EB5 Regional Center Overview
A regional center is legally defined as “any economic unit, public or private, which is involved with the promotion of economic growth, including increased export sales, improved regional productivity, job creation, and increased domestic capital investment.” USCIS maintains a list of all approved centers, which you can peruse with the help of your immigration attorney when selecting a regional center for EB5 investment.
USCIS may deliver a greater rate of approval for immigrants who submit an EB-5 petition to invest in regional centers, which may explain why USCIS reported that about 90% of EB5 investor visa petitions are based on investment in a regional center. Most of these centers are located in TEAs.
EB5 regional centers are established investment opportunities for immigrant EB5 investors. To direct immigrant investment toward certain areas, in 1993 Congress approved a regional centers Pilot Program under Appropriations Act Section 610(c). When you invest in a EB5 regional center, you are participating in the EB-5 investor visa Pilot Program.
A regional center is an economic entity that targets a specific location, stimulating the economy, promoting growth, creating jobs, and encouraging investment. Regional centers exist where USCIS designates an economic entity as open to foreign investment for immigration purposes. Regional centers may or may not be located in areas with high unemployment rate or low populations. They may be private, or they may be public and operated by the government.
Economic entities become regional centers by applying to USCIS. EB-5 investment guidelines apply to regional centers just as they would to starting your own business, with the exception of indirect jobs counting towards your employment creation quota if you invest in a regional center. If the regional center is located in a TEA, you qualify for an EB5 green card if you invest $500,000. Outside of TEAs, you must invest one million dollars in a regional center.
EB-5 investor visa program requirements demand that you maintain your investment and the jobs you have created through a regional center for two years. However, keep in mind that certain EB5 regional center investment opportunities require a longer commitment than the EB5 green card requirement. For example, if you invest in a limited partnership that makes loans to businesses, you may be required to maintain your investment with this regional center for five years.
Regional Center EB-5 Investment Plans
Different regional centers offer varying investment plans. Some may require that you make your investment in-full as soon as you sign a subscription agreement with the regional center. A Subscription agreement presents the terms of your investment.
Other regional centers may permit the investor to make a deposit, and pay the rest of the investment in installments over the next three months.
Some regional centers may require that you deposit your investment into an escrow account, which an entity uses to hold funds of which it has not yet gained ownership, until USCIS approves your I-526 petition.
Other regional centers may require that you deposit all funds into a limited partnership account, possibly even before you are approved to obtain an EB5 green card.
Your immigration attorney can negotiate with the regional center and help determine which option is best for you. Keep in mind that once you choose a regional center, you must pay a fee in addition to your EB-5 investment. The amount and terms of the fee will also be presented in the subscription agreement.
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