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New rules for EB-5 investor visas

People in California who are involved in projects that require large amounts of capital might at times consider wooing investors from outside of the country. Since 1990, the nation has had a program in place whereby select investors have been able to receive temporary green cards based in part on the size of their financial investment. The location of a project could also be part of the qualification for this type of green card, formally known as the EB-5 investor visa

A person was generally required to have a minimum of $500,000 in cash available if applying for an EB-5 visa. These visas were commonly sought by rather wealthy people, leading some to criticize the program. For several years now, there has been an effort to make some changes to the requirements for an investor visa. According to a report by The Washington Post, a new rule has just been approved and will go into effect later this year.

One change in the EB-5 visa program concerns the authority to designate a region as "needy". To date, individual states have had this authority but that will now transition to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. For projects to be undertaken in these areas, often marked by high unemployment, a foreign investor must have a minimum of $900,000 cash on hand instead of the previous $500,000.

Projects that would be undertaken in any non-needy region will also see their investment requirement increase. For these projects, the current threshold is $1 million but when the new rule is in place, the threshold will be $1.8 million.



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