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How are the regional center and EB-5 direct application processes different?

Does investing in an approved regional center mean that the application/investment is immediately approved and a lot of paperwork is skipped? Or does it require petition and approval just like if it were the investor's own enterprise? In what ways is the regional center application process different from the direct EB-5 route?

Answers

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The direct investment is a personal investment in a new or existing active U.S. operation. The personal investor is responsible for investing personal funds together with many other investors in a pooled investment.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The I-526 petition process, including adjudication by the USCIS, is the same whether the EB-5 project is in a regional center or not (just a direct investment). Only the documents and some of the evidence will be different, but every EB-5 case requires an I-526 petition filed by the individual investor.

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    Barbara Suri

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    When one invests in a regional center, one is merely required to submit the I-526, attaching the abundance of documentation that has already been submitted to the government and approved for the regional center project. So, yes, a lot of paperwork is skipped by the investor in this case. Not so with the direct EB-5 route - ALL documentation and government approvals must be developed and submitted by this investor.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The application process is nearly identical, but the structure of the project is different. There is slightly more documentation to be reviewed in a regional center investment compared to a direct investment (regional center documentation and project documentation compared to only project documentation). The source of funds information is required for both processes. For either process, retaining EB-5 immigration attorneys is essential.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The process and the required set of documents to get the I-526 approved are basically the same. Both direct and regional center applications require EB-5-compliant business documents supporting the business viability and how the business will create the requisite number of jobs, which is 10+ permanent, full-time jobs per investor. It also requires investor information, including the source of funds tracking of how they acquired the investment funds legally. The biggest difference between the direct EB-5 and the regional center case is how you could count and prove the job creation. For the direct EB-5, the business must directly hire 10+ permanent, full-time jobs and prove it by providing I-9s, W-2, etc., of the business when the I-829 is being adjudicated. For the regional center case, the job creation is based on indirect, induced jobs as well as direct jobs from the business/project based on accepted economic report models, which many think is an easier way to prove job creation. Another difference between direct and regional center EB-5 is your involvement in the business. EB-5 requires an active investment in a business by a foreign investor, which could be day-to-day operations involvement to sitting in a policy formation body, such as the board of directors. Because a direct EB-5 business tends to be smaller and often more hands-on, your involvement may also have to be more direct, while with a regional center, you are just one among many investors who are part of a limited partnership with the general partner controlling most of the partnership activities.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    To my knowledge no paperwork is skipped. USCIS maintains that it gives priority to regional center applications. The only difference is the job count. Regional centers are allowed to count not only direct jobs but also indirect and induced.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The main difference is that the regional center can count indirect and imputed jobs whereas your own project must have 10 employees by the end of the approximately three year period. Either can be in a TEA and therefore permit an application with only a $500,000 investment.

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    Anthony Korda

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Although there are some subtle differences in the documentation required for direct vs. indirect EB-5 petitions, the application process is the same. Despite anecdotal information to the contrary, there is no difference in the processing time. A notable difference between the two approaches is that in a direct EB-5, only direct jobs will count. Accordingly, there will usually be no requirement to provide an economic study.

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