New regulations for the EB-5 visa program may be coming in the new year.
Last week, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submitted proposed changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review.
The proposed changes aim to streamline and increase the predictability and transparency of the EB-5 visa process. However, DHS has not yet publicly released the changes. Earlier this year, DHS indicated changes will include higher minimum investment amounts and revisions to job creation, targeted employment area requirements, and regional center designation.
Currently, the EB-5 visa program allows a foreign national and her or his family to get green cards by putting up at least $1 million to create a business or invest in a regional center that creates at least 10 full-time jobs. A regional center is a business—often a real-estate project—approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). If the business or regional center is located in a rural or high unemployment area, a foreign national only needs to invest $500,000. The job requirement remains the same.
What Will Change?
At the American Immigration Lawyers Association conference during the summer, insiders indicated the minimum investment requirements would increase to $1.2 million—and $800,000 in rural or high unemployment areas. Additional changes would attempt to stamp out the fraud and national security risks that have tainted the program.
Earlier this month, congressional lawmakers made no changes to the EB-5 Regional Center Program when they extended it through April 28, 2017, as part of federal funding legislation. See my previous blog post on the extension of the EB-5 Regional Center Program for more details.
The OMB typically reviews and comments on proposed regulation changes within 90 days. After that, USCIS may take administrative action by publishing the proposed rule changes in the federal register. Once done, a 60-day review and public comment period typically will begin. After that, USCIS may review and revise the proposed rule and publish the final version.
Any changes, however, could be temporary—or preempted. President-elect Donald Trump has indicated he may eliminate new regulations and executive orders put in place under the Obama Administration.
Currently, USCIS is issuing EB-5 visas to foreign investors from all countries except China.
Give us a call if you have questions about EB-5 or need help with other visa or green card options.