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How is the geographic area of an EB-5 regional center determined?

My company has five existing restaurants in the Northern New Jersey marketplace. We are looking for new locations in New York and Connecticut. If we create a regional center, will that regional center cover a broader area than our current, immediate marketplace? Or should we consider renting a regional center in areas outside of our immediate marketplace?

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    One regional center can cover geographical locations for your restaurants. The geography has to be contiguous counties. If the restaurants are not in the geography of the regional center, you can extend the geography of the regional center by filing an I-912 amendment application or requesting an extension with the first filing of the I-526 petition. In addition, you may rent a regional center.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The geographic area is determined through the I-924 application process based on the potential projects to be affiliated with the regional center. With the assistance of an economist, you can show job creation outside of the immediate area of the project itself.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    First, you should consider whether or not your EB-5 project even requires a regional center. The normal business model for most restaurants is conducive to a direct EB-5 program and not a regional center. If your project will directly create sufficient full-time positions for qualifying U.S. workers, then you do not need the indirect job creation benefit of a regional center. If you decide to apply for a regional center, your business plan writer and your economist, working in conjunction with and under the supervision of your immigration attorney can provide the justification needed to include the desired geographic area.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The rules have been relaxed somewhat recently. If you can show that your current regional center can produce economic development and the areas are somewhat contiguous you should be alright. I would consult with a firm dealing with economic analysis in the EB-5 area.

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    Dawei Gongsun

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Yes your regional center can cover NJ, NY and CT. The benefit of renting an approved center that covers your intended area is saving the time you need to wait for your own regional center to be approved, which is about 10 months.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You can also explore having an EB-5 project that is not part of a regional center. If it is located in a Targeted Employment Area you still get the $500,000 investment option. The only advantage of the regional center is that you count indirect jobs; with restaurants this is unlikely to be necessary.

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