On January 13, 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Making (“NPRM”) seeking to amend the current EB-5 regulations.  As required by the Administrative Procedure Act, DHS has published theNPRM inthe Federal Register for notice to the public and has given the public a three (3) month period to provide comments.  All public comments are due to DHS by April 11, 2017.   You can read proposed rules by following the link below https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/01/11/2017-00441/eb-5-immigrant-investor-regional-center-program.

The essence of the Rules is as follows:

1. Increase of the Minimum Investment Amount  to $1.35 million for EB-5 projects located in a TEA and to $1.8 million for EB-5 projects that are not located in a TEA. 

2. States will no longer have the ability to designate high unemployment rate TEAs.  Instead, USCIS will make the designation using the standards presented in the Proposed Rules.  Proposed Rules would limit TEAs to a Metropolitan Statistical Area, counties, cities or towns with a population of more than 20,000, a census tract, or a group of adjacent census tracts, if they have experienced an average unemployment rate at least 150% of the national average rate.  It only allows census tracts to be averaged if they are adjacent (abutting) to the tract in which the project is located.  

3. DHS is proposing to amend the definition of “rural area” to mean any area other than an area within a metropolitan statistical area (“MSA”) or within the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more based on the most recent decennial census of the United States.  

4. Proposed rules allow derivative applicants (spouses and children of the investor) to file an I-829 Petition on their own if the investor is unable or unwilling to file the I-829 Petition, assuming that the investor was otherwise eligible to have the conditions removed on permanent residence.