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How can I switch from an EB-5 direct investment to a regional center investment?

Hello. My I-526 was approved in March 2016 and my petition is now pending for consular processing for Chinese nationals, which I expect is going to take another few years. I now want to switch from my direct investment (my initial I-526 application) to a regional center investment. I am aware of the expiration date of the regional center program and, if this is doable, I would like to file before the end of April. Is it possible and what are the steps? My funds are located in China. Thank you for your time.

Answers

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You would have to start with a new I-526 petition, putting you at the beginning of the line once again. There is no way to convert a direct EB-5 investment to a regional center investment.

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    BoBi Ahn

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no way to "switch", but you can start over and file a new I-526 for your direct investment. However, please note that you will not be able to preserve the priority date until and unless the new proposed regulations to preserve the PD goes through.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    There is no legal mechanism to switch. You must file a new I-526 petition with a new priority date. It might be best to wait and see what happens at the end of April before you decide. Getting the funds out of China before then is doubtful, or at least very difficult and time-consuming.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you now want to invest in a regional center project, you will need to redo the whole EB-5 filing process from the beginning and file a new petition before the end of April. This may not be feasible as USCIS is now starting to question how Chinese investors are having 10 friends to wire out money for them and asking for the Source of Funds of those friends, as well. Also, the direct EB-5 program, unlike the regional center program, is permanent and will not expire. Thus, keeping your direct EB-5 investment may be the best option at this time.

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    Michael A Harris, Esq

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You would have to file an I-526 petition for a new investment in a Regional Center project.

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    Charles Foster

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    One really does not switch from an EB-5 direct investment to a Regional Center investment. One would simply make a new investment in a Regional Center project by filing a new EB-5 Investor Petition on Form I-526, thus creating a new priority date under the annual quota allocation for Chinese nationals. You may wish to maintain the petition you filed in March 2016 since that would give you an earlier priority date. It is likely that the Regional Center program will be reauthorized on or by April 28, 2017. After that decision, filing a new petition with a Regional Center may result in a higher rate of success than a direct EB-5 investment. If you decide to do so, you must make an investment decision, pick a project and retain experienced legal counsel to prepare and file the petition for you.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It is possible but, until new legislation passes, the new filing will have the current Priority Date. There is legislation proposed that would recapture the Priority Date from your direct investment filing, but this is not in effect yet.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If the funds have not yet been committed, you may be able to withdraw the existing application and refile in an RC project. You will, however, most likely lose your priority date or be placed in the waiting line.

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