On July 24, 2019, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule in the Federal Register which makes numerous and significant changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. This rule acts as a major overhaul to the regulations that govern the EB-5 program, and the changes are summarized below.
When does the rule take effect? Per USCIS, the new rule will take effect on November 21, 2019. This means that any EB-5 petition filed on or after this date is subject to the new rule. Petitions that are timely filed before November 21, 2019, are subject to the existing rules.
Have the minimum amounts required for investing changed? Yes. This is the most significant change the new rule will address. For a Targeted Employment Areas (TEA), the minimum investment rises from $500,000 to $900,000. For a standard EB-5 visa, the minimum required investment amount rises from $1 million to $1.8 million. In addition, the rule provides that these amounts will increase every 5 years automatically to account for inflation.
Who designates the TEA? Once the rule takes effect, the Department of Homeland Security will review and designate high unemployment TEAs based on the new rule.
Are there procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence and for where the interview takes place? For derivative family members who are not included in the petition filed by the principal investor, in order to remove conditions on their permanent residence, these derivative family members must file their own petitions. In addition, interviews may now be scheduled at a USCIS field office that has jurisdiction over the commercial enterprise belonging to the immigrant investor, or at the location where the I-829 petition is being adjudicated.
Is there a priority date retention for certain EB-5 investors? DHS will allow an EB–5 investor to use the priority date of previously approved EB-5 immigrant petition for use in connection with a subsequent EB-5 petition, unless DHS revokes the petition’s approval for fraud or willful misrepresentation by the petitioner, or revokes the petition for a material error.
Are currently approved regional centers eligible for EB-5 investment after the new rule takes effect? If a currently approved Regional Center does not meet the new eligibility criteria, it will no longer be eligible for EB-5 investment once the new rules take effect. Existing rules will continue to be in effect for Form I-526 petitions filed with USCIS before November 21, 2019.
As you can see, the changes to the EB-5 rules are quite numerous and significant. The Paturi Law Firm has the experience and knowledge to walk you through the various pitfalls so that your EB-5 visa has a greater chance of being approved. Please call or e-mail us today to schedule an appointment.