This is a continuation of our four-part series on the EB-5 green card program. Part one was featured in ILG’s October 2011 Newsletter.
What is a Regional Center?
A Regional Center is an economic entity in a certain geographic area designated by USCIS, which is involved in the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation and increased domestic capital investment. To obtain Regional Center designation, the organizers must submit an application to USCIS detailing how the investment program will achieve economic growth, business objectives, job creation and capital commitment.
Regional Center Advantages
The main advantage of Regional Center EB-5 investment as compared with individual EB-5 investment is Regional Center investing allow investors to rely on indirect employment creation (i.e., using an approved economic forecasting model) rather than direct employment (i.e., actual hiring of full-time employees). This eliminates the need to deal with the many complicated issues involved in an individual EB-5 petition for which the investment enterprise has not been pre-approved.
In addition, investing in a Regional Center allows the investors to live and work anywhere in the U.S. (i.e., can invest in the East Coast and live in California), the investor will receive his/her green card much faster compared to an individual EB-5 investment, and the investor is not required to actively tend to the EB-5 business.
Regional Center Statistics
Approximately 92% of EB-5 petitions(I-526) filed each year are filed by investors who are investing in Regional Centers. The approval rate for Regional Center based I-526 applications is consistently higher than 80%. Furthermore, in many cases, the investment capital does not turn over to the Regional Center unless the conditional green card (I-526 application) is approved.
Currently, there are over 200 approved Regional Centers, operating in 40 states, including the District of Columbia and Guam. A complete list of approved Regional Centers is available online at: http://www.uscis.gov/eb-5centers. Given the number of Regional Centers available, we recommend investors select a Regional Center with an established track-record to protect their investment capital and to successfully obtain unconditional permanent residency.
In part 3 and 4 of this series, ILG will provide more details about time-frames for obtaining EB-5 green cards and discuss specific Regional Center opportunities. In the meantime, if you are interested in learning more about our EB-5 services, please inquire with ILG at (408) 432-9200.