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USCIS Amends EB-5 Program

On July 24, 2019, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a much-anticipated final rule making some significant changes to the EB-5 program. The new regulation will go active on November 21, 2019.

Highlights:

  • The minimum targeted employment area (“TEA”) investment has been increased from $500,000 to $900,000 and adjust upward automatically every 5 years to account for inflation;
  • The minimum non-TEA investment amount has been increased to $1.8 million;
  • TEAs can only be designated by DHS, ending the deference to state determinations and reforming TEA designation criteria to more directly affect areas most in need;
  • Standards for certain TEA designations have been revised (for instance, only cities and towns with a population of 20,000 or more outside of metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) may qualify as a TEA).

Notable improvements & positives:

  • Priority date retention for investors who have an approved I-526 but whose projects or regional centers fail; and
  • Spouses and children not included on the I-526 can be included on the I-829

The EB-5 immigrant investor visa program created in 1990 allows for eligible non-U.S. citizens to become lawful permanent residents by investing in a qualifying U.S. business that will employ at least 10 qualifying U.S. workers.

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