On July 24th, USCIS will publish a final rule in the Federal Register titled “EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization” which brings significant changes to the program since 1993. This final rule becomes effective November 21, 2019.
The EB-5 program was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy by creating jobs and capital investment by foreign investors. In order to qualify, an EB-5 investor must invest the required amount of capital in a “new commercial enterprise” that will create at least 10 full-time jobs for U.S. workers. The full-time workers must work at least 35 hours a week, and the investor, spouse, and children may not be counted among the ten full-time employees. The individual can eventually apply for conditional lawful permanent residence in the United States.
Some of the major changes to the EB-5 program include:
- Minimum investment amounts will be raised. Currently, the standard minimum investment level is $1 million, or $500,000 in a targeted employment area (“TEA”). This will increase to a minimum investment of $1.8 million, or $900,000 if invested in a TEA. Additionally, these minimum investment amounts will be adjusted for inflation every 5 years.
- USCIS procedures for removing conditions on permanent residence will be clarified. The rule revises regulations to clarify that certain derivative family members must file their own petitions to remove conditions on their permanent residence when they are not included in a petition to remove conditions filed by the EB-5 immigrant investor. The rule also improves the adjudication process to the interview process for removal of conditions by flexibility in interview scheduling and location.
- EB-5 petitioners will be able to retain their priority date. If an immigrant investor has a previously approved EB-5 petition that was properly filed, if they need to file a new EB-5 petition they will generally be able to retain the priority date of the previously approved petition.
For more information about the EB-5 visa, contact a qualified immigration attorney.