U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services recently held a public listening session related to recent changes taken in the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. These changes can affect how potential business investors immigrate to the United States. Below you will find a short explanation of the EB-5 program, and an overview of the recent changes to the program.
The EB-5 Program
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program allows foreign investors to apply for a Green Card through investing in the U.S. market. Since the creation of the program in 1990, the rule has held that an investor must make an “at risk” capital investment in a for-profit U.S. business entity. Additionally, the investment must lead to the creation of 10 U.S. jobs for at least two years.
The new rules will go into effect on November 21, 2019. While there are four to five total changes, there are two that are especially pertinent to potential foreign investors.
Change 1: Increase in Investment Amount
For the last 29 years, the required investment amount has remained at $1 million for most businesses, and $500,000 for investments in what USCIS refers to as Targeted Employment Areas (“TEA”). However, on November 21, 2019, the amount for most business investment will increase to $1.8 million and the required investment in TEAs will increase to $900,000. Subsequently, USCIS plans to adjust this amount going forward every five years to account for inflation.
Change 2: Priority Date Retention
Sometimes EB-5 petitioners need to change their investment due to circumstances outside their control and file a new EB-5 immigrant investor petition. The new rule provides that if such an investor has an approved petition before the effective date of the new rule – November 21, 2019 – that investor can hold his or her “place in line” in processing times when filing a new petition after the effective date.
What does this mean for potential EB-5 Immigrant Investors?
In addition to these two changes, there are other more technical changes to the EB-5 immigrant investor program set to take place on November 21, 2019. If you are a potential EB-5 immigrant investor and need help navigating these issues, Fortini Laing Law can advise you as to your options.