By Coleman Jackson, Esq.
March 20, 2014
What is an EB-5 Regional Center?
An EB-5 Regional Center is an organization designated by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that sponsors capital investment projects by EB-5 investors. In more simple terms, a Regional Center is a service agent organization for investors and companies looking to complete a project under the EB-5 program. Regional Centers provides qualified foreign nationals and their families with the opportunity to obtain permanent U.S. residency through investment in a variety of projects that are sponsored by its government designated EB-5 Regional Center.
A Regional Center could be a private or public economic entity involved with the promotion of increased domestic capital, job creation, improved regional productivity, and increased economic growth in the United States of America.
EB-5 Regional Center Visa Program
In the United States there are two ways for an alien investor to obtain lawful permanent resident status under the EB-5 category.
- Basic Program (Individual Program)
- Regional Center Pilot Program
The Regional Center Pilot Program requires investment in a regional center affiliated new commercial enterprise or a troubled business within a designated regional center.
Comparison of Regional Center and Individual EB-5 Program:
This comparison is based on major factors considered by the USCIS when evaluating and adjudicating EB-5 Investor Visa applications. The similarities and differences between the individual EB-5 investment and the regional center investment are as follows:
1. Investment Capacity:
In both the Individual and Regional Center Programs, the alien must make a minimum investment of $1,000,000, unless the investment is made in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA). TEAs are defined as either a (1) rural area that is, areas with populations of less than 20,000 people, or (2) areas with unemployment rates of 150% or more of the national rate.
A lot of the regional centers have been approved by USCIS as TEA investments; therefore, regional center program investor will qualify for a reduced $500,000 investment capacity requirement rather than $1,000,000.
2. Job Creation:
An investment in a regional center does not raise the requirement of direct employment creation for purposes of the Form I-526 approval. It can qualify based upon indirect employment generated in the community through the regional center investment.
3. Management Role:
As part of the pre-approval process, the regional center had to satisfy USCIS that the investors would be engaged in the “management” of the enterprise as opposed to maintaining a “purely passive role” pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 204.6 (j)(5). Compliance with this management role factor must be proven on a case-by-case basis by the individual EB-5 petitioner. Whereas the regional center investors can take a more strategic role in business management. For example, a limited partner in a limited partnership can qualify for EB-5 participation in an EB-5 enterprise approved by a regional center.
4. Sources of Funds:
Advantages of Regional Center EB-5 Visa Program:
Some of the advantages of investing and applying for the EB-5 Investor Visa through a Regional Center Visa Program are as follows:
Lower Investment Levels:
Capital from multiple EB-5 investors can be pooled to create larger investment opportunities. You may be able to qualify with an investment of $500,000 rather than $1 million.
Flexible Job Creation Measures:
Investors are credited for both direct and indirect job creation. For example, jobs created by independent suppliers or other vendors to the EB-5 business count toward the job creation requirement.
Less Day-to-Day Business Involvement:
Regional center investors can take a more strategic role in business management. For example, a limited partner in a limited partnership can qualify for EB-5 participation in an EB-5 enterprise approved by a regional center.
No Residency limitation:
The foreign national regional center investor can live anywhere in the United States.
Bringing Families Together:
The regional center investors can bring their family together. Their spouse and children can lawfully reside and study in the United States.
The foreign national regional center investor can travel in and out of the United States for personal or business purposes as often as they choose.
Some Cautions When Selecting a Regional Center:
Investors beware when selecting a Regional Center for EB-5 Visa purposes. All regional centers are not alike. It is important that the investor perform due diligence prior to investing their funds; such as:
- Research the success and accomplishments of the Regional Center;
- Research the financial stability of the Regional Center;
- Research the executive leadership team of the Regional Center;
- Identify and thoroughly research the EB-5 project;
- Hire the professional services of an EB-5 Lawyer in the geographical area where the project will be located;
This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with the Immigration & Tax Law Firm of Coleman Jackson, PC. If you have questions or comments pertaining to your particular investment and immigration requirements, you should consult with legal counsel.
Coleman Jackson, PC
Immigration & Tax Law Firm
6060 North Central Expressway
Dallas, Texas 75206
Law Firm Site: www.cjacksonlaw.com
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