EB-5 Regional Center
An EB-5 Regional Center can offer several benefits for EB-5 investors. The EB-5 Visa is a green card for qualified investors. To be eligible, the individual must make a minimum investment in a new commercial enterprise that will create at least 10 jobs.
The minimum investment required is $1 million, or $500,000 if investing in a Targeted Employment Area. However, USCIS is currently considering a decision which will raise the minimum amount.
The application process for EB-5 immigrant investors is a 3-step process. First, the investor files I-526 immigrant petition. If approved, the investor then files I-485 application for permanent residence or DS-260 visa application. The last step involves removing the conditions on permanent residence. Some investors put their funds directly into a company, while other incoming immigrants invest through Regional Centers. Regional Centers are becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons.
What is an EB-5 Regional Center?
An EB-5 Regional Center is an economic unit, public or private, that has applied for and received Regional Center designation from USCIS. There are several ways in which a Regional Center may facilitate the EB-5 process. One common structure is if the new enterprise is set up as a limited partnership, the Regional Center may serve as the general partner and the EB-5 investor serves as the limited partner.
Job Creation and Management
The job creation requirements are somewhat relaxed when using a Regional Center. Generally, an investment in a commercial enterprise must be directly in the job creating entity and that entity must employ the 10 persons per investor. However, investment with the Regional Center enables the petitioner to count indirect job creation which is a significant benefit. Another benefit is that investors in Regional Centers are not required to actively manage a business, which offers more flexibility. You can find a list of current EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Centers here.
If the investor needs to be in the US quickly and EB-5 processing times are too long, there are several nonimmigrant visa options that should be considered to bridge the gap in time. Common options are the E-2 Investor Visa, L-1A Intracompany Transfer Visa and the O-1 Extraordinary Ability Visa. As the EB-5 process is particularly complex, it is best to consult an immigration attorney.
Update: Congress will not reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program by its midnight, June 30, 2021 expiration.