Regional centers are management companies that administer EB-5 projects. Even though applicants can invest in non-regional center projects, there are many benefits to investing through a regional center, which is why approximately 90 percent of all EB-5 applicants work with a regional center. In general, applicants whose primary goal is U.S. residency invest through a regional center because they will not be required to take on a managerial role in the business or project.
Regional centers have special designation from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to run EB-5 projects. As a result, regional centers typically work with professionals from many different industries to ensure that EB-5 program requirements are met. Regional centers are also responsible for meeting annual EB-5 program regulations. EB-5 applicants who invest in a regional center project are also subject to less stringent EB-5 job creation requirements. Direct, indirect and induced jobs may be counted towards the 10 jobs needed to fulfill the job creation requirements from an EB-5 investment of $1 million or $500,000.
No two regional centers are alike, as the centers can manage EB-5 projects in any number of industries. A regional center may be a public or private body and some regional centers are owned by state or local governments. Regional centers vary in many ways, including their geographic scope, the profiles of their principals, their industry scope and the allowed investment structures. Regional centers are effective at raising capital for projects because they may receive funding from multiple investors at the same time and are allowed to operate various projects at once.
Upon receiving approval from USCIS to operate in the United States, a regional center is issued a designation letter, which may be viewed in our regional center directory. In order to maintain this designation, each regional center is required to annually file a supplement to their original application. Many regional centers also apply for amendments through USCIS. Currently, there are approximately 600 regional centers designated by USCIS.