Jun 07 2021

What's Next for the EB-5 Regional Center Program?

United States

At a glance

  • The EB-5 Regional Center Program is set to expire on June 30, 2021, unless Congress acts to reauthorize it.
  • There are widespread advocacy efforts to support bills to reauthorize the program. Though their prospects for passage are unclear, it is not certain that the EB-5 Regional Center Program will expire.
  • Fragomen is closely monitoring discussions in Congress and will continue to provide updates.

A closer look

Unless reauthorized by Congress, the EB-5 Regional Center Program is set to expire on June 30, 2021. In the past, the program – which has never been made permanent -- was typically reauthorized in one-year increments, as part of annual government funding legislation. Earlier this year, after the last program expiration, Congress took the unusual step of decoupling program extensions from appropriations legislation. The six-month extension meant that the program would expire midyear unless Congress reauthorizes it once again. The short reauthorization also means Congress will have a midyear opportunity to make statutory changes to the program, which have long been discussed in the legislature.

Legislative proposals on the EB-5 Regional Center Program

Currently, several EB-5 Regional Center Program bills are pending in Congress. Chief among these is the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2021, sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT). This bill would reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program through September 2026 and would also increase the compliance responsibilities of Regional Centers, including more expansive accounting and auditing requirements.  

The prospects for the Grassley-Leahy bill are uncertain at this stage, though it is being supported by a number of business groups, including Invest In the USA (IIUSA). EB-5 regional center stakeholders are engaged in vigorous advocacy to urge reauthorization of the program. Fragomen has joined other critical stakeholders in advocating for reauthorization, stressing to congressional leaders the significant economic benefits that the program has brought and continues to bring to the United States.

How would investors be affected if the EB-5 Regional Center Program expires?

It is not yet clear how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would address the expiration of the program, if that occurs. In the past, during temporary expirations, USCIS has accepted Form I-526 Immigrant Petitions by Alien Investors, and Form I-485 Applications for Adjustment of Status to Permanent Residence, but put the adjudication of new and pending cases on hold pending action in Congress. Forms I-829 Petitions by Investors to Remove Conditions on Permanent Residence Status were not affected by past program expirations. These actions were taken while Congress debated and finalized legislation to extend the program. It is possible that Congress could issue a short-term temporary extension of the Regional Center Program while it considers new reauthorization legislation. 

The firm is closely monitoring congressional deliberations concerning the Regional Center Program and will provide updates as developments occur.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.