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2019 Immigration Changes: EB-5 Investment Visa

On July 24, 2019, USCIS updated rules for the EB-5 investment visa. In the past, someone immigrating under the EB-5 investment visa would need to invest either $500,000 or $1 million into a United States business. The investment amount varies depending on the demographics of the location of the business. However, the July policy update made several changes affecting the cost of the EB-5 visa, TEA and the processing times of the EB-5 investment visa.

What is the cost of the EB-5 investment visa?

Under the new policy change, the cost of an EB-5 investment visa will increase to $900,000 and $1.8 million. As in the past, the investment price will depend on the demographics of the business location. EB-5 applicants investing in businesses within certain locations are eligible to pay the lesser amount, $900,000. Applicants investing in all other locations will need to pay $1.8 million.

When will the fee increase occur?

Although the fee increases were approved on July 24, 2019, they will not go into effect until November 21, 2019. We are advising investors to make sure USCIS receives their correct documentation by the November 21 deadline.

How does TEA affect the cost of the EB-5 investment visa?

As a review, TEA, also known as Targeted Employment Area is a standing given to regions based on their demographics. This standing is typically given to rural locations or areas of high unemployment. In the past, an EB-5 investor could theoretically a large metropolis as being eligible for TEA and pay the lower investment amount of $500,000. Under the new policy, the rules for TEA became more strict. In November only rural areas and areas of very high unemployment are eligible for TEA standing and the updated lower amount of $1 million. This policy defines rural as locations with a population that is less than 20,000 and high unemployment as being 150% above the national average.

Do the general requirements for the EB-5 Investment Visa change?

Although the new policy makes changes to investment minimums and TEA, the main requirements to be granted the EB-5 investment visa ultimately remain the same. This means the EB-5 applicant’s investment must directly or indirectly create 10 new jobs within the first 2 years of their investment. And these 10 new jobs must be maintained for the following 3 years.

How does the new policy make the EB-5 investment visa processes faster?

In the past, if the investor had an error on their paperwork or if something went wrong with the business their invested was in, the EB-5 applicant’s process would be canceled. Once their process waa canceled the EB-5 applicant would need to get back in line for an EB-5 investment visa and start over using the correct documentation or with a new business. This resulted in a long backlog of applicants waiting to process their EB-5 investment visas.

The new policy now protects the EB-5 applicant by holding their process rather than canceling it if they need to correct their documentation or if they need to find a different business. By protecting the EB-5 applicant’s procedure, the wait time in a backlog will decrease.

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