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What are “Reserved EB-5 Visas” or “Set-Asides”?

The areas where the U.S. Congress wants to direct EB-5 investment are known as Targeted Employment Areas (TEA). Since job creation is needed in these locations, the TEA minimum investment amount is US $800,000, instead of the US $1,050,000 required for more affluent areas. Although the lower TEA investment benefit has been part of EB-5 since its inception in 1990, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 (RIA) established three Reserved Visa Categories and assigned 32% of all EB-5 Visas to them.

The Reserved Visas are also known as “Set-Asides” as 20% of all EB-5 Visas are earmarked for Rural TEA Projects, 10% for High Unemployment TEA projects, and 2% for Infrastructure projects. Also, the RIA mandates that EB-5 Petitions for Rural Projects be given priority processing (goal of 4 months). This is not surprising, as the two US Senators that sponsored the law, Chuck Grassley (Republican, Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (Democrat, Vermont) are from rural states.

This provision is allowing EB-5 Investors from oversubscribed countries, namely China and India to be given a Visa number and get Conditional Residence as long as their visa category does not become oversubscribed.