Over the past few years, there have been several setbacks for the U.S. EB-5 regional center program. A series of incidents caused foreign investors' faith in the initiative to be shaken. One factor that made it more difficult to renew the regional center EB-5 program was that renewals were cut off from the regular Congressional budgetary procedure. During the pandemic, Covid-19 made it incredibly challenging to acquire money and held down case processing. The minimum investment has increased under President Trump to $900,000. The Behring case then materialized to overturn the Trump-era regulatory modifications. Furthermore, Congress approved the regional center program's sunset on June 30, 2021. The EB-5 regional center program was lost in limbo for nine months while it searched for a way out. On March 15, 2022, the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 was finally approved by Congress, and it changed the start date for the regional center program to May 15, 2022.
Remarkable New Form
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) released a new policy for the regional center EB-5 program in a set of frequently asked questions (FAQs). Many representatives of the investor immigration community do not agree with the stance taken. The statement reads, "Form I-956, Application for Regional Center Designation, must be submitted by entities wishing to be recognized as regional centers. By May 14, 2022, USCIS published this new form, together with the form instructions and more details on the filing procedure. On May 15th, 2022, the regional center program was scheduled to launch. This latest phase in the Act's implementation was unpleasant news.
Need for Redesign
The issue is made more severe by the USCIS's position, according to which previously designated regional centers cannot keep their designation without submitting the new Form I-956. They contend that the historical Regional Center Program was canceled by the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022, requiring a new application for designation from regional centers that had already been authorized. For the regional center to be qualified to assist investors in filing for their green cards, it must first file the I-956 to obtain approval and then submit a project application and receive a receipt number. As a result, the position taken delays individuals seeking status as an immigrant investor from filing a Form I-526 petition as an Alien Entrepreneur after May 14, 2022.
Previous I-526 Forms Can Be Processed
Fortunately, this unexpected USCIS step is not affecting all foreign investors. The USCIS is processing Forms I-526 related to regional centers submitted on or before June 30, 2021, which was the end date of the former regional center program. The need to reapply does not affect petitions pending before March 15, 2022. Although the repeal of the old immigrant investor program necessitates that previously designated regional centers reapply for designation to continue their participation. These petitions are being processed in line with the eligibility requirements in force when the petitions were filed because the new legislation grandfathers these requests.
Note: This website's content is meant to be general; it does not constitute legal or financial advice. Only a licensed expert with a total understanding of all the information and circumstances of your specific situation can provide legal or financial advice. Before enrolling in the EB-5 program, you should contact a visa attorney with legal, immigration, and financial knowledge.