How do I set up and become an EB-5 regional center?
There are no special requirements limiting who can apply for USCIS regional center designation, so almost anyone can set up and become an EB-5 regional center.
The types of business models that are eligible to become an EB-5 regional center are existing commercial entities, partnerships, corporations, and government agencies.
To become an EB-5 regional center, one must obtain USCIS approval in order to accept investments. To obtain this, you must file the Form I-924, Application for Regional Center Under the Immigrant Investor Program petition. The associated costs for filing are $6,230, however, this fee is often viewed as a very small cost for the opportunity to raise tremendous capital for projects.
When filing the I-924, a regional center must also submit a project proposal. This project can be a hypothetical project or an actual project.
To become an EB-5 regional center you will need a team of experts to assist you with each stage of the application. The professionals you need include:
- Immigration attorneys are necessary for reviewing business plans, documents, and USCIS compliance. They can also prepare the petitions for filing.
- Economists are needed to analyze the project's expected indirect and direct job creation. They also look at TEAs and geography to better guide regional center planning.
- Business planners draft operational plans that outline timelines and job creation.
- Business consultants analyze the risks involved in the investment and prepare offering documents, private placement memos, and transactional documents.
- Escrow agents protect investor's capital while they wait on EB-5 application approval.
What kind of proposal does a regional center need in order to receive USCIS designation?
- Your regional center will need a clearly defined contiguous geographic area.
- Your regional center will need to show the economic benefits of the project in that area. This will need a detailed description outlining precisely how the EB-5 capital investments will create jobs.
- You'll need a detailed proposal projecting future job creation.
- You'll need detailed documents describing how the regional center plans to find investors, evaluate projects, structure investment funds, oversee investments, and manage them.
Additional evidence beyond the material listed in the 'professionals you need' section:
- Maps showing the geographical area of the proposed regional center;
- NAICs codes category;
- Documents to evidence that the area is a targeted employment area (TEA);
- Proposed regional center's marketing plans and materials;
- The regional center's plans to conduct due diligence and check on the EB-5 investor's capital and make sure it comes from lawful sources.
Once the I-924 Petition is approved, the regional center can submit their EB-5 investors' Form I-526 petitions to USCIS for approval. Once approved, their investors can obtain a conditional green card which allows them to move to the U.S.