An EB-5 regional center is an economic unit, public or private, in the United States that is involved with promoting economic growth. Regional centers are designated by USCIS for participation in the Immigrant Investor Program.
The EB-5 Regional Center (RC) is a service agent organization for investors and companies who are looking to initiate and complete a project under the EB-5 visa Program.
Regional centers are best option for EB-5 investors who are more concerned with seeking the U.S. residency status rather than directly mana1`1 ging the project and or the investment by themselves.
The RC creates an investment fund for the benefit of the EB-5 investors. Interested Investors purchase equity stakes in the investment fund. Then, the fund either purchases equity in the job creating entity (the equity model) or loans the job creating entity money (the loan model). The job creating entity then uses the investment from the fund in the project to create jobs indirectly.
The business models that are eligible to become EB-5 Regional Centers include governmental agencies, partnerships, corporations and any other existing U.S. commercial entity
Regional centers applications are filed with USCIS on Form I-924. The RC will be designated by USCIS to develop capital investment projects in a specific geographic area and in specific industries. Additionally, the RC will be designated to use certain economic methodologies to model indirect job creation.
USCIS regional center designation involves a multi-step process that requires the expert and professional advice of various experts. The cost of obtaining regional center approval is highly variable. The actual application itself to be submitted to the USCIS i.e. Form I-924, Application for Regional Center Under the Immigrant Investor Program petition, costs $6,230 to file with USCIS. However, the overall approval cost is often far more and largely dependent on the fees charged by various EB-5 experts.
The procedure involves below steps:
It would not be wrong to say that one should select an EB-5 regional center who has received the maximum number of I-526 and I-829 visa approvals. However, the investor should also consider the following while deciding the regional center:
The main advantage of investing through a Regional Center is that USCIS will allow the project to count indirect and induced jobs in addition to direct jobs towards the job creation requirement. The number of indirect jobs created through an EB-5 investor’s capital investment is based upon a business plan and a detailed economic analysis, which is evaluated and approved by USCIS during the approval of I-526 petition.
Additionally, investors in a new commercial enterprise affiliated with an RC need not be involved in the day-to-day management of the business. Instead, the investor can be involved in the policy formation of the fund. The investor has the option to become a limited partner or member, respectively, and receive all of the benefits of the State’s Uniform Limited Partnership Act or Limited Liability Company Act. Those rights are sufficient involvement for the investor to qualify for an EB-5 visa in the regional center context. The investor need not commit to a certain amount of time directing the business. For some investors, the green card is the only goal of the EB-5 program.
The regional center investment model attractive and popular amongst many investors because the investor can live anywhere in the United States. He or she does not need to live by the project. Additionally, he or she can work anywhere because employment is not tied to the new commercial enterprise or the project. The EB-5 visa also allows the investor’s dependents (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) to move permanently to the United States. The dependents can go to school or work without restriction in the United States.