On July 23rd, 2019 the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced several very important changes to the EB-5 Green Card process. The following is an extract from the USCIS service.
“Under a new rule published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, several changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program will go into effect on Nov. 21, 2019.
The new rule modernizes the EB-5 program by:
- Providing priority date retention to certain EB-5 investors;
- Increasing the required minimum investment amounts to account for inflation;
- Reforming certain targeted employment area (TEA) designations;
- Clarifying USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence; and
- Making other technical and conforming revisions.
What You Need to Know
Priority date retention
- Certain immigrant investors will keep the priority date of a previously approved EB-5 petition when they file a new petition.
Increased minimum investments
- The standard minimum investment amount increases to $1.8 million (from $1 million) to account for inflation.
- The minimum investment in a TEA increases to $900,000 (from $500,000) to account for inflation.
- Future adjustments will also be tied to inflation (per the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, or CPI-U) and occur every 5 years.
Targeted employment area (TEA) designations
- We will now directly review and determine the designation of high-unemployment TEAs; we will no longer defer to TEA designations made by state and local governments.
- Specially designated high-unemployment TEAs will now consist of a combination of census tracts that include the tract or contiguous tracts in which the new commercial enterprise is principally doing business, including any or all directly adjacent tracts.
- Provided they have experienced an average unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate, TEAs may now include cities and towns with a population of 20,000 or more outside of metropolitan statistical areas.
- These changes will help direct investment to areas most in need and increase the consistency of how high-unemployment areas are defined in the program.
Clarified procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence
- This rule:
- Specifies when derivative family members (for example, a spouse and children whose immigration status comes from the status of a primary benefit petitioner) who are lawful permanent residents must independently file to remove conditions on their permanent residence;
- Includes flexibility in interview locations; and
- Updates the regulations to reflect the current process for issuing permanent resident cards (Green Cards).” [i]
[i] “EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program”. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Accessed July 30, 2019. https://www.uscis.gov/eb-5.