Immigration Law Firm

EB-5 Regional Center Case

Our goal as your immigration attorney is to obtain permanent residence for you and your qualifying family members.

The EB-5 Regional Center Program allows a foreign individual to invest either $1M or $500k into a USCIS approved regional center in order to obtain permanent residency in the United States. The $500,000 amount may only be used if the regional center project has been deemed to be located in a Targeted Employment Area or "TEA". TEA's include rural areas and areas where the poverty rate is 150% of the national average rate.

In addition to investing either $1M or $500,000, the regional center must show that the investment created 10 jobs for U.S. workers.

As of the beginning of 2015, there were approximately 630 regional centers approved by USCIS. We caution our clients that not all regional centers are created equally. Sadly, many are riddled with incompetence and at times, fraud. We strive to place our clients with conservative, successful regional centers with strong track records of successfully obtaining green cards for clients. Additionally, we endeavor to place our clients with regional centers that will give them a realistic chance of a return on the investment.

As with any investment, there is no guarantee of a return. Anyone providing guarantees is either new to the industry, naïve, or outright deceitful. With that in mind, we encourage you to have proposed investments evaluated by independent third parties you trust before committing your money.

In the most widely used regional center investment model, the client will place $500,000 into the escrow account of a regional center's New Commercial Enterprise ("NCE"). The investor usually becomes a limited partner in an entity that will loan money to a developer. The client's money will typically be pooled with a number of other foreign investors (also limited partners in the NCE), and the money invested by the foreign individuals will be loaned to the developer. The interest rates on the loans vary, but the current market usually dictates 6-7%. However, as previously discussed, we cannot guarantee the outcome of any given investment.

A regional center investment offers several benefits to clients desiring permanent residence in the United States. Primarily, the investor is not responsible for developing and managing a business that will employ ten U.S. workers over several years. A competent regional center will ensure there are ample jobs created by the development project to cover all foreign investors and will also provide comprehensive offering documents to the prospective investor.

Virtually all regional centers charge an administrative fee to every investor, which in our experience can range anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000. We have no arrangement with any regional center regarding the administrative fee they charge, receive no "kickback," referral fee, or commission from recommending a client to a particular regional center, and we have no control over what fees they choose to assess. We simply recommend regional centers we believe to be reputable based on our experience. Additionally, regional centers are open for enrollment at different times depending upon what projects are active on a given date.

Once the $500,000 is committed to the regional center's escrow account, we can proceed with filing the I-526 Petition for an Alien Entrepreneur on your behalf. We must be able to show that the funds used for the investment were lawfully obtained, which will require your close collaboration. Adjudication times for I-526's change frequently but were at approximately 13 months at the beginning of 2015.

Once the I-526 is approved, you may then seek an immigrant visa in your country of residence (if abroad) or file an application to adjust your status (if in the United States at the time the I-526 is approved).

Upon approval of the I-526, you will be granted a conditional green card good for two years. Throughout the two-year process from conditional permanent residence to permanent residence, we will closely collaborate with your regional center to ensure all requirements are being met to ultimately obtain your green card.

After two years, we will file an I-829 on your behalf to remove the conditions of your residence. The I-829 must be filed during the 90 day period immediately preceding the date you received your conditional residence card. The petition must demonstrate the funds have been invested and the requisite jobs created. Upon approval of the I-829, you will be granted permanent residence status in the United States and receive a ten-year green card.

We hope you find this brief overview of the EB-5 Regional Center Program useful, and we look forward to assisting you obtain permanent residence in the United States.

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