On April 20th, 2020, President Trump declared on Twitter that he would “temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” via executive order. The President has since signed the Executive Order on April 22nd, which largely limits immigration into the U.S. (i.e., entering with an immigrant visa).
However, the positive news is that there are numerous classes of individuals who remain exempt from the executive order and may still enter the United States, including EB-5 investors. The official list of exempt individuals is below:
- EB-5 investors;
- Lawful Permanent Residents (current green card holders);
- Foreign Nationals entering the U.S. on an Immigrant Visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combatting, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such foreign national who are accompanying or following to join;
- Spouses of U.S. Citizens;
- Foreign nationals who are under 21 years old and are children of the U.S. citizens;
- Foreign nationals whose presence in the U.S. is in the national interest;
- Foreign nationals whose entry furthers U.S. law enforcement objectives; and
- Asylum seekers and certain Special Immigrant entrants such as Iraqi and Afghani nationals who have assisted the U.S. military.
Positive News for EB-5 Investors
For our investor families who are already in the queue under the EB-5 program or who are considering proceeding with the EB-5 program, there is good news and should be received as a vote of confidence in the EB-5 program by this administration, especially as the world deals with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EB-5 program, unlike many other immigrant visas, is one that benefits the U.S. economy by creating jobs using foreign direct investment at virtually no cost to the U.S. taxpayer. While there have been rumors circulating for years about the EB-5 program and its potential to be shuttered or severely restricted, its exemption from this executive order in a critical time shows that the Trump administration recognizes the positive impact that the EB-5 program can have on the U.S. economy. At its core, the EB-5 program is a win-win-win for all parties involved. The U.S. economy receives a sorely needed injection of foreign capital and verified job creation from the developers and regional centers governing the projects, and the developers receive capital to deploy in their projects at discounted rates relative to commercial bank loans. Investors receive a clear way of obtaining a permanent green card and eventual citizenship that may not have been possible via alternative immigrant visa options.
COVID-19 Executive Order: EB-5 FAQ
- If I want to make an investment in the U.S. and take advantage of the EB-5 visa program, am I affected by the Executive Order?
No, you are not affected.
- My I-526 Petition has been approved. Can I file and obtain an immigrant visa abroad?
Yes. The Executive Order exempts explicitly those individuals entering the United States with an EB-5 visa. Consulates are not prohibited from issuing immigrant visas according to the EB-5 program. However, EB-5 applicants should note that U.S. Consulates and Embassies remain closed for in-person interview appointments and may not open for another 60 days. Individuals who have EB-5 visas already but have yet to enter the United States are also not affected. Likewise, those EB-5 investors in the United States who are eligible to file for adjustment of status can still file Form I-485 with USCIS.
- I am a conditional green card holder; can I still file my I-829 Petition?
Yes. The Executive Order does not affect current green card holders, an investor’s ability to file an I-829 Petition with USCIS, and the ability of USCIS to approve your I-829 Petition.
- Will USCIS continue processing my I-526 Petition or I-829 Petition?
Yes. USCIS processing of I-526 Petitions and I-829 Petitions are not affected by this Executive Order.
- Could I experience any delays in my EB-5 visa process as a result of the Executive Order?
No. There is nothing in the Executive Order that would impose a delay on processing an I-526 Petition, I-829 Petition, I-485, or Immigrant Visa application based on an approved I-526 Petition.
We understand that this time may be challenging for EB-5 investors and their families. Although the recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things, it has not changed who we are and what we do – As always, we remain here to serve you with any questions or concerns you may have. Please feel free to reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.