Immigration has changed the conditions for issuing EB-5 investment visas

The Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced changes in the conditions of the EB-5 visa program for immigrant investors, which was the first significant revision of the rules since 1993. The updated rules will be officially published on July 24, and will take effect after November 21, 2019.
Changes include:
• Increasing minimum investment amounts;
• Revision of standards to identify target employment areas (TEA);
• Transfer to USCIS of responsibility for designating and managing target employment zones;
• Clarification of USCIS procedures for removing contingencies from the green card;
• Allowing EB-5 applicants to maintain a priority date under certain circumstances.
• Under the EB-5 program, individuals are eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence in the United States if they invest in a place of business in the United States and create or (under certain circumstances) retain 10 permanent jobs for qualified US workers .

“About 30 years ago, Congress created the EB-5 program to help US workers, stimulate the economy, and help distressed communities by encouraging foreign investment in the US,” said Ken Cuccinelli, Acting Director of USCIS. - Since its inception, the EB-5 program has moved away from the intentions of Congress. Our reforms increase the level of investment in view of inflation over the past 30 years and significantly limit the likelihood of fraud to ensure that reduced investment is reserved for the most needy areas - rural and areas with high unemployment. The last rule reinforces the EB-5 program, returning it to the goal of the Congress. ”

What will change:
Increase the minimum amount of investment. Starting from the effective date of the final set of rules, the standard minimum investment will increase from $ 1 million to $ 1.8 million (for the first time since 1990, including inflation). The rule also maintains a minimum 50% investment differential between the TEA and non-TEA zones, thereby increasing the minimum investment amount in TEA from 500,000 to 900,000 US dollars. Minimum investment amounts will be automatically adjusted for inflation every five years.

Designation of targeted employment areas (TEM). The last rule outlines the changes in the EB-5 program, aimed at combating the development of areas with high unemployment (which means deliberate manipulation of the boundaries of the constituency). The identification of such areas was usually done through frauds in order to link the prosperous location of the project with the problem community and to obtain an average level of unemployment that meets the requirements.
Starting from the effective date of the final rule, the state will no longer identify geographic and political units with high unemployment, instead the Department of Homeland Security will make such designations, limiting the composition of the TEA based on the census blocks. This will ensure fair appointments of targeted employment zones, which will help zones more accurately follow the intentions of the Congress - investing in areas most in need.

Clarification of USCIS procedures for removing the convention from the green card. This clause revises the rules, which clarifies that some family members who are lawful permanent residents must independently submit documents to remove the convention from their green card. This requirement will not apply to those family members who were included in the petition of the main investor to remove the convention. The rule optimizes the decision making process.
Allowing EB-5 applicants to maintain a priority date. The rule provides greater flexibility to immigrant investors who have previously approved an EB-5 proposal. When they need to submit a new EB-5 application, they will be able to save the priority date of the previously approved petition with some exceptions.
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