The EB-5 visa is a way to get your green card and permanent residency through investment. The EB-5 investor visa program enables foreigners who make an investment in a U.S. business to obtain a green card and become lawful permanent residents, and eventual citizens, of the U.S. The investment can lead to a green card for the investor to permanently live and work in the U.S. with their spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21. The EB-5 visa program is operated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The program was established by the U.S. Congress in 1990 to facilitate increased investment in the U.S. economy.
In the past, to meet EB-5 investor visa requirements, foreign investors must make an “at risk” capital investment in a for-profit U.S. business entity. The required investment amount is either $500,000 or $1 million, depending on which project you invest in. If you invest in a target employment area (TEA) the investment is $500,000, if you invest elsewhere the minimum required investment is $1 million. EB-5 investments must lead to the creation of 10 fulltime U.S. jobs for at least two years.
Now under the
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 November 21, 2019. The most significant is that 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. In other words, the new rule nearly doubles the minimum amount of cash required to secure an EB-5 investor visa. In addition, the new regulation will grant USCIS the authority to designate high unemployment TEA’s and eliminate state involvement. It further restricts a TEA to the immediate area around an EB-5 project, such as a census tract or contiguous tracts and adjacent areas. USCIS will no longer permit the inclusion of more remote high-unemployment areas for which U.S. workers may commute to TEA jobs. USCIS has decided not to allow approved Regional Centers to seek investment under the existing regulations after November 20th. If a Regional Center does not meet the new EB-5 eligibility criteria, its approved application will expire on November 21st. The new rule does not address the long standing retrogression issues. Investors from China and more recently from India are in long wait times due to country limits placed on them by the U.S. immigration program.
Please reach out to your Greenspoon Marder LLP
Immigration & Naturalization Practice Group attorney for any further questions or concerns.
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