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What does it mean if a regional center has had a project-based RFE?

I am in the process of evaluating EB-5 regional centers for my investment. What does it mean if a regional center has had a project-based RFE on I-526s? Do most regional centers get these RFEs? Should I avoid any EB-5 regional centers that have had project-based RFEs?

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    Julia Roussinova

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A project-based RFE (Request for Evidence) may request more evidence on the project, specific documents or additional documents relating to the economic report, business plan, capital being at risk, etc. An individual RFE that an investor may receive on his/her I-526 petition generally relates to requests for more evidence on the lawful source of funds, depending on each particular case. If a project received I-526 approvals after it responded to the RFE, then it is a good sign. Your attorney should be able to discuss a RFE with you. If a regional center receives an RFE, they must be able to discuss this issue with all EB-5 investors involved in the project and how the RFE is being addressed.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A Request for Evidence (RFE) is - for better or for worse - something commonly issued by USCIS to obtain clarifications or additional information on an EB-5 project, regional center, or the investor's source of funds information. Since the RFE is issued on the investor's I-526 petition, a "project based" RFE is one that requests more information on the project or regional center itself, not the investor's information. Look for overall I-526 approvals as a good indicator of a possible immigration-compliant project, and retain immigration counsel to perform due diligence.

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    Ed Beshara

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A regional center project receiving an RFE is not unusual. Usually the EB-5 project will prepare a response to the RFE and then the I-526 will be approved.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Not necessarily, an RFE is a request for further evidence. There may be some facts missing from the application or they need further clarification of some information. However, if time is of the essence for you then perhaps look for another regional center. There is no way of knowing how long it will take to straighten out their questions.

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    A project-based RFE likely means that the USCIS has issued a request for evidence (RFE) that focuses on one or more aspects of the regional center project documentation, including the deal package (agreements, PPM, etc.) or the business plan or econometric report. It could also mean that USCIS wants more evidence regarding the capital being placed at risk and that the new commercial enterprise has undertaken some meaningful business activity. The other kind of RFE, an investor-based RFE, usually focuses on the individual investor's lawful source of funds. Unless there is an exemplar approval, it is quite common for a regional center project to have an RFE, particularly for the first few I-526 petitions filed. In most cases, USCIS will approve the petition after the regional center prepares its response and the individual investor (the investor's attorney usually) files the RFE response. Therefore, there is no reason to avoid a regional center project that may have had a project-based RFE. The more important question to have answered is whether the project received I-526 approvals after submitting its response.

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    Robert Lee

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    That is a tricky question. Although no one wants RFEs, they can be issued for legitimate or subjectively misunderstood reasons. A project-based RFE is where there are issues regarding the investment project for EB-5. If applicant related, it is usually an issue with the source of funds. Generally if a investment project has been issued an RFE it is not a great sign. However, even the best regional centers have received RFEs on their projects, but are still fine.

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    Lynne Feldman

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    You want to ask how many I-526 approvals and how many I-829 approvals they have had and if they have had any denials.

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    Jinhee Wilde

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Practically all the regional centers receive RFEs on their projects at one point or another. Some projects receive RFEs while some do not depending on the type of projects and where those projects are located. Much of the RFEs are based on Targeted Employment Area questions or jobs numbers reports (economic report), but there are many variations on the RFE questions. Receiving these RFEs is not a determinant of how good the regional centers are or their projects, since many regional center projects receive approvals upon responding to those RFEs. What you should look at is what is their approval track record instead of whether they have had RFEs.

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    Vaughan de Kirby

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    An RFE is simply a Request for Evidence - it means USCIS requires additional information or documentation to adjudicate the particular matter. Each RFE has its own significance depending on the ability of the regional centers to respond satisfactorily to USCIS.

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