EB-5 Visa Program Undergoing Major Fee Adjustments

Proposed Fee Hikes Shake Up EB-5 Visa Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering substantial fee increases. This proposal, which has sent ripples across the immigrant investor community, could change the landscape for prospective EB-5 visa applicants. As of now, the DHS has extended the comment period for this proposal until March 2024, giving stakeholders more time to voice their concerns.

EB-5 Visa Program – A Lifeline for Aspiring Immigrants

The EB-5 Visa Program, officially known as the Employment-Based Immigrant Visa, Fifth Preference, offers a unique opportunity for foreign nationals and their dependents to obtain U.S. Green Cards by investing a minimum of $1,050,000 in a U.S. business.

This investment requirement is lowered to $800,000 if the investment is directed towards a targeted employment area (TEA) or an infrastructure project that can create a minimum of ten full-time jobs for qualifying employees.

The proposed fee restructuring, if implemented, will significantly alter the financial landscape for EB-5 visa applicants. Under the current fee structure, Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, and Form I-526E, Immigrant Petition by Regional Center Investor, cost $3,675. The DHS has recommended increasing this fee to an astonishing $11,160, marking a staggering 204 percent increase.

Similarly, Form I-829, Petition by Investor to Remove Conditions on Permanent Resident Status, currently carries a $3,750 fee. The proposed fee is set at $9,525, a 154 percent increase of $5,775. Form I-956, Application for Regional Center Designation, will see a fee increase from $17,795 to $47,695, representing a whopping 168 percent rise.

Furthermore, Form I-956F, Application for Approval of Investment in a Commercial Enterprise, will now require a $47,695 fee due to its reclassification from an optional submission.

Even Form I-956G, Regional Center Annual Statement, will not escape the fee hikes, with a proposed fee of $4,470, a 47 percent increase from the current $3,035 fee for Form I-924A.

The Impact of Proposed Changes

The repercussions of these proposed changes are far-reaching. Aspiring immigrants and investors who had set their sights on the EB-5 visa program may now face substantially higher costs. The fee increases could lead to financial burdens that many individuals and families may find insurmountable, potentially causing a decline in the number of applicants.

The current USCIS EB-5 visa fee schedule, which came into effect over six years ago, has now been called into question by the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022. This act has essentially reshaped the regional centre program, and as a result, new fee structures are being proposed to accommodate these changes.

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