Where Should an EB-5 Investor Put His Money?
There are two ways for a foreign investor to obtain an investment-based U.S. green card. Per the EB-5 visa program, the investor can contribute $1,000,000USD or $500,000USD (depending on the geographic location of the investment) to a U.S. commercial enterprise.
Alternatively, the investor can contribute the fund to a U.S. government approved Regional Center. A Regional Center is a designated economic unit encompassing a specific geographic location and particular industry or industries (such as manufacturing or hospitality).
The benefits of investing into a Regional Center are twofold. First, most Centers are located in qualifying targeted employment areas that only require the decreased $500,000USD investment amount. Second, investing in the Center allows the foreign national to count jobs that were indirectly created towards meeting the job creation requirement (all EB-5 applicants must prove that their investment created 10 new jobs for U.S. workers).
As of December 2013, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has approved more than 400 Regional Centers, which provides potential investors with numerous options to choose from when deciding where to commit their money.
Sample Regional Centers
As stated, an RC encompasses both a geographic area and a particular industry. The following is a brief list of a few RCs, their location, and their industry:
1. America’s Center for Foreign Investment (ACFI): ACFI is the largest RC in the United States and encompasses the entire states of Alabama and Tennessee, and multiple counties in Florida, Mississippi, and Georgia. USCIS approved ACFI to establish projects in agriculture, heavy/light manufacturing, construction, hospitality, technology; schools, healthcare facilities, and service industries.
2. U.S. Federal Investment Immigration Fund, LLC (USFIIF): USFIIF is located in Phoenix, AZ and does not publish information about the projects to the public. Interested investors must contact the RC to discuss the projects.
3. Bay Area Regional Center (BARC): BARC is located in California and serves the Alameda, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Santa Clara, Solano, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Yolo counties. Its projects are in the commercial real estate industry. (Note that there are over 100 RCs in the state of California so if an investor is particularly attracted to this area, there are many EB-5 options to choose from).
4. Florida EB-5 Regional Center (FEBRC): FEBRC is authorized to encompass the entire state of Florida. It’s approved to administer projects in the manufacturing, finance and insurance, health care and social assistance, accommodation and food service, retail shopping, and affordable housing industries.
5. Georgia Regional Center (GRC): GRC encompasses the metropolitan Atlanta area and includes 28 counties. The GRC’s approved industries for its projects are education and food services, real estate construction, and student housing.
6. New York City Regional Center, LLC (NYCRC): NYCRC covers four of the largest counties in New York City which are Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and Kings. Its projects are in the restaurant, retail, hotels, commercial buildings, apartments, and industrial/warehouse industries.
7. Tennessee Regional Center, LLC (TRC): TRC includes 28 counties in Tennessee and 11 counties in North Carolina. Its approved industries are arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation and food services, retail trade, and building construction.
Please note that this list serves only as an example of the available RCs, and it is not an endorsement of any RC or project.