With an investment of $500,000 into a U.S. business located in an entity referred to as a “Regional Center”, qualified foreigners are eligible for an EB-5 visa green card which grants them permanent U.S. residence. Not only does the potential foreign investor receive a green card but also the investor’s spouse and their unmarried children under the age of 21. Choosing the Regional Center is possibly the most difficult and most important step for the foreign investor in the EB-5 process and verifying all information pertaining to a regional center is crucial.
How does a Regional Center receive approval? The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is a U.S. government-based group that is responsible for all requirements related to the EB-5 program and all areas of immigration in general.
For a regional center applying for USCIS approval, a detailed business plan must be executed and submitted. A government official of the particular state the Regional Center is located, evaluates the demographic region of the potential regional center to see if it is located within a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) or a Rural Area (RA). If so, the investment can be reduced to $500,000 as opposed to $1 million which is the general investment for basic EB-5 projects.
TEA’s are defined as a rural area or an area that has experienced high unemployment of at least 150 percent of the national average. RA’s are defined as any area not within either a metropolitan statistical area or the outer boundary of any city or town having a population of 20,000 or more. It is obvious to see why Regional Center approval in these types of areas will help to create jobs and improve economic stimulus.
After the business plans and location are examined and approved, the Regional Center must then begin to recruit foreign investors to fund the EB-5 project. Depending on how large the EB-5 project is, determines how many foreign investors will be needed. The regional center must also provide the USCIS with updates on the progress of the project when requested. It is very possible that if a Regional Center fails to recruit enough investors in a given amount of time, the USCIS has the authority to shut down the regional center and its projects and has exercised this authority in the past.
Choosing an approved EB-5 Regional Center as the method of investment for foreign applicants has become the popular method of obtaining an EB-5 visa green card. The reduced investment rate and increased flexibility in the requirements of the EB-5 project generally make it the investor’s choice.
More information on Regional Centers and the EB-5 program is available at http://www.eb5exclusive.com where you can always find the latest EB-5 news.