EB5 Regional Center Services & Accreditation
The EB-5 Regional Center Program was created to attract foreign investment to the U.S. in order to create jobs for U.S. residents and promote economic growth. Since the creation of the EB-5 Regional Center Program, billions of dollars have been invested by foreign immigrant investors and thousands of jobs, have been created as a result. The EB-5 Regional Center program was established so that accredited businesses could receive and administer the EB-5 immigrant investor funds. Rahbaran & Associates helps developers and managers put a stronger base of financial support for their businesses through obtaining I-924 Regional Center Accreditation.
In today’s economic environment obtaining finance through traditional methods, such as banks or private equity can be taxing. With EB-5 investment funds, businesses have an alternative equity base that offers unsecured funds with preferential terms and rates. Preparing I-924 petitions for EB-5 Regional Center accreditation requires expert knowledge and experience of the accreditation process as rules and regulations frequently change. There are a number of steps that businesses should take before seeking Regional Center accreditation, such as; identifying an eligible EB-5 project; determining whether the EB-5 project location qualifies for a reduced threshold investment; and determining the feasibility of the EB-5 project for EB-5 regulatory purposes and job creation. Our team can advise you on all the aspects required to ensure that your project meets the regulatory requirements set forth by USCIS. We assist clients from the outset in evaluating the project for EB-5 eligibility, through to getting the first EB-5 immigrant investor petition approved.
Businesses seeking foreign investment through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program may apply for Regional Center Designation with the form I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation. Obtaining a USCIS Regional Center designation means that the business is approved to receive investment funds from EB-5 immigrant investors under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program. Upon Regional Center accreditation, USCIS will list the Regional Center on their website and the Regional Center may solicit EB-5 immigrant investors for investment in their Regional Center projects.
A proposal should accompany the I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation. That is supported by economic or statistic forecasting tools, such as; how the regional center plans to promote economic growth in a particular geographic region; how jobs will be created; comprehensive business plans,; investor offering documents; and, how the regional center will be administered, overseen and promoted. USCIS pays particular attention to whether the econometric models and business plans submitted along with the form I-924 promote local and regional economic growth and create the forecasted jobs.
Submission options for I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation
There are three categories of I-924 Application for Regional Center designation submission. Regional Centers may choose to submit their I-924 Regional Center application based on the maturity of their investment project at the time of submission. Regional Center designation applications may be submitted as, “hypothetical,” “actual” or “exemplar.” “Hypothetical” applications are based on theoretical proposals for investment projects. Applications must still include information relating to the Regional Center; however, project and offering documents are limited in scope. Approval results in a Regional Center designation, however, there is no approved projects for EB-5 immigrant investors to invest in. “Actual” means that the investment project being proposed is not fully developed, but presents a feasible investment project and explains how the investment project would meet a hypothetical EB-5 immigrant investor’s capital investment and job creation requirements.
The “actual” I-924 application process allows Regional Centers to seek approval of new, job-creating projects in principle before fully committing to the development of an EB-5 investment project. Upon approval, Regional Center designation is awarded, and the Regional Center may submit I-526 Petitions for EB-5 immigrant investors with finalized project documents for further processing. “Exemplar” Regional Center I-924 submissions relate to investment projects which are fully developed or “shovel-ready.” All Regional Center project documents such as permits and licenses should be submitted accompanied by an “exemplar” I-526 Immigrant Petition for Alien Entrepreneur so that the regional center project is immediately ready to be executed after approval of the I-924 application for Regional Center designation. Due to the “exemplar” approval resulting in Regional Center designation with project approval USCIS will scrutinize this application thoroughly.
Supporting Documentation for I-924 applications
I-924 Applications for Regional Center Designations should be accompanied by supporting documents most notably, business plans for the Regional Center and EB-5 investment project, EB-5 investor offering documents, private placement memorandum, and subscription agreement. Consulting with an attorney experienced with preparing the I-924, Application for Regional Center Designation is critical as there are specific compliance measures that must be included in the content of the I-924 applications and supporting documentation to ensure approval of Regional Center designation and EB-5 investment projects.
Post- I-924 Regional Center designation and EB-5 investment project approval, any alteration of the terms and conditions already approved by USCIS for a specific EB-5 investment project or the Regional Center, requires an I-924 amendment application with supporting documentation to be filed with USCIS. Rahbaran & Associates assists Regional Centers with preparing I-924 amendments for documents such as Regional Center business plans, econometric reports, organizational re-structuring or administration and state designation letters for targeted employment areas and other EB-5 investment offering documents.
Administration, Promotion and Compliance
I-924 applications must evidence the amount and source of the funds that have been dedicated to the Regional Center to promote the EB-5 Regional Center project to EB-5 immigrant investors. The Regional Center must demonstrate that the funds are adequate to promote the Regional Center’s operation and marketing, apart from any EB-5 immigrant investors’ funds. Additionally, applicants must provide an explanation of how such capital will be used to market. Promote the Regional Center to EB-5 immigrant investors as this requirement allows USCIS to verify that the Regional Center’s recruiting strategies are lawful and have preliminary vetting procedures in place to avoid Regional Center engagement with foreign investors who have unlawfully obtained funds.
Locating a Targeted Employment or Rural Area for an EB-5 investment project
A regional center is required to choose a specific geographic region of the United States where the regional center will be promoting economic growth and job creation. This region must be classified as a Targeted Employment Area (“TEA”) or rural area. TEAs are clearly identified as adjoining geographical locations where employment is 150% above the national average. A rural area is defined as outside of metropolitan statistical areas with municipalities of less than 20,000 people. In very few cases does the overall unemployment rate for an entire state exceed 150% of the national average; therefore, the unemployment rate should be calculated based on individual contiguous census tracts. Working alongside reputable EB-5 economists, Rahbaran & Associates can advise Regional Centers on identifying TEA locations and obtaining State TEA designation letters.
Complying with the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Job Creation Requirement
One major advantage of EB-5 Regional Center designation is the ability to credit indirect and induced jobs in the ten full-time jobs that USCIS requires each EB-5 immigrant investor to create. Indirect jobs and induced jobs may account for a considerable portion of the job creation requirement of the EB-5 investment project thereby reducing the burden of hiring direct employees. An example of an indirect job may be an electrical contractor on a building site. Induced jobs are created by the added demand for goods and services resulting from the EB-5 investment. Regional Centers submitting exemplar approval applications must include an economic impact study or report. Econometric reports are based off of economic modeling systems that determine the local, regional and national impact of a particular EB-5 project. There are several different input/output models accepted by USCIS; however, USCIS has shown preference to IMPLAN and RIMS II. The principal difference is that IMPLAN is an employment-driven model and RIMS II is an output-driven model. EB-5 project owners and their economist must determine which methodology is most appropriate for the each EB-5 investment project.
Rahbaran & Associates provides turnkey solutions to Regional Centers
By offering a comprehensive scope of services from our team of attorney, economist and marketing experts to help Regional Centers structure and manage their EB-5 investment projects. We offer a package of service solutions including the preparation of the various offering documents required by USCIS for a Regional Center project approval such as business plans, feasibility studies, economic reports, private placement memorandums, and all other offering documents.
For accredited EB-5 Regional Centers, our agent introductory services can help market and promote pre-approved Regional Center projects to potential EB-5 Immigrant Investors. Our mission is to provide market entry and business development services that are cost effective and ensure compliance with the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program’s SEC regulatory requirements regarding the promotion of Regional Centers to EB-5 Immigrant Investors. Rahbaran & Associates can guide your Regional Center to successfully promote EB-5 investment projects globally across Asia, Latin America, the Middle East & North Africa.