Rural EB-5 Category and Advantages
As part of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act that was passed in March of 2022, the rural EB-5 category was awaeded strong advatanges.
First and foremost, EB-5 applicants who select rural project receive priority processing, the fastest path to residency in the EB-5 program. Non-priority processing projects have approximate approval times of 2-3 years, so we are currently estimating priority processing to take approximately 1-2 years. Eventuatlly, the USCIS is required by law to adjudicate these petitions within 120 days. While this timelines would be ideal, it is not currently realistic. However, the good news is that processing times are trending in a positive direction. The USCIS is hiring more adjudicators and collecting larger fee revenues to be able to process these petition.
Second, rural projects have the highest allocation of set-aside visas in the EB-5 program. This is very important for investors born in high-demand countries like India, China, Vietnam, and South Korea. Investors from high-demand markets are in danger of facing visa retrogression, when demand for visas caused by high number of filings surpasses the annual quota of visas available to a country in a given fiscal year. Visa retrogression causes extended waits for the green card due to limited visa availability even if the petition has been approved. The path at avoiding lengthy wait times is by selecting an EB-5 project in the rural category as it as 20% visas set aside every fiscal year, the largest allocation in the EB-5 program.
Our team is thoroughly experienced in the EB-5 process and has extensive experience with investors from dozens of countries, so we are knowledgeable of the changing market conditions and how to best assist our clients. We will do whatever it takes to expedite the process for you and your family, while still providing realistic expectations and practical guidelines.
Whether you invest in an urban TEA or rural EB-5 project, Houston EB-5 will be working with you every step of the way.
EB-5 Rural Program
Until recently, most EB-5 investments were directed toward urban centers. Investment money was flowing into the most prosperous hubs of major cities, while outer areas received less attention. As of May 2022, projects in underdeveloped regions are being incentivized with a lower minimum investment and priority visa processing.
There are two types of investment projects that qualify:
- Rural Development Areas: Rural projects focus on infrastructure advancement and job creation outside a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). These projects are located near highly industrial cities, making them both socially and economically beneficial.
- Target Employment Areas (TEA): TEAs are characterized by an unemployment rate of at least 1.5 times the national average within one census tract. In other words, these areas are primary targets for investors because they are in need of greater employment opportunities.
For regular Non-TEA projects, the minimum investment amount is $1,050,000 and investors can only receive standard visa processing. If you invest in a rural project, the minimum investment amount is $800,000 and you qualify for priority processing with 2,000 set-aside visas available per year.
Urban TEA areas are a hot commodity; with only 1,000 set-aside visas available annually. That’s why Houston EB-5 is focusing on rural development projects. With twice as many EB-5 visas set aside for priority processing, you can make the minimum investment of $800,000 and receive your green card in about 18 months.
Why Fredericksburg, Texas?
Texas is booming with economic growth. It is the number one job-creating state in the nation, not to mention its 15-year consecutive ranking as the best state for starting and running a business. It is home to 54 Fortune 500 companies (and counting) and constantly attracts new citizens and investors. It is no wonder that Texas continues to maintain the second-largest state economy in the U.S., nor is it any surprise that central Texas is a hub for EB-5 investors.
This town was founded by immigrants in 1846 and—with continuous attention from media and news sources—is becoming one of Texas’s top areas of development. From wineries and luxury golf courses to hundreds of boutique shops, museums, and outdoo rrecreational areas, Fredericksburg is bursting with activity and investment opportunities.
The city annexed a 22-acre site off of Main Street for a development containing hotel and event space. As the town continues to grow and gain in popularity, the unmet demand for a luxury hotel and housing inventory are becoming more critical.
The Frederick’s investors qualify for the $800,000 minimum, priority processing, the strongest protection against visa retrogression, and countless educational and medical benefits for family members, all while being granted the right to work in the United States without sponsorship. If in the U.S. on a valid visa, the EB-5 investor can take advantage of a concurrent filing through an Adjustment of Status that yields the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and the Advance Parole (AP/travel authorization) in as littles as 3-6 months.