New Regulations

Under a new rule (i.e., made law pursuant to administrative federal register as opposed to a congressional change) published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, several changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program went into effect on Nov. 21, 2019.

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The new rule modernizes the EB-5 program by:

1) PRIORITY RETENTION – Certain immigrant investors will keep the priority date of a previously approved EB-5 petition when they file a new petition.

2) INCREASED MINIMUM INVESTMENTS – 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.

Future adjustments will also be tied to inflation (per the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, or CPI-U) and occur every 5 years.

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3) TARGETED EMPLOYMENT AREA (TEA) DESIGNATIONS – We will now directly review and determine the designation of high-unemployment TEAs; we will no longer defer to TEA designations made by state and local governments.

Specially designated high-unemployment TEAs will now consist of a combination of census tracts that include the tract or contiguous tracts in which the new commercial enterprise is principally doing business, including any or all directly adjacent tracts.

Provided they have experienced an average unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate, TEAs may now include cities and towns with a population of 20,000 or more outside of metropolitan statistical areas.

These changes will help direct investment to areas most in need and increase the consistency of how high-unemployment areas are defined in the program.

4) CLARIFIED PROCEDURES FOR THE REMOVAL OF CONDITIONS ON PERMANENT RESIDENCE – This rule:

Specifies when derivative family members (for example, a spouse and children whose immigration status comes from the status of a primary benefit petitioner) who are lawful permanent residents must independently file to remove conditions on their permanent residence;

Includes flexibility in interview locations;

Updates the regulations to reflect the current process for issuing permanent resident cards (Green Cards).