EB5 visa, the fastest and best path to get a green card underwent yet another update. For close to a decade, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) made several attempts to reform the popular EB5 Investor Visa, with little progress.
However, on 26th July 2019, the USCIS published New Rules for the modernization of the EB5 Investor Visa in the Federal Register suggesting significant changes to the program. These changes will be effective on 21st November 2019.
Let’s take a look at the changes.
Increase in Investment Thresholds
With the new rule, the minimum investment an investor needs to make has been revised to account for inflation.
According to the USCIS, the minimum investment will nearly double the amount of cash required from $500,000 to $900,000 if the project is located in a TEA (Target Employment Area) and from $1,000,000 to $1,800,000 if not located in a TEA.
“The new rule raises the amount of investment to be made for the EB 5 program.”
Further, these threshold investment limits will be revised every 5 years. The predetermined periodic adjustments of threshold limits will provide consistency and predictability. Thus, it will allow EB 5 visa aspirants to plan their petitions accordingly.
Priority Date Retention
Under the new rule, EB 5 investors will be able to retain their visa priority date in case they have to make amendments to their EB5 petition for reasons beyond their control.
The priority date is the date that fixes your place in a queue to apply for the immigrant visa. It also allows EB 5 investors to retain their previous priority date in the event they have to make a new petition.
Thus, allowing certain EB5 investors to use a priority date of a previously approved petition. This is a significant benefit that brings respite for investors from countries with huge backlogs.
Determining and Reviewing The Designation Of TEA
The authority to determine and review areas for designation of TEA now vests directly with the USCIS. Previously, US states and local governments enjoyed broad authority to designate areas with high unemployment as TEAs. This often led to lobbying and TEA designations that were favorable to foreign investors for EB 5 projects.
However, now the USCIS will use a combination of census tracts and statistical data of the level of unemployment in the areas to designate TEA. According to the USCIS, this move will help direct investment to those areas that most need it.
It has also widened the bracket of TEA to cover cities and towns outside the metropolitan statistical areas. The condition is they have a minimum population of 20,000 and a minimum average unemployment rate of 150% of the national average unemployment rate.
Removal Of Conditions On Permanent Residence
With the new rules, USCIS provides clarity on the subject of permanent residence for derivative family members.
Derivative family members include your spouse and unmarried children below the age of 21 whose immigration status is dependent on the status of the primary benefit petitioner.
Such family members must independently file Form I-829 to remove conditions on their permanent residence. In addition, it also provides flexibility in interview locations to help streamline the EB5 visa adjudication process.
“Derivative family members must independently file Form I-829 to remove conditions on their permanent residence.”
Making Several Technical And Conforming Amendments
Corresponding updates have been made in the regulations and existing process for issuing green cards. It is important to note that there is no change in the standards used by the US government and the Department of Homeland Security for the scrutiny of the source of funds of investors.
What Are The Options For Prospective EB 5 Investors?
Prospective EB 5 investors must file their petition prior to November 21st, 2019 if they want to leverage the current rules. According to the existing rules, you can qualify for the EB5 visa with a minimum capital contribution of $500,000. With this in mind, we recommend prospective petitioners to invest to benefit from the existing regulations.
For more information about EB 5 projects for qualifying investment, click here!
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New EB 5 Modernization Rule Advances the Immigration Investment Program | Houston EB5 – Houston, TX