The EB-5 visa allows foreign investors, their spouses, and unmarried children under 21 years of age to obtain lawful permanent residency in the U.S. The program was created in 1990 to stimulate the economy and foster job growth. To qualify for an EB-5 visa, an investor must meet specific requirements, which were recently updated by the Department of Homeland Security and will go into effect on November 21, 2019.
Minimum Investment Increases
Currently, when a foreign national invests in a commercial enterprise in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) – a rural area or location with a high unemployment rate – the investment amount was $500,000. After the changes become effective, that amount will increase to $900,000.
For investments made outside TEAs, the investment amount was $1,000,000. However, the new regulation will increase that to $1,800,000, which is double the amount of a TEA investment.
Additionally, to align with inflation, the investment requirement will be automatically updated every 5 years.
USCIS TEA Designation Responsibilities
Currently, states are in charge of designating certain locations as TEAs. However, some states would combine high unemployment areas with low unemployment areas and average it to reach TEA targets in more affluent locations.
To stop that kind of gerrymandering, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will take over TEA designations.
Modifications to Conditions Removal Process
When an EB-5 applicant is approved for permanent residency, they have certain conditions placed on them. One of the main requirements is creating, or maintaining, at least 10 U.S. full-time jobs for U.S. workers at their business. After 2 years of being admitted to the U.S., the EB-5 investor must petition to have the conditions removed and prove they have met the obligations.
When the updates come into effect, the EB-5 investor’s derivative family members, such as their spouse or children, must file for condition removal independently from the primary petitioner. They will also be interviewed at a local USCIS field office.
Priority Date Retention
Under the new regulations, if a foreign investor’s EB-5 visa was previously approved, but for some reason must reapply, their priority date will stay the same as before.
Contact Davis & Associates for a Free Consultation
If you are a foreign national considering investing in a commercial business in the U.S., it is recommended to file for an EB-5 visa before the updates come into effect, which would allow you to qualify for the lower investment amount. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping meet your immigration goals. We will provide compassionate and supportive representation to guide you through the permanent residency process.