The United States government had created the EB-5 Investor Visa to help encourage foreign investment in businesses in the United States. While this program has considerably evolved since its formation in 1990, recent modifications have brought many new changes to the EB-5 Investor Visa rules. In this blog post, we will delve into the specifics of how these new changes have updated aspects of priority date retention, increased minimum investment requirements, provided clarifications to specific USCIS procedures, and will also explain how you can apply for an EB-5 Investor Visa in Louisiana.
The EB-5 Visa Basics
Under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, individuals who make the necessary investment in a business venture in the United States and preserve or create ten full-time jobs for qualified United States workers are eligible for lawful permanent residence in the United States. Stated simply, the EB-5 Investor Visa allows immigrant investors to obtain lawful permanent residency if they want to manage a business in the United States.
There are two ways to obtain an EB-5 Investor Visa- The Regional Center Pilot Program and the Basic Program.
- Regional Center Pilot Program allows immigrants to invest in “regional centers” that have been approved by government agencies. Investing in these regional centers provides significant benefits to immigrants seeking residence in the United States through the EB-5 program. One of the most notable advantages is the ability to count both indirect and direct jobs, meaning they do not need to show they directly hired any employees. Instead, the burden of proving job creation is passed onto the regional center.
- The Basic Program allows immigrants to invest in their own business or a business owned by other individuals. Under this option, only direct jobs are eligible to meet the job creation criteria. Specifically, the immigrant needs their investment to create or sustain ten new identifiable jobs over a two-year period.
The New EB-5 Rule
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently published a new EB-5 rule that went into effect on November 21, 2019. This new law brought with it several changes to the Immigrant Investor Program that included the following updates:
- Provided priority date retention to certain EB-5 investors.
- Increased the required minimum investment to account for inflation.
- Reformed particular targeted employment area (TEA) designations.
- Clarified specific USCIS procedures for the removal of conditions on permanent residence, and
- Made other technical and conforming revisions.
What You Need to Know
You may be asking; how do these new rules affect your ability to qualify for the EB-5 program? To break it down even further, please review the summaries below.
Priority Date Retention
Under this new element, certain immigrant investors will keep the priority date of their previously approved EB-5 petition, even when they file for a new petition.
Increased Minimum Investments
- The usual minimum investment amount has increased from $1 million to $1.8 million to account for inflation.
- The minimum investment in targeted employment areas (i.e., rural areas and places of high unemployment) has increased from $500,000 to $900,000 to account for inflation.
- Per the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, future adjustments will also be tied to inflation and occur every five years.
Targeted Employment Area (TEA) Designations
- DHS will now directly review and determine the designation of high-unemployment targeted employment areas (TEAs). They will no longer defer to state and local government of their targeted employment area (TEA) designations.
- Particular designated high-unemployment targeted employment areas (TEAs) will now consist of a makeup of census tracts that include the tract or contiguous tracts in which the new enterprise is principally doing business, including any or all directly adjacent tracts.
- Targeted employment areas (TEAs) can now include towns and cities with a population of 20,000 or more outside of metropolitan statistical areas. However, this will only apply if they have experienced an average unemployment rate of at least 150% of the national average unemployment rate.
- These new rules and changes will help direct investment to areas that are most in need and increase the consistency of how high-unemployment regions are specified in the program.
Clarified Procedures Related to the Removal of Conditions on Permanent Residence
- These regulations clarify that derivative family members, who are lawful permanent residents, must file to remove their permanent residence conditions independently.
- These new procedures also provide for flexibility to interview in new locations, and
- These new rules update the specific regulations to reflect the current process for issuing Green Cards.
How Can an Experienced Immigration Attorney Help You File for an EB-5 Investor Visa?
Preparing and submitting an EB-5 petition is a complicated and tedious process. The application requires an immense number of documents, evidence, and records to show that all the Visa requirements are met. And, many times, if the Petitioner does not provide the correct information or paperwork, they will find that their petition has been denied. That is why it is so crucial that you have the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney if you are filing for an EB-5 Investor Visa.
- These attorneys will not only provide you with the advice you need concerning eligibility requirements, but they will also review your application making sure everything is correct before filing.
- These attorneys can also provide you with advice regarding the required documentation and the specific legal procedures while assisting you through the whole process from the preparation to the submission of your documents.
The Law Firm of Stephenson, Chávarri & Dawson, LLC
Our legal team and attorneys at Stephenson, Chávarri & Dawson, LLC, have experience in all aspects of immigration and nationality law. We understand how complicated these laws are, and with the ever-changing policies, we know how frustrating this process is for our clients. That is why we want to provide individuals and businesses with the best representation and advice they need regarding their immigration concerns.
If you would like to learn more about the EB-5 Investment Program or to see if you qualify, do not wait any longer. Contact our firm today or give us a call at 504-523-6496 to speak with one of our experienced immigration lawyers.