US Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) published a final rule on July 24 where a number of significant changes to its EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program are made, marking the first significant revision of the program’s regulations since 1993. The final rule will come into effect on November 21, 2019.
Under the EB-5 program, foreign individuals are eligible to apply for permanent residence in the United States if they make investments in a commercial enterprise in the United States, as well as engage in the management of the new enterprise by creating ten full-time jobs for US citizens or permanent residents.
Key changes to the EB-5 program include:
- Raising minimum investment amounts: After November 21, 2019, the minimum EB-5 investment in a targeted employment area (“TEA”) will increase from US$500,000 to US$900,000 for immigrant investors to become lawful permanent residents. For non-TEA, the standard minimum investment level will increase from US$1 million to US$1.8 million, the first increase since 1990.
- TEA designation reforms: The designation of TEA’s will be centralized to the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) and it will be USCIS’s responsibility to designate certain geographic areas to be eligible for the lower investment threshold. These revisions will help ensure TEA designations are assigned fairly and consistently, and that they closely adhere to congressional intent by directly investing in rural and high-unemployment areas most in need.