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When does a regional center start accessing the EB-5 funds?

When does a regional center start accessing the EB-5 funds? Is it after the I-526 has been approved? What is a typical timeline for the various phases in the EB-5 process via a regional center?

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    Fredrick W Voigtmann

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The movement of the invested funds from the investor to the escrow account, if there is one, and then to the EB-5 regional center project, should be clearly described in the documents, such as the PPM, subscription agreement, escrow agreement, etc. USCIS requires that prior to I-526 submission, all of the invested capital be placed at risk; that is, either invested in the EB-5 project or in an escrow account with an automatic release provision. Some escrow release triggers occur upon I-526 approval or upon a certain number of prior I-526 approvals; some include holdback provisions, some do not. There are competing interests at play: most regional center projects want and need the EB-5 capital as soon as possible; most EB-5 investors want to keep their EB-5 capital secure in an escrow account until their individual I-526 petition is approved by USCIS. In most cases, both sides agree to a compromise that allows for a certain earlier release of capital to the project, but one that also maintains some level of security for the individual EB-5 investors in the event of I-526 denial.

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    Salvatore Picataggio

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    First, a regional center would have to also control the new commercial enterprise to access EB-5 funding in any way. Generally, a regional center is the licensed entity that sponsors the new commercial enterprise, which is the entity that receives the EB-5 investment funds to use for itself or to loan/invest to a job creating entity. The regional center does not use the investment funds for anything in most cases. Release of funds from escrow or to the job creating entity is often conditioned on the filing of the I-526 petition, but can also be conditioned on the approval of the petition or have no conditions at all, and it just gets used immediately upon receipt. Regardless of timeline, consider a third party fund administrator to track the inflows and outflows of funds.

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    Raymond Lahoud

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The typical agreement is that the invested funds are returned if the I-526 is denied and released from escrow to the regional center if approved. Those are the best types to work with.

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    John J Downey

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    The timeline really depends on the initial agreements set up between the investor and the regional center. The agreement could be that the funds will not be released until the investor's application is accepted by USCIS. Sometimes in real estate projects the funds are needed fairly soon; then the investor may agree to release a part or all of the money upon the filing of the application.

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    Bernard P Wolfsdorf

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This varies, because of current delays in adjudication, most projects have a hold-back provision to cover denials, and indicate the funds can be used immediately, others have the approval of the I-526 petition as the trigger.

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    Richard A Gump, Jr

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    This is a regional center specific issue and is covered in the subscription agreement. The timing fluctuates with the USCIS workload and processing times. Currently, the processing time looks like this: 1. Investment made with regional center. 2. Regional center works with you and your attorney regarding the preparation of the I-526. This can take several weeks depending upon the regional center's requirements and your responsiveness. 3. The petition is submitted to USCIS. 4. USCIS is currently taking 10-15 months to adjudicate I-526 petitions. If a request for evidence is issued, the processing time increases. 5. After the I-526 is approved, the case is sent to the National Visa Center to initiate consular processing (unless the foreign national is in the United States and eligible to apply for adjustment of status). It typically takes 4 to 6 weeks for the National Visa Center to receive the case. 6. Immigrant visa fees are paid, application submitted, and other requests complied with. The case is sent to the U.S. consulate for the interview. This can take 4 to 6 months depending upon the workload of the National Visa Center and the U.S. consulate.

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    Shenila A Momin

    Immigration Attorney
    Answered on

    Generally the funds are held in escrow until after the I-526 is approved since the funds have to be "at risk" at the time of filing the I-526. The timeline for this varies from regional center to regional center.

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