I would like to establish my own regional center. How long does the process take assuming timely submissions? If the regional center will be in an as-of-yet not-certified TEA, how long would TEA certification take? Would it be approved by the time my regional center is approved?
After your regional center application is prepared (this process likely will take several months), the current I-924 processing at USCIS is 7.1 months, but that is a true average, not a required processing time. Also, that processing time represents an average of the I-924 processing times for hypothetical, actual and exemplar projects filed by prospective regional centers for USCIS consideration. Most TEA certifications do not take long, a couple of weeks, depending upon the state.
We recently prepared an application with a hypothetical project and it was approved within 45 days of submission. However, there is no guarantee that the EB-5 office of the USCIS will always be consistent in the timing of the application approval. We also have seen a five month turnaround time. Each state has their own policies regarding the TEA designations. Qualified economists may assist in the calculations and analysis for the TEAs.
It may take several months to prepare all the necessary documentation, and several more for processing the application (though we have been fortunate to receive approvals in as little as 45 days!). TEA certification is a fairly quick process as well, requiring a request to the state''s department of economic opportunity or similar organization. You can get TEA designation before submitting your I-924, and probably should.
While the USCIS is releasing a timeline of 5.5 months, in reality they are taking close to 8 months plus. The TEA is approved by the State and generally requires annual renewal. As such you generally can get it approved by the time the regional center is approved.
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