Requirements for "Million dollar green card" Revamped

People often ask me about the “million dollar green card.”  Established nearly thirty years ago by Congress, the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program grants lawful permanent residence (“green card”) to individuals who invest US$1 million in a business in the U.S. (or $500,000 in high unemployment areas), and create (or, in some cases, preserve) 10 permanent full-time jobs for U.S. workers.

Today, USCIS published a final rule that contains major changes to the EB-5 Program. These changes will take effect on November 21, 2019.

Major changes to EB-5 Program include:

  • Raising the minimum investment amounts: As of November 21, 2019, the standard minimum investment will increase from $1 million to $1.8 million to account for inflation.  The rule also keeps the 50% minimum investment difference between a targeted employment area (“TEA”) and a non-TEA, resulting in the increase of the minimum investment amount in a TEA from $500,000 to $900,000.  Minimum investment amounts will now automatically adjust for inflation every five years.

  • Revising the standards for high unemployment area (TEA) designations:  DHS will eliminate a state’s ability to designate certain geographic and political subdivisions as high-unemployment areas or TEAs.  Instead, DHS would make such designations directly based on revised requirements in the regulation, limiting the composition of census tract-based TEAs.  

  • Clarifying USCIS procedures for removing conditions on permanent residence:  Under the final rule, certain derivative family members who are lawful permanent residents must now independently file to remove conditions on their permanent residence.  Excluded from this requirement are family members who were included in a principal investor’s petition to remove conditions.  

  • Allowing EB-5 petitioners to keep their priority date:  Immigrant investors who have a previously approved EB-5 immigrant petition and who need to file a new EB-5 petition will be able to retain the priority date of the previously approved petition, subject to certain exceptions.

According to USCIS, reforms to the program will increase the investment level to account for inflation over the past three decades and substantially restrict the possibility of gerrymandering to ensure that the reduced investment amount is reserved for rural and high-unemployment areas most in need of investment.

This alert is for informational purposes only.  If you would like to discuss this development further, please contact us.