reform, leaves the future of the EB-5 program as it stands today uncertain beyond the April 28 deadline. Proposals for future reform include raising the minimum investment requirement and refocusing investments to only those projects located in depressed and high-unemployment areas of the U.S.
Foreign individuals considering immigration to the U.S. should plan ahead under the guidance of experienced accountants, financial planners and attorneys to avoid risks and ensure compliance with the U.S’s complex tax, investment and immigration laws.
About the Author: Andrew Leonard, CPA, is an associate director with Berkowitz Pollack Brant’s International Tax Services practice, where he focuses on pre- and post-immigration tax planning for individuals from South America, Asia and Europe and helps U.S. citizens with foreign interests meet their filing disclosure requirements. He can be reached at the CPA firm’s Boca Raton, Fla., office at (561) 361-2000 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.