How to apply to be an EB-5 Regional Center | Philadelphia Immigration Law

December 17, 2012

Immigration is a heavily debated topic in American politics. While both sides of the aisle may not be seeing eye to eye on several immigration issues, there is one immigration program both parties support—Immigrant Investor Program. The program was created by Congress in 1990 as a means to stimulate the U.S. economy and create jobs. The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as EB-5 Program, provides wealthy foreign investors a green card in return for substantial investments in new U.S. commercial enterprises.

Foreign entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in an American business to obtain a green card have two options: invest a minimum of $500,000 in a new commercial enterprise located within a Targeted Employment Area (TEA), a rural or high unemployment region, or invest a minimum of $1,00,000 in any desired location.

Most immigrant investors pool their money into an EB-5 Regional Center. Regional centers are commercial entities involved in the promotion of investment, job creation, and business development. There are several advantages of investing in a regional center. First, the job creation requirement is relaxed. An investor making an investment in a business venture that is not a regional center must show that 10 full-time jobs have been created as a direct result, while an investor in a regional center can fulfill the job creation requirement by showing that 10 jobs were created directly or indirectly. Second, the investments made by the foreign nationals can be managed by U.S.-based managers who are better able to guide the project to completion.

Steps to be a Regional Center

An enterprise seeking the regional center designation must submit an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Listed below is the step by step process of what one needs to do in order to obtain their regional center title.

1) Fill out the I-924 Petition. It costs approximately $6,230 to file, however costs vary depending on where the service is done.

2) Know the ins and outs of the regional center. Have knowledge on the geographic and economic scope of the project, this includes business model, investment costs, type of industry, and physical location.

3) Hire a professional. Having a professional help through the process can iron out any confusion and make sure the application is stout.

4) Submit the I-924 to the USCIS for proper designation. This can be prepared by an immigration attorney.

5) Submit the I-526. This application outlines the project that the regional center is working on. After the form is approved, the immigrant investor is eligible for a conditional green card.

The average time it takes to process the application is 6 months. Therefore, it is crucial to submit all required components of the application to prevent it from being rejected. Such a case will ultimately prolong the process.

The EB-5 Program has proven to be a great success. It has given foreign entrepreneurs the opportunity to obtain green cards, while stimulating the economy. Since its inception, the program has created nearly 34,000 jobs. Last year alone, the EB-5 Program has generated about $1 billion in capital investments.

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