EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

We’re modernizing the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program 

Under a new rule published by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, several changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program will go into effect on Nov. 21, 2019.

The new rule modernizes the EB-5 program by:

  • Providing priority date retention to certain EB-5 investors;
  • Increasing the required minimum investment amounts to account for inflation;
  • Reforming certain targeted employment area (TEA) designations;  
  • Clarifying USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence; and
  • Making other technical and conforming revisions.

What You Need to Know

Priority date retention

  • Certain immigrant investors will keep the priority date of a previously approved EB-5 petition when they file a new petition.

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.

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.

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

Class Action Member Identification Notice

On Nov. 30, 2018, in Zhang v. USCIS, No. 15-cv-995, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia certified a class that includes any individual with a Form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Entrepreneur, that was or will be denied on the sole basis of investing loan proceeds that were not secured by the individual’s own assets. The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia vacated these denials and ordered USCIS to reconsider the petitions.

If you believe you have received an I-526 denial solely on this ground and would like to identify yourself as a potential class member, please email USCIS.ImmigrantInvestorProgram@uscis.dhs.gov, using the subject line “Zhang Class,” and provide the following:

  1.  Name
  2.  Alien Number (if any)
  3.  Date of birth
  4.  I-526 receipt number (if available)
  5.  Date of I-526 denial
  6.  Copy of I-526 denial (if available)

Note: Identification as a potential class member is subject to USCIS verification and does not grant any immediate rights, as immigrant petitions must meet all eligibility requirements and the court’s decision is presently under consideration for appeal.

USCIS administers the EB-5 Program. Under this program, entrepreneurs (and their spouses and unmarried children under 21) are eligible to apply for a Green Card (permanent residence) if they:

  • Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States; and
  • Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.

This program is known as EB-5 for the name of the employment-based fifth preference visa that participants receive.

Congress created the EB-5 Program in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. In 1992, Congress created the Immigrant Investor Program, also known as the Regional Center Program. This sets aside EB-5 visas for participants who invest in commercial enterprises associated with regional centers approved by USCIS based on proposals for promoting economic growth.