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How will a change of EB-5 business location be viewed by USCIS?

We are trying to invest in a restaurant business in the state of Connecticut and one of our I-526 applications has been filed. However, now we have some problems with the landlord and plan to move to a new business location. How will this change of business location be viewed by USCIS? Will it be deemed a material change?

Answers

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    Steffanie J Lewis

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If the change of location has an impact on the TEA and job creation, then it is a material change.

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    J Bruce Weinman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It should not be a material change. If your project is in a TEA, you will need a new TEA determination.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Your EB-5 immigration attorney and economist may assist you in determining whether this move is a material change. That is, is the new geographical location covered by the regional center designation and if not, will the request for new geography be included in the filing of the I-526 petition? If the new location is contiguous and close to the original site, then the new location should not be a material location, assuming the business and business plan remain the same.

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    Oliver Huiyue Qiu

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The change of the project's location, and the related issue - the size of the venue for the would-be restaurant, will impact TEA and job creation, therefore most likely it will be viewed as material change. It might be better off to file a new I-526 to avoid the possible denial down the road.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS does not have a clear definition of "material change," but we have some examples of what USCIS considers a material change. In the AAO precedent decision, Matter of Izumii, one of four in the EB-5 area, it was determined that changes to a "deficient" business plan after I-526 filing in order to make the I-526 petition approvable would be considered material and would not be accepted without a new I-526 filing. The proposed business plan changes in the Izumii case did not involve any change of NCE location. Also, in the EB-5 May 30, 2013 Policy Memo, an example of material change is given. The example talked about completely changing the project into which the petitioner had invested. There is no discussion in the policy memo of a change of business location. Therefore, as long as the business plan is the same (same project) and the only change is the business' location, assuming it is still in a TEA, if the prior location was in a TEA, then you have a strong argument that no material change has taken place and no I-526 refiling should be required.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    It will depend on whether or not you are relying on a TEA location. If you are, you need the new location to be in a TEA. Also if your demographics vary to the extent that it affects your market analysis, it may be a material change.

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    Robert Lee

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    No, relocating a business is not a material change. However, if you are using a TEA designation for the business, just make sure you move the business to another TEA location. Otherwise it should fine.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    USCIS has not been as clear with the definition of material change as we would like, but with proper disclosures to USCIS and sound documentation, a move could be acceptable.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Changing the location could be deemed material if the I-526 was filed under a Targeted Employment Area. If the location is within the same Metro or within same the census track, this change could be okay. Also, if the EB-5 investment was over $1 million, then change in location also will not be material. You should check with your attorney who prepared the I-526 business-side filing.

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    Stephen Berman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    If you are filing based on the $500,000 investment, then going to a new location may cause you to lose eligibility.

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