Regulatory Change to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

By Shae Armstrong

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on July 23, 2019 that final regulations will be published on July 24, 2019 making a number of significant changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program effective November 21, 2019. This is the first significant EB-5 regulatory change since 1993.

A few of the major changes to EB-5 in the final rule include:

  • Raising minimum investment amounts The normal minimum investment level will increase from $1 million to $1.8. The minimum investment in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) will increase from $500,000 to $900,000. The rule also provides for a process of inflation-based adjustments to the minimum investment amounts beginning on October 1, 2025 and every five years thereafter, with the TEA level always 50 percent of the "normal" amount. 
  • TEA designation reforms TEAs based on high unemployment areas will be determined only by USCIS itself and no longer state authorities (local authorities for Texas) and must either include the single census tract or contiguous census tracts in which the job creating business will operate, or also any or all census tracts directly adjacent to such tract(s). 
  • Allowing EB-5 petitioners to keep their priority date The final rule also offers greater flexibility to immigrant investors who have a previously approved EB-5 immigrant petition. When they need to file a new EB-5 petition, they generally now will be able to retain the priority date of the previously approved petition, subject to certain exceptions.

With this announcement, a EB-5 rush will commence (until November 21, 2019), which will require legal representation on project finance and immigration matters.

For more information on changes made to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, please contact Shae Armstrong, Elizabeth Chatham, Paul Lackey or the Stinson LLP contact with whom you regularly work.

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