How Can an Investor Obtain an EB-5 Visa Through a Regional Center?
How to Choose a Regional Center
Selecting the right Regional Center (RC) is very important as the smooth operation and success of the RC is critical to ensuring the investor’s green card application is approved. Along with choosing an RC, the investor must also select a specific project that will receive the investment. An RC may have multiple ongoing projects at one time, such as the construction of several hotels or the renovation of numerous restaurants.
When choosing an RC and a project, the investor must consider several factors such as how many investors are already involved in the project, how many jobs the RC can support, how successful the RC has been in the past, etc. Additionally, it is also important to find out how many EB-5 applications have been filed in the RC, and how many were approved and denied by USCIS.
Questions to Ask When Researching RCs
The following questions may help the foreign investor in choosing both an RC and a project that will provide a favorable return, and approval of the green card application:
1. How many I-526 petitions have been filed in the RC and of those petitions how many did USCIS approved and deny?
2. Similarly, how many I-829 petitions have been filed in the RC, and of those petitions how many did USCIS approve and deny? (The I-829 petition removes the conditional status on the investor’s green card, making the investor an unconditional U.S. permanent resident).
3. Has the RC taken advantage of USCIS’s “pre-approved program”? This program allows USCIS to pre-approve an RC project. While the pre-approval is not binding on USCIS, it does add an extra amount of security to the investor’s green card application.
4. Can the investor and the attorney review the RC business plan and the business plans for its projects? Reviewing the business plan will provide key information about the enterprise, what commercial activities or services it will engage in, and how the business plans to create the needed jobs.
5. What is the RC’s or its project’s estimated rate of return? While immigration to the U.S. is the ultimate goal for EB-5 applicants, most investors also want a decent return on their money.
6. In addition to the required investment amount, what other fees does the RC charge? Most RCs have administrative, processing, and subscription costs that can range from $30,000 to $70,000 which must be paid before the investor can begin processing the green card application.
Asking these questions helps to identify both the benefits and the drawbacks of an RC and its projects, thereby helping the investor make an informed decision as to which RC is best-suited to the investor’s needs.
How Can an Attorney Help Choose an RC?
An immigration attorney can be invaluable during the RC selection process. The attorney will likely have more questions to ask the RC that will help generate a larger picture and projection of the RC’s and its projects’ successes. The attorney will be able to compare the different benefits and pitfalls of each RC and project in order to help the investor choose the specific RC and project that best fits the investor’s needs and maximizes the potential for a green card approval.