Regional Center Designation Criteria for the Immigrant Investor Program

As an addendum to the EB-5 Visa program, the regional center immigrant investor program was created to allow foreign nationals to invest the required funds in a government designated enterprise. The minimum amount of investment required for this type of the EB-5 Visa program is $500,000. Complying with the general conditions of investment for the EB-5 Visa, these investments must have a predetermined positive economic impact on the US economy.

If you are thinking of investing in one of these projects, it would be of interest to you to know the criteria behind the designation of a Regional Center by the US Citizenship and immigration services (USCIS). Apart from the general information, you will also be motivated to enquire about the organizational and operational structure of the project that you plan to invest into as well as educate yourself on the means that will be used for the allocation and the management of your money. Although the structure of a Regional Center varies from project to project, the following is the archetype which runs common to all.

The Regional Center’s investments must focus on a particular geographical region which must be clearly earmarked in the proposal. Targeted Employment areas (TEA) which will be benefited by the regional center investments must be clearly mentioned. A series of maps consisting of the Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Rural Areas and TEA along with Census Tracts must be submitted with the application.

The Regional Center must clearly demonstrate in what manner the 10 direct and indirect jobs are expected to be created. A valid employment forecasting tool with statistical and economic analysis is mandatory in the application. A business plan which will unambiguously indicate the viability of the project under current economic conditions is also necessary.

Included in the proposal will be a statement from the principal of the Regional Center that will explain the means of follow up on each EB-5 investor’s funds in the enterprise and the alignment of the created jobs to each investor. Most commonly, investors are empowered to have a limited partnership interest in the new commercial establishment within the Regional Center. The investor is party to all rights and obligations under the Limited Partnership Act of the state where the investment is made but for the efficient running of the enterprise, the participation of a General Partner is a must.

The application must also include details of all promotional activities of the Regional Center, along with a specific mention of the budget set aside for this purpose. A clear method of action which will demonstrate the criteria by which the investors are chosen and also the means of verifications of the investor’s funds to determine its lawfulness is also to be presented in the proposal. A detailed charting of the expected positive impact of the investment projects on household incomes, demand for services, repairs and maintenance must also be provided.

Only when the above conditions are clearly met and laid out in the application for the investment project, does the USCIC designate it as a Regional Center.

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