What is the EB-5 Regional Center Program?
The EB-5 Regional Center Program is one which facilitates foreigners obtaining a United States resident visa by investing a minimum of $500,000 in certain EB-5 projects across the country. These businesses usually are ones that improve the economy of the United States and aid in the creation of more jobs for Americans. The program began in the US in 1994.
The latest US federal government shutdown started on December 22nd 2018 due to the fact that the budget for fiscal year 2018/2019 could not be agreed upon. A link has been drawn between the extension of the EB-5 program and the funding of the federal government since 2015. Every time there is an interruption of the federal government funding due to a shutdown, the program has received short term extensions.
Effects of the Government Shutdown on the Program
As with previous shutdowns, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) continued to operate. This is made possible due to the fact that the agency is self-funded. In fact, when an immigrant investor applies, there are associated fees which is used as the revenue for the agency.
Thus, despite the shutdown, the USCIS will continue to operate and process all documentation associated with the EB-5 Program including I-526, I-485 forms and receive I-829 petitions. It is also expected that applicants and investors continue to cooperate with the USCIS in terms of Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny.
It should be noted that the shutdown will cause two major changes for EB-5 Regional Center Program investors:
- discontinuation of new immigration visa interviews
- inability to file a new adjustment of status application
The discontinuation of new immigration visa interviews does not mean the cancellation of already scheduled interviews that are to take place within the shutdown period. These interviews will still take place. Additionally, the inability to file a new adjustment of status application does not affect other forms such as renewals of employment authorization and advance parole.
Finally, new applicants to the EB-5 Regional Center Program can in fact apply for it during the shutdown. However, these applications will not be processed until the shutdown is ended so no decision will be made during the shutdown period.