The strong surface electric field associated with a semiconductor inversion layer quantizes the motion normal to the surface. The bulk energy bands split into electric sub-bands near the surface, each of which is a two-dimensional continuum associated with one of the quantized levels. We treat the electric quantum limit, in which only the lowest electric sub-band is occupied. Within the effective-mass approximation, we have generalized the energy-level calculation to include arbitrary orientations of (1) the constant-energy ellipsoids in the bulk, (2) the surface or interface, and (3) an external magnetic field. The potential associated with a charged center located an arbitrary distance from the surface is calculated, taking into account screening by carriers in the inversion layer. The bound states in the inversion layer due to attractive Coulomb centers are calculated for a model potential which assumes the inversion layer to have zero thickness. The Born approximation is compared with a phase-shift calculation of the scattering cross section, and is found to be reasonably good for the range of carrier concentrations encountered in InAs surfaces. The low-temperature mobility associated with screened Coulomb scattering by known charges at the surface and in the semiconductor depletion layer is calculated for InAs and for Si (100) surfaces in the Born approximation, using a potential that takes the inversion-layer charge distribution into account. The InAs results are in good agreement with experiment. In Si, but not in InAs, freeze-out of carriers into inversion-layer bound states is expected at low temperatures and low inversion-layer charge densities, and the predicted behavior is in qualitative agreement with experiment. An Appendix gives the phase-shift method for two-dimensional scattering and the exact cross section for scattering by an unscreened Coulomb potential. © 1967 The American Physical Society.