Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule that makes a number of significant changes to its EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. The final rule will become effective on November 21, 2019 and marks USCIS’ first significant revision of the EB-5 Program’s regulations since 1993.
Starting November 21, 2019, the standard minimum investment level will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million. The rule also keeps the 50% minimum investment differential between a TEA and a non-TEA, thereby increasing the minimum investment amount in a TEA from $500,000 to $900,000. The final rule also provides that the minimum investment amounts will automatically adjust for inflation every five years. Some prospective investors may be unable to invest at the higher levels, and certain EB-5 projects may not be able to move forward due to the lack of requisite capital.
Additionally, as of November 21, 2019, individual states will no longer be able to designate certain geographic and political subdivisions as “high-unemployment areas”; instead, USCIS will make such determinations with the goal to ensure consistency and to more closely adhere to congressional intent to direct EB-5 investment to areas most in need. Starting November 21, 2019, a TEA may consist of a rural area or census tract or contiguous census tracts in which the new commercial enterprise is principally doing business if (a) the new commercial enterprise is located in more than one census tract; and (b) the weighted average of the unemployment rate for the tract or tracts is at least 150 percent of the national average. Many EB-5 projects that qualify under the current rules for the $500,000 investment level will no longer be able to qualify for TEA designation under these new rules; as such, for some EB-5 projects, the EB-5 investment level could jump from $500,000 to $1,800,000.
If you are interested in applying for a green card through the EB-5 program before these changes become effective, you need to act quickly. To learn more about these changes and what steps must be taken to file, please register for our free webinar tomorrow July 25, 2019 at 1:00 pm PDT.