Will the minimum amount for EB-5 ever be increased?
Is there a chance that the minimum investment amount (USD $500,000) for an EB-5 Regional Center project will be increased? Has USCIS shown any signs of possibly increasing this amount and how much warning would they give?
The increase of the minimum investment will have to be approved by the U.S. Congress. USCIS has no authority to change this requirement. Although there are some political figures that sympathize with a capital increase, it is unknown whether the minimum investment amount will increase.
That''s always a possibility; however, the USCIS does not have the authority to increase the investment amount. It would be a congressional mandate, since it will require a change in the law as it currently stands.
Philip H Teplen
Laws are always subject to change, but I know of no such changes being discussed.
Since the Congress sets the laws governing EB-5 as part of the Immigration Act of 1990, there have only been rumors that the minimum investment amount may change. USCIS cannot increase the investment amount on its own; it must simply enforce the statute as it is written. Nothing will change until the Congress changes the law.
There is always the possibility that the U.S. Congress with immigration reform may increase the minimum amount for the EB-5 investment requirement. However, there is no real indication from USCIS that they will agree to the increased minimum requirement.
The minimum amount will eventually be increased or the program will be terminated. There is no signs of either at the moment. The advance notice would likely be around 6 months, but could be as little as a couple of months or as much as a few years.
The minimum investment is $1,000,000. The $550K is only for TEA''s (Targeted Employment Areas) where the business is in a high unemployment area or rural area which is designated as such by the state in accordance with Federal Guidelines. Most likely, your minimum investment will not change after your petition is approved even if a change occurs.
When the current EB-5 program ends on September 30 2015, there is a good likelihood that the new EB-5 program will require $800,000 minimum investment instead of $500,000 in TEA and Rural area. This $500,000 exception to the $1 million requirement could go away entirely.
If you have a crystal ball, you might be able to answer this question. Of course, there is a chance that the amount might be increased, but it would require an act of Congress (they have to pass a bill and have it signed into law by the president) to change the amount. USCIS cannot do this on its own.
USCIS has had the $500,000 for TEA or rural investments and $1 Million for all other investments and has not indicated any change, even in the most recent policy memorandum. It appears unlikely that the minimum would rise.
The minimum capital requirement for investment is defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act, not by USCIS. Raising the capital amounts would require a statutory revision to pass both houses of Congress and be signed into law by the President. Note that the minimum amount of the investment is reduced from $1 million to $500,000 based on location in a Targeted Employment Area, not whether the project is affiliated with a regional center. Regional centers must do $1 million projects if they cannot avail themselves of the TEA provisions.
Under the current law, the government would have to propose new regulations to change the requirement from an amount higher than $500,000. This would require a process for the regulations to be promulgated under a notice and comment period to be provided to the public. Hence, if the regulations are going to change, USCIS is required to provide notice for it, allow for a comment period from stakeholders, and then announce when the final rule takes effect. Also, important to note, the proposed legislation passed by the U.S. Senate in the U.S. Congress might have the minimum amount tied to the percentage increase of the Consumer Price Index or CPI. Right now this is not law, and if it were we would again have notice of when it would happen.
If a change occurs, it will have to be directed by Congress. The $500k amount tied to projects located in TEAs or rural areas has held firm for many years. At its current rate, the United States maintains a competitive advantage since the required sum is still cheaper than minimums required by other nations which host similar residency programs. Any projected increase would hopefully take such competitive comparisons into account.