Alert: EB-5 Regional Center Program Only Extended Until 9/30/17; Congressional Changes/USCIS Regulat

Over the weekend, Congress reached a bipartisan agreement to fund government operations and programs short-term through September 30, 2017. This agreement includes a “clean” extension of the current EB-5 Regional Center Program without change; which would have otherwise expired on May 5, 2017 (the EB-5 Stand-Alone [Direct Investment] Program is already permanent).

The “clean” extension avoids, for now, several suggested proposals floated around Congress in recent weeks which would have increased the required minimum investment amounts to $800,000 (TEA) and $1,000,000 (non-TEA).

The extension, however, does nothing to forestall the pending promulgation of the new USCIS regulations, which propose to increase the minimum investment amounts to $1.35 million (TEA) and $1.85 million (non-TEA). The regulations, which do include some otherwise productive reforms, can be implemented by USCIS any time commencing on June 11th.

While there is no way to know exactly when USCIS will finalize the rules or Congress will act, we are advising prospective EB-5 investors to proceed on the basis that the required minimum EB-5 investment amounts will be increased significantly prior to the new September 30, 2017 headline, as GMLG is convinced (based on industry and Hill intelligence) that the increases will come before Congress goes out for its summer recess at the end of July, and possibly as soon as the middle of June to forestall the issuance of the new USCIS regulations.

If Congress does reach a deal before the end of June, the minimum investment amounts will almost certainly increase as of the date of enactment of that legislation (or in the case of the USCIS regulations, on their date of issuance).

In sum, prospective EB-5 investors who want to invest at the current $500,000 level need to look to file an I-526 petition in May or before the middle of June, as thereafter, the minimum amounts could go up at any time.