What exactly is an EB-5 Regional Center?
A “Regional Center” is an enterprise that has been approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (or USCIS) located in a specific geographical area within the United States, established with the purpose of promoting economic growth through improved regional productivity,increased domestic capital investment, and the creation of new jobs for American workers.
In order to qualify to use the benefits of an EB-5 Regional Center, a foreign investor must first seek approval from the USCIS by submitting a proposal explaining how he or she plans to focus on a specific geographical region within the United States and achieve the required economic growth of the area. The proposal submitted to the USCIS must explain “in verifiable detail”how exactly jobs for American workers will be created and show the amount and the source of the capital committed in the investment as well as the promotional efforts made and planned for the EB-5 project.
The USCIS will require, without exception, a Regional Center proposal that shows:
- The kinds of commercial enterprises that will receive capital from the investor;
- The kinds of jobs that will be created as a result of the EB-5 Investment;
- Any other positive economic impacts that come as are sult of the EB-5 Investment;
- Whether the EB-5 project is located within a Targeted Employment Area (or TEA) or in a “rural” area that has a population of less than 20,000 people; and
- The management plans for the EB-5 Project.
What are the Differences between a Regional Center Investment and a Direct EB-5 Investment?
The requirements for a Direct EB-5 Investment are very similar to the requirements for EB-5 Projects that are affiliated with a Regional Center. However, there are some key differences. The following items distinguish a Direct EB-5 Investment from a Regional Center project:
Economic Impact Study – A Direct EB-5 Investment does not require a study of the economic impact as only direct jobs are allowed for this EB-5 route.
Pre-Approval from the USCIS – A Direct EB-5 Investment is not required to seek pre-approval of the EB-5 project from the USCIS.
“Rent” Payments to Regional Centers – Direct EB-5 Investors are not required to pay fees or “rent” to Regional Centers.
USCIS Annual Report Submission – EB-5 permanent residents through a Direct EB-5 Investment are currently not required to submit an annual report of the EB-5 activities every year to the USCIS.
USCIS EB-5 Filing Fee – Direct EB-5 Investors are not required to pay a filing fee to have his or her project approved by the USCIS.
General Requirements for EB-5 Projects
When an EB-5 application through a Regional Center has been approved by the USCIS, the applicant seeking the EB-5 Visa may then make the qualifying EB-5 investment of either $500,000 or $1,000,000 into the approved Regional Center.
The EB-5 requirement of creating at least 10 new full-time jobs for American workers must be met by showing that as a result of the operations of the new commercial enterprise, such jobs will be created either directly or indirectly. It is important to note that an EB-5 Regional Center project can utilize construction jobs to meet this requirement only if they are expected to last at least two years. As well, the EB-5 Project may choose to rely only on a reasonable and verifiable economic methodology for the creation of jobs.
In today’s business world, more and more businesses are choosing to seek EB-5 capital every year, whether through a Direct EB-5 Investment,by having their project licensed by an existing Regional Center, or by forming a Regional Center in order to attract the thousands and thousands of foreign investors out there who are willing to invest a significant amount of money for the opportunity to secure a green card under the EB-5 status.
Working with an Immigration Lawyer
At my Florida Law Firm, Jurado & Farshchian, P.L., my team and I have represented several EB-5 Regional Center Projects and Direct EB-5 Investments over the years.
My commitment to ensuring the success of my clients in the EB-5 Program is irrevocable.
With several years of experience and a long,ever-growing list of successful EB-5 applications on my record, I can honestly say that I am sure I am the Business & Immigration Lawyer you are looking for.