How do I find a good regional center? There are so many of them in the market. What are some of the essential criteria I need to look at when choosing one for my investment?
You will want to hire an independent third party to conduct due diligence on regional centers for you.
You should hire an EB-5 financial due-diligence company. There are many of them to give you a few reports and evaluations on some prospective regional centers for your investment. Then you can make an informed decision.
Essential criteria may include I-526/I-829 record of approvals, repayment of EB-5 capital in past projects, experience of management of the regional center, experience and track record of developers/partners involved in projects, etc. A licensed broker-dealer may recommend projects to you and assess financial risks aside from immigration risks.
You should consider whether the regional center has completed many projects and whether their EB-5 investors obtained U.S. permanent residence status.
The investor should do a thorough vetting of the regional center and its project performances including their history, success rates, filing track record, experience, etc., as well as their financials.
Remember there are different types of Regional Center. There are Regional Centers that market third-party projects and there are Regional Centers that market their own projects. The first and most important aspect is to evaluate the project developer itself. You could have a good Regional Center that is very experienced in marketing, but what is even more important is the project. The best way to evaluate a project is the reputation of the developer. How many years have they been in business? Do they have a record of success? Do they have a record of completing their projects on time and pay off their investors as promised? You would also want to know if the project has had the EB-5 I-526 petitions of other EB-5 investors approved. If the project has prior I-526 approvals, that would give one a higher degree of confidence that their EB-5 Petition on Form I-526 would also be approved since it will be based upon the very same project.
You need to decide whether immigration safety is most important. If yes, look at their immigration track record of I-526 and I-829 or high rate of return with more risk. There are brokers that can help you evaluate the financial aspects of the projects.
One approach is to look at: 1) I-526 track record; 2) I-829 track record; 3) record of repaid investments; 4) degree of self-dealing; 5) professional involved; 6) management experience in assets management; 7) typical developer partners and criteria regional center uses for selecting partners; 8) speak with past EB5 investors. Of course, even great regional centers can sponsor less than great projects so you have to do due diligence on projects as well.
Only a registered broker-dealer can recommend a project to you. I would also suggest a book that is available: The EB-5 Due Diligence Workbook.
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