Gogia & Raj Law and their expert team of EB-5 professionals assist developers and financiers with setting up and operating EB-5 regional centers. They will advise on structuring the organization, drafting and reviewing the necessary documents, supervising the regional center’s operation, and filing USCIS annual reports.
Our team has obtained USCIS approval for regional centers for foreign investors to qualify for EB-5 investor green cards. We also represent regional centers on an ongoing basis and files amendments for them.
We will recommend an economist, a business and securities lawyer, and a business plan writer with expertise in EB-5 regional center applications. Together these professionals will prepare the necessary documents.
A regional center is any economic unit, public or private, engaged in the promotion of economic growth, improved regional productivity, job creation, and/or an increased domestic capital investment. USCIS rules and regulations establish eligibility criteria for a regional center and annual reporting requirements. In most cases, a regional center operates a limited partnership for each project, but other entities are permissible.
Advantages of a Regional Center
The principal advantage of a regional center is that “indirect” employment can be counted toward the 10 jobs each EB-5 investor must create. For example, if an EB-5 visa petitioner invests in a new manufacturing company that will itself hire ten workers, then a regional center is not needed, because the job creation threshold will be met through direct employment creation. In contrast, if the EB-5 petitioner invests in a construction project to build a hotel, which is then leased to a management company that hires hotel workers, then a regional center is needed to count the hotel jobs. The job creation threshold in this hotel example can only be met through indirect employment creation, because the hotel employees will not directly be hired by the construction project that the EB-5 investor capitalized.
The law permits a regional center investor to qualify for an EB-5 green card by creating (or, in some cases, saving) 10 direct or indirect jobs, such as those in the hotel example. Induced jobs downstream in the economy may also be counted. Indirect and induced employment is usually measured by an econometric input-output model. Another advantage is that a regional center may create a limited partnership which loans EB-5 funds to a company or project. The investor may not loan the funds directly to an enterprise. The investor must make an “at-risk” investment with no guarantee that the capital will be returned. But USCIS policy permits regional center enterprises that receive EB-5 funds to loan them to a job-creating enterprise.
Regional centers provide other advantages, including that the funds are considered “at risk” when they are deposited with the regional center or placed in an escrow account. This means the investor’s EB-5 petition can usually be filed more quickly than if he/she invests in a stand-alone commercial enterprise, which must spend a substantial portion of the EB-5 funds to prove they are at risk.
A regional center must designate the type(s) of economic activity(ies) to be funded, such as real estate, hotel, wind power, etc. The regional center application can be amended at a later time to include additional economic activities. Regional center applications must be supported by an economic analysis demonstrating the economic benefit and job creation for each economic activity.
Generally, there are two regional center models. One takes in investors’ capital and loans it out to a job-creating project. The other model involves developing from the ground up or purchasing an investment project, and expanding or rehabilitating it with investors’ capital. A regional center may do both. Some regional centers offer investments in multiple businesses, similar to venture capital funding. This involves complex tracing of the capital and jobs.
Cost of Setting Up a Regional Center
In addition to the owner’s capitalization of the regional center, other costs of setting up and obtaining USCIS approval of a regional center include fees for:
An immigration attorney
A business and securities attorney
A business plan writer to assist in drafting the needed business and operational plans
A market analyst – in most cases, USCIS wants evidence about the project’s market to verify the economic claims and financial projections.
Once we learn more about your plans and project(s), we can provide fee quotes for setting up a regional center and help assemble the team needed for your regional center application. We can also introduce you to a regional center marketing expert in China & India.
The USCIS’s filing fee for a regional center application is $6,230.
After approval of a regional center application, there are legal fees for ongoing consultation, research, and preparation of annual reports to USCIS.
Documentation & Application
Once retained, we will provide a list of documents needed for the regional center application. Our associates will work closely with you, the economist, the business and securities attorney, and the business plan writer. We would be pleased to talk with you about setting up a regional center. Please contact us for any further questions.